KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) has made New York-based Malaysian piano virtuoso, composer and conductor Tengku Ahmad Irfan Tengku Shahrizal their first youth brand ambassador in conjunction with its 20th anniversary celebration.
Irfan, who is undertaking a double major in piano and composition at the prestigious Juilliard School, wants young people to be more appreciative and less afraid of classical music.
“There’s a misconception that classical music is only understandable by the elite or by classical music concertgoers – this is not true.
“One of the ways to shed this anxiety is to expose them to any classical piece and they will realise the splendour of this type of music and its power to inspire,” the former child prodigy said at a press conference this afternoon.
As youth brand ambassador, he hopes to inspire more youths to fall in love with classical music; a bonus should they ever choose it as a career.
“It’s a great honour and I’m very excited to take on this role. I hope the MPO can cultivate relationships with different orchestras and musicians, not only on a national level but internationally,” the 20-year-old said.
In his role as youth brand ambassador, Irfan will promote classical music to non-classical musicgoers from a range of age groups and backgrounds to kick start their interest.
“Apart from the concert hall experience, one of the ways is through informal settings in schools or senior centres.
“We have to bear in mind there are those who aren’t able to come to the concert hall so hopefully we are able to bring the music to them,” he said.
MPO artistic administrator Khor Chin Yang said Irfan, who is no stranger to international performances, will elevate the MPO’s global presence.
“Wherever Irfan goes to perform, he will also bring along the MPO brand to let the rest of the world know that we have a world class orchestra here in Kuala Lumpur,” Khor added.
Youth brand ambassadors for an orchestra are virtually unheard of and Khor believes that the MPO is setting a precedent.
“We have seen other orchestras doing artist residencies as well as conductor and composer residencies but those are mainly on home ground whereas here we have Irfan who is embarking on his career at an international level so I believe we may be the first to introduce this programme,” Khor said.
Irfan will perform at the MPO 20th Anniversary Gala Concert on August 17 and 18 at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas. Visit mpo.com.my for details.