Thai composer Somtow Sucharitkul conducted the Saigon Philharmonic Orchestra during his first performance in Ho Chi Minh City last week.
It was the first working trip to the Vietnamese city of the well-known Western-trained Thai conductor who is said to have “made Bangkok into the operatic hub of Southeast Asia.”
During the Friday show at the HCMC Conservatory of Music, Sucharitkul and the Saigon Philharmonic Orchestra performed two works, Overture to “Tannhauser " by Wilhelm Richard Wagner and a part of Symphony No. 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven.
Sucharitkul, 62, also introduced his own composition, "Suriyothai,” which is deeply influenced by Thai folk music, for the first time to HCMC audiences.
This work once helped the youth orchestra Siam Sinfonietta, led by Somtow Sucharitkul, win a Gold Award at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival 2013 in Vienna, Austria.
The two-hour program in the southern hub, enjoyed by more than 400 people, also starred 18-year-old talented Thai violinist Tanayut.
The Saigon Philharmonic is the resident orchestra of the HCMC Conservatory of Music, which was established in 2010.
Somtow Sucharitkul has been rated by European and American newspapers as one of the most famous Thai artists in the world.
Sucharitkul has written many great compositions, including seven operas, five symphonic works, two musicals, a ballet, fiction books, more than 50 horror books, and many other poems.
He is the first to have received the noble title "Silpathorn Award" from the Thai government in 2008 for his tremendous dedication to Thailand’s national culture.
Leaving his home in Bangkok when he was an infant, Sucharitkul grew up in England and was a beneficiary of advanced education from Eton College under the University of Cambridge.
In 2001, Sucharitkul, who speaks English as a native language, decided to return to contribute to the development of Thailand's music academy after 30 years of pursuing literary career in the United States.