Johor Bahru is known for its flavourful Laksa Johor, our beloved royal family (Congrats, Tunku Tun Aminah!) and of course, the infamous 3-hour jam across the causeway to the lion city, but it's the evolving road to economic and cultural progress of the city that leads the area's best qualities.
This weekend, the Classical Music Festival 2017 is set to hone our views on the charm and relevance that classical music has towards our daily lives. Here's a friendly little rundown on what to see, what to eat and where the party's at, for those planning a trip to Johor Bahru this weekend.
27TH JULY 2017 - THURSDAY
6.00pm - A productive day at work screams for a little gastronomical treatment. Head over to the brand-new Morganfields at Zenith (right opposite JBCC) and treat yo'self to a delicious rack of ribs, to refuel for the night.
7.30pm - Not to be missed is Sans Frontières - 4 musicians, 3 countries, 4 instruments and no borders. Performing for the first time together, Sayaka Ohira, Banjamin Fabre, Ivan Torres and Mireia Frutos Fernandez are expected to shine, project and linger through the halls of Amari Johor Bahru.
10.30pm - By now, you've caught the classical music bug (and named it Beethoven) and wants to come for more shows! Head home or up to your room at Amari and make reservations for the next concert happening tomorrow, as Rhapsody in Blue quietly plays in the background on your Spotify.
28TH JULY 2017 - FRIDAY
8.00am - Bright and early on a Friday, made perfect by the the charming historic streets of Jalan Tan Hiok Nee and some old-school kopitiam favourites - half-boiled eggs and kopi-o panas, crucial to starting your engines. Go to Kin Wah and thank us later!
10.00am - An interview series with reps from ABRSM and Trinity College London starts the Friday programme of the Classical Music Festival. You finally get to ask the right people about what went wrong in your exam recital all those years ago! (don't we all 'miss' going to piano classes?)
12.00pm - All those thinking and conversing would have probably worked up quite an appetite! Hop outside for some fresh air and walk down the road to some glorious banana leaf rice at my mum's Amma Restaurant.
For those trying to resist the temptation of Amari's coffeehouse, stop resisting and get yourself a hearty Salmon Sandwich for RM14 because it is magic in every bite. Not even joking!
2.30pm - The learning continues! As much as this sounds like a dating advice class, The Piano Accompanist: Partner in Success or Failure is the sure-fire class if you are looking to have a successful partnership with your fellow primary player / accompanist. Do call our hotline at 019-7139900 for instant consultation haha
4.00pm - Luthier Tan Chin Seng shows us the secret recipe to make a violin. With his vast experience and live-exhibits, he guides us through the Violin Anatomy 101 crash course, in finding out the secret to a good violin.
5.00pm - Your brain must be gasping for some downtime! Take a breather and recharge to some retail therapy at the nearby shopping mall of the city - Johor Bahru City Centre and City Square.
7.30pm - Head back to Amari to catch the National Symphony Orchestra Winds Ensemble as they blow our minds (pun intended!) with Jazz Up! Rhapsody in Blue, featuring Misa Yamamoto rockin' the keys and Julian Chan giving it to us on the sax.
10.00pm - Feet a-tappin', body a-groovin'. The best way to follow a fantastic jazz concert is to hit the Tan Hiok Nee streets to get some late-night street nosh or have a drink at the oldest pub in Johor Bahru, Bert's Keller.
29TH JULY 2017 - SATURDAY
11.30am - A cosy little lie-in on a Saturday morning is best waking up to an intergalactic ride through the galaxy via the music of Star Wars with musicologist, Dr. Andrew Filmer. Do you have your light-saber ready?
1.00pm - It's only right that you go to Leia's Kopitiam for lunch after discussing Star Wars music all morning. They do have an eclectic array of local and international food at a cheap reasonable price.
2.00pm - All full and recharged! Now onwards to Film Studio 4 at Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios to catch the iconic Philharmonic Winds of Malaysia as they bring us on a Journey to the West Side with French euphonium soloist Bastien Baumet.
5.00pm - Since Puteri Harbour is just a short drive away, it's worth a visit! Enjoy a delectable dinner by the harbour at one of the many restaurants available. You are spoilt for choice!
7.30pm - Don't forget to head back to Film Studio 4, for the finale extravaganza of the festival - A Thai Odyssey by critically-acclaimed Thai symphony orchestra, Siam Sinfonietta. Get ready to feel all the emotions you never thought you had in you as this 70-piece orchestra brings us love songs by the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Bela Bartok's The Miraculous Mandarin, as well as the Suriyothai Suite composed by the cofounder, Somtow Sucharitkul. Bonus! We will also be graced by the presence of the Resident Conductor of the Orpheus Choir of Bangkok, Trisdee na Patalung.
What a treat!
10.00pm - This marks the end of the Classical Music Festival and you'd probably be yearning for more more more! After countless encores (we hope!), the festival closes with a bang and everybody goes home with smiles, joy and memories that would linger for the next few weeks to come.
30TH JULY 2017 - SUNDAY
12.00pm - Another huge lie-in on Sunday and your life is different now. Follow us on Facebook and stay updated with latest updates on our next Festival - JB Writers and Film Festival 2017 (20th-28th October 2017) downtown.
JB bids you farewell and we'll see you!