HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Prof. Michael Leuschner performs at Gong Dee Studio

Award Ceremony for outstanding service

Chiang Mai Art and Culture Festival

Thousands enjoy 8th Fah-ngam Games

Hong Kong String Quartet aids tsunami victims

Prof. Michael Leuschner performs at Gong Dee Studio

Jan Verwers

For many of us the most treasured part of our private belongings is our collection of recordings of classical music. Twenty four hours a day great musicians from all over the world are ready to present us with their interpretations of almost any composer we can think of. But every now and then we long to attend a live concert, where a musician performs in our presence, making a direct ‘contact’ between the artist and the audience possible.

Prof. Leuschner receives a bouquet of flowers from Wanphen Dirksen, while German Hon. Consul Hagen Dirksen and Amari Rincome’s General Manager Wim Fagel applaud. (Photo by Michael Vogt)

Last week the German Embassy and Amari Rincome Hotel provided such an occasion. Michael Leuschner, renowned for his concerts, as well as for his recordings, returned to give a recital at Gong Dee Studio.

It was a memorable evening that started with a pleasant surprise: a Haydn Sonata (in F major Hob.XVI/23). Haydn, who sometimes, together with Mozart, is called the father of the classical sonata, wrote over 52 sonatas for harpsichord and pianoforte. Unfortunately, they are seldom played. Leuschner’s Haydn was a rather strict man, with not too much obvious liveliness. But his talents as a composer were well presented to the audience.

Beethoven’s Appassionata sonata followed. This well-known composition received an energetic and very Germanic interpretation. Leuschner used every possibility to show both the beauty of the sonata as well as his deep appreciation for this music.

Liszt gave Leuschner another chance to show his technical skills. The lively Rigoletto Paraphrase, although certainly not Liszt’s most impressive composition, was given an overwhelming rendition. And finally there was Chopin with a Nocturne (in D flat major op.27/2) and the Grande Polonaise. Here the professor of piano at the ‘Musikhochschule’ in Freiburg seemed to teach us how these famous pieces ought to be played.

As Amari Rincome’s GM Wim Fagel described it afterwards: a very fine evening with beautiful music played by a great interpreter. Thank you Michael Leuschner, we hope to see you again next year.

Award Ceremony for outstanding service

The U.S. consulate general’s management officer, Henry Jardine, was awarded with a special honor in March, and the new U.S. ambassador was on hand to present it. Henry has been instrumental in consulate renovation and upkeep projects, taking a keen interest in preserving Thai culture and providing a good working and living environment for the U.S. consulate community.

Superior Honor Award for Henry Jardine who will leave Chiang Mai in late May.

From the Department of State comes this Superior Honor Award for Henry. He received the honor for outstanding service as the management officer from October 2001 to May 2004. “Mr. Jardine demonstrated great commitment and initiative in making significant improvements to the consulate’s facilities, security, and the overall quality of life for its staff and families. His exemplary performance reflects great credit upon him, the consulate general and the United States Department of State.” The award was signed by James A. Kelly, assistant secretary of state.

Consulate staff and families have long been aware of Henry’s contributions, and this award is a nice way to say thank you. The Jardines will leave Chiang Mai in late May, and Henry’s next post will be Calcutta, India, where he will be the consul general.

Chiang Mai Art and Culture Festival

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

To emphasize the importance of art and culture and to create a good image of Chiang Mai to tourists, the Chiang Mai Art and Culture Festival will be staged in the plaza in front of the Three King’s Monument. This festival is now in its eighth year.

Some of the actors in the Chiang Mai Art and Culture Festival 2005.

Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai Mayor stated, “Chiang Mai’s culture melds well with minorities such as Tai Lao and Tai Leu. It is one of the kingdom’s original cultures and we should proclaim this to the world.”

Junnapong Saranak, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand Northern Office Region 1 said, “I admired Chiang Mai culture very much, even though I am not a native. We have tried to support and promote the culture with the cooperation of temples, communities and the government.”

Lanna Puppet Show

There will be eight activities starting on April 1 at 7 p.m. with an outdoor performances in the courtyard of the Three King’s Monument; an exhibition of Charm of Nature Cotton and Silk from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. From April 1-5 at the Art and Culture Gallery of Chiang Mai University; Lanna Art and Culture Heritage at Lok Moree temple from April 1-9 and a Northern Thai Cultural Event, the Wisdom of Lanna Arts and Craftsmen at the Art Museum CMU during April 1-28; Poy sang Long at Pa Pao Temple from April 4-6 and a Lanna Puppet Show at Huen Boran Museum, Chiang Mai University on April 2-3 and 8-9.

In addition, there also will be The 30th Larb Muang Festival at Kad Suan Kaew on April 9 starting at 12 noon, and the Lanna Drum competition on April 9 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Yupparaj School.

Thousands enjoy 8th Fah-ngam Games

Nopniwat Krailerg

The “Fah-ngam Games” have taken place for more than seven years and this year Tambon Fahham administration organization hosted the eighth games March 19-21 at Chiang Mai’s municipality stadium. Almost 2,000 attended the grand opening parade of eight Tambon administration organizations, and Yaowapa Wongsawat, consultant to the PM, presided over the opening ceremony, joined by VIP TRT faithfuls Pakorn Buranupakorn, Boonsong Teriyapirome, Surapol Kiartchaiyakorn, Chiang Mai MP, and Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, deputy governor of Chiang Mai.

Almost 2,000 participants enjoyed the games.

The object of the games is to promote unity and to encouraging youth to keep away from drugs and to spend their time more usefully. There were general sports such as soccer, volleyball, Takraw, chair ball and petanque, and more local activities such as tug of war, sack running, three leg relay races, motor bike tire relay races, and ground ski amongst other games.

Traditional costumes made for a colorful display.

Yaowapa Wongsawat said, “Sport not only builds up your health, but also unity among the players.” There was a special soccer match after the grand opening between Chiang Mai Tambon Administration Organization and Chiang Mai Mass Media Club. The Mass Media Club won 2-0.

Hong Kong String Quartet aids tsunami victims

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Hong Kong Academy String Quartet came to perform at Gong Dee Studios, Chiang Mai on March 26 with the support of the Ministry of Culture, with the profits from the performance donated the to tsunami victims.

Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor receives donations to aid the tsunami victims.

The members of Hong Kong Academy String Quartet include three Chinese youths: Gui Li (Violin), Yang Fan (Viola), Xiong Yin (Cello) and Thai youth Dechopol Kowintaweewat (Violin). Works of Joseph Haydn, Shostakovich and Ravel were presented to the enthusiastic audience.

The Chiang Mai mayor said that this concert would lead to a good relationship between Thailand and China.

Hong Kong Academy String Quartet performing at the concert.

The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts is a music institute established by the Hong Kong government 20 years ago and most of its professional teachers are from England. It has encouraged Thai classical music by supporting scholarships for Thai youths for more than ten years.