Distinguished musician to visit Chiang Mai
This forthcoming February 2552 (2009), Chiang Mai Music Festival
will once again be featuring the distinguished musician and co-founder of
the event, Korean-born professor of music, Tong-Il Han. The festival will
feature free piano workshops as well as live musical performances in
youth-focused concerts in various Chiang Mai schools.
musician and co-founder of the Chiang Mai Music Festival, Korean-born
professor of music, Tong-Il Han.
The Festival Gala Concert will be held on Saturday February 7 at 7:30 p.m.
at the Ban Wangtan Concert Stage, and will include selections from a number
of the most romantic piano concerti ever written.
Tong-Il Han is Chair Professor of Music at the College of Music at the
University of Ulsan in the Republic of Korea. He is a most enlightened
musician with a very distinguished career as a solo pianist, chamber
musician, teacher, and festival organizer. For over three decades Tong-Il
Han taught at several major universities in the United States, in Japan
since 2001, and at a number of universities in Korea. In 2004 he returned to
Korea, his land of birth, and since that time has dedicated his primary
energies to nurturing young artists in the way he himself was nurtured by
his great mentors.
His own renowned summer program, the Tong-Il Han Piano Institute, has been
responsible for the promotion of young artistic talent all over the world,
including the UK, Hungary, Canada, the United States and Japan. In 2006 he
established the Tong-Il Han Piano Academy in Seoul, Republic of Korea for a
select group of exceptionally gifted young Korean pianists whom he teaches
As a pianist of international renown, Tong-Il Han has performed with such
distinguished orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the London
Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic and the Russian National Symphony
Orchestra. He has collaborated with other very illustrious musicians
including Bernard Haitink, Edo de Wart, Charles Dutoit, Eugene Jochum and
Stanislaw Skrowaczeski to name but a few.
In his very busy career, he has still found the time to release a number of
recordings which feature major works by Chopin (including all 24 preludes,
complete scherzos and ballades), sonatas by Schubert and Brahms and 9
Beethoven sonatas, as well as other CDs of romantic classical music.
In recognition of this man’s outstanding contribution to music and to his
country, the Korean government has awarded Tong-Il Han with its most coveted
and prestigious civil honour, the Order of Moran (Peony). We are very
delighted that Professor Tong-Il Han once more will be enchanting audiences
here in Chiang Mai with his expertise, good humour and devotion to
music-making for all. Roll on February!
Forbidden Love, Passion, Music
After the Christmas and New Year break, the Chiang Mai concert
season seems to be up and running again. One of the most anticipated of
January’s events must surely be the third in the ongoing series of Faure
concerts given by one of Chiang Mai’s most loved and appreciated musicians,
On January 31, at Payap’s Saisuree Chutikul Music Hall, Bennett joins with
mezzo-soprano Sheilagh Angpiroj to present ‘Nocturnes and Barcarolles, Part
3’. This concert, the third in an ongoing series exploring the world of the
artistic Parisian salons of the Belle Époque and the music of Gabriel Fauré,
will celebrate two famous love affairs that took place in the year 1894.
Fauré, mild-spoken, but a womanizer, and Emma Bardac, a rich woman with a
lovely voice who fancied herself a muse, chased after composers, and who
later married Debussy, had, in the French manner, an openly-acknowledged
passionate and creative love affair. Fauré would compose songs during the
day and in the evening Emma would sing them before a gathering of Fauré’s
family and friends. Their love produced Fauré’s most passionate song cycle,
La Bonne Chanson, which will be performed in this concert by
mezzo-soprano Sheilagh Angpiroj, accompanied by Bennett.
The charming and talented Venezuelan composer Reynaldo Hahn arrived in Paris
at the age of 10 and immediately became the darling of the salons. In 1894,
at the age of 19, he met the great French writer Marcel Proust, four years
his senior, and they became lovers. They remained close friends until
Proust’s death in 1922 and it was Hahn who closed Proust’s eyes.
Hahn’s piano suite, Portraits of Painters, was written in 1894, just after
the two had met, and was inspired by their love and, more directly, by some
of Proust’s poems. The work will be performed by Bennett Lerner.
Forbidden love, passion, music - she loved his music, he loved her voice,
they were married to others but their love resulted in a passionate song
cycle. He loved the other’s music and the other loved his poems. Their
forbidden love resulted in a charming piano suite.
A concert celebrating two famous love affairs of 1894: Gabriel Fauré and
Emma Bardac; Reynaldo Hahn and Marcel Proust. Passionate, intense, creative,
daring - Don’t miss it!
A new regard
for the elephant?
Elephants with their mahouts,
pictured at the annual Elephant Polo festival in Chiang Rai.
The elephant, in spite of the diminution of its numbers in the wild,
is still, perhaps, the most potent cultural symbol of Thailand and its
surrounding South East Asian neighbours. In legend, an elephant and a monkey
are believed to have brought water and honey to the fasting Buddha, thus
aiding him on his journey towards enlightenment. At the time of the Buddha’s
death, an elephant is believed to have been the first to mourn over his
body. Small wonder then, that in South East Asia, the elephant has
historically been regarded as divine.
This regard, however, seems to have been lost in the mists of time during
the rush to modernise and commercialise the countries in which elephants
used to roam free. In Laos, for example, it is estimated that there are only
approximately 1,500 of the giant pachyderms left in the wild, far less than
is necessary to sustain a gene pool which will ensure their continuance as a
Fortunately, there are many Western foundations and organisations whose
mission is to protect and preserve the diminishing numbers in order to
prevent the magnificent beasts becoming just another South East Asian
tourist attraction presenting elephants trained by cruel methods with no
regard for their welfare.
ElefantAsia, a French non- profit organisation hosted by the National Animal
Health Centre in Vientiane, has been working in the Sayaboury province of
Laos since 2001. The area is home to 75% of the country’s domesticated
elephant population and one of the country’s biggest wild herds, with a
resultant deeply rooted mahout traditions. For the last two years the
organisation has been providing technical assistance to the Vientiane
Centre’s livestock department and to Lao mahouts.
ElefantAsia concentrates its efforts in three directions: veterinary care,
educational and environmental awareness and economic viability for mahouts.
The organisation has devised a special mobile veterinary care unit, which
welcomes intern veterinarians from all over the world who are willing to
acquire hands-on, in-field training in the care of the Asian elephant. A
breeding programme is also being launched.
The organisation is paying particular attention to sustainable economic
alternatives for mahouts who, with their elephants, still work in the
logging industry. To aid in the transition from logging to more
environmentally friendly ventures, ElefantAsia has created the Lao Mahouts
Association, which aims to develop quality ecotourism which will benefit
both the elephants and their mahouts. Promotion of eco-friendly elephant
trekking is endorsed, bringing not only an awareness to tourists of the
correct manner of training and utilising the elephants, but also a
percentage of the revenue from the scheme, which is put towards the expenses
of the mobile veterinary unit.
ElefantAsia is just one of a number of groups working across South East Asia
for the benefit of elephants and their mahouts. There are also organisations
working in the wild, whose aims include the replanting of the natural
forests in order to sustain the indigenous elephant population and prevent
its numbers from declining further.
It would seem that the elephant has acquired another kind of regard, as the
massive and ancient representative of all natural species which have been
placed at risk by the developments of the last several hundred years.
For more information about ElefantAsia, please visit www.elefantasia.org
Northern Thai Group presents Stephan Turner talk, ‘Treading the boards’
The 308th meeting of the Informal Northern Thai Group will take
place on January 13 at 7 30 p.m. at the Alliance Francaise, and will feature
a talk by Stephan Turner, the founder of and moving spirit behind Chiang
Mai’s Gate Theatre Company. In the three years since its inception,
productions presented by the company have included The Dodo Bird, The Gin
Game, Strange Snow and The Eight Reindeer Monologues.
Stephan will talk about his theatre background and his father, who at the
age of 82 is still a prolific playwright, producer, and performer, and who
influenced his son’s decision to make theatre his career. The path that
career has taken began when Stephan co-founded his first community theatre
company in Gary, Indiana in the late 1970’s, experienced 4 years training at
the world famous Goodman School of Drama in Chicago (now known as The
Theatre School of DePaul University), and went on to found the Stage Actors’
Ensemble of Chicago. He continued by opening the Performance Loft Theatre,
which he built on the north side of Chicago.
His talk will also include the ups and downs of producing plays in Chiang
Mai, and plans for future productions.
Airline gives away return tickets and tours to mark release of new movie in Thailand
premium Indian airline, Jet Airways, which is the major sponsor of the 3D
animated movie Bal Ganesh, will give away six package tours to India,
including return airline tickets. The tours will have a Ganesh theme and
will include visits to famous Ganesh and Buddhist sites. The winners will be
chosen in a lucky draw which will be held on February 14.
The Manager of Jet Airways in Thailand, Lackana Wantaywin, said that the
airline is sponsoring the movie because it will introduce young people to
the shared heritage of Thailand and India. The story of Bal Ganesh is
about the life of the elephant god Ganesh who is known in Thailand as
PhraPikanet, the deity of wisdom, good fortune and the remover of obstacles.
She says the movie will be an inspiration for many young people as it will
help them to see how they succeed in their lives despite obstacles.
“Jet Airways is proud to be associated with Bal Ganesh as we are the
spirit of new India, helping people to discover new horizons,” Lackana said.
January 5 saw the gala opening of the 3D animation movie in Thailand. It
opened in 32 theatres simultaneously in Bangkok and was screened nationwide
from January 8. More than one million people are expected to view the movie
in Thailand, which will run until the end of January.