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PHUKET: Young musicians from nine Southeast Asian countries have been attending a week-long music camp in Phuket.

Altogether, 243 students aged between 14 and 25 took part in the “Sayowe” camp. Sixty of the students are from Thailand.

They are due to show off the results of their studies at concerts tomorrow night and Saturday at the Thai Cultural Centre in Bangkok. The programme will include works by Beethoven, Shostakovich and Pradit Sillapabanleng.

During their week of rehearsals at the Cape Panwa Hotel, the students received training from professional musicians, conductors and music teachers from Europe, Japan, the US and Russia.

The music camp was part of a government attempt to develop classical music in Thailand and to establish a symphony orchestra and wind ensemble for young Southeast Asian musicians.

This first camp was held last year in Cha’am, and organisers received 500 applications from young musicians keen to join this year’s.

The Executive Director of Sayowe Project and Director of Mahidol University College of Music, Dr Sugree Charoensook, told the Gazette, “It’s wonderful for young people to come and play music, and also have a good time together.”

Thai Pianist Phuttaraksa Kamnirdratana, 19, told the Gazette that competition was so keen for places at this year’s camp that participants had to audition.

She said, “I have played piano since I was four years old. I have gained a lot from sharing a week of rehearsals with young people from various countries. The conductors and other teachers have been great, too.”

Clarinettist Trankhanh Quang, one of 23 Vietnamese young people at the camp, described the experience as “interesting and excellent… very useful for musicians”.

Bassoonist Do Thanh Nam said, “The Thai people are very friendly, as is everyone at Sayowe.”

This was violinist Thet Su Oo’s second Sayowe camp, although last year she was in the wind ensemble rather than the orchestra, which she is playing in this year.

One of three young people from Burma attending the camp, the 25-year-old said, “This orchestra is very good. Every teacher explains everything patiently and all the staff work very hard together to try to make us perform better.”


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