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A Message by the Chairperson of Penang Philharmonic Orchestra

Dear PPO Musicians and Choristers,

Beethoven Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op. 125, is a dream come true.

The performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony brought PPO’s “Beethoven Symphony Cycle” to a close on the 7th April 2024 m. When the Cycle was first proposed by Singapore’s Yong Siew Teoh Conservatory of Music’s (YSTCM) Professor Chan Tze Law a decade ago, I was hesitant. (Chan, Vice Dean and founding faculty member of YSTCM has helped with his experience to guide PPO in the past). But in retrospect the impossible became possible.

The BOD’s congratulations to PPO’s own conductor Ng Choong Yen for his daring proposal that PPO performed Beethoven no 9 (the most important n difficult) and our two Choral Directors, Mak Chi Hoe and Tan Jin Yin, together with the Musicians and Choristers, rose to the occasion and brought the full house down. They had worked very hard for this success and made the State Orchestra’s dream come true. (Albeit there were minor hiccups during the performances and these will need to be addressed later in order we improve.) I would also like to add that our able admin, Audrey did a pretty fine job overseeing everything. But, What a wonderful, wonderful warm afternoon performance !

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the State Orchestra, PPO, we are especially thrilled to extend our sincere Congratulations to all of you for the Sunday concert.

You make us very proud!

Initially it was difficult to imagine that a group of voluntary amateur musicians and choristers from a small city like Penang could tackle such an ambitious project, but with tenacity and passion, PPO completed the long awaited Beethoven No.9, a remarkable feat ! In a decade we now have all nine Symphonies under our belt. What an achievement!

The BOD is delighted with the progress achieved by the state Orchestra. The icing for this concert was made possible with the later addition to the family of the two excellent choirs helmed by our two brilliant choir directors which made Beethoven 9 possible. All genres of PPO did extremely well despite some unforeseen circumstances hence, We the BOD, will do our utmost to deserve your achievements.

We have been desperate in our search for a suitable venue with important, reasonably good if not great acoustics, with a stage big enough to house our full Orchestra n Chorus, with a sizable audience space. (Short of myself being labeled as a repetitive parrot) I would like to ask, what’s the use of having a good if not great software (the musicians and choristers) when the hardware (space) is missing! We have been howling for a medium size concert hall from the State for the past decade. Penang seriously, seriously, needs a hall which can showcase the arts in this state!

Dewan Sri Pinang is one of the world’s most difficult to book because it’s so, so very popular and dates are always fully taken up by enthusiastic performances every weekend of the year as soon as the hall Dewan Sri Pinang is opened for booking. Unbelievable! So it will make sense the authorities look into a performing space for the arts if Penang is indeed an international city. Hotel ballrooms are out of the equation because they are far too expensive besides the carpeting in the room literally swallows the sound making the room unsuitable for the concerts. Private school halls have far too many conditions besides their out of town location is difficult to attract concert patrons.

It is very unfortunate that our concerns have gone unnoticed, or could it be that the our state had temporary shelved all plans for the promotion of the Arts?

Our savior, no pun intended, Saint Xavier’s Institution came to the rescue, fortunately for us. PPO will soon be talking to their school board of a possible partnership in the near future if things go as planned.

On behalf of the BOD I would like to extend our Thank you to the BOD of SXI for their interest in this relationship with PPO in the near future with regards to our concert performances.

PPO has come a long way, the journey I have to add was sometimes tumultuous but with “WILL”, we overcame despite the odds . Today we stand proud of your/our achievements, my dear members of PPO!

And once again PPO BOD’s congratulations for a job well done!

Thank you.

Warm Regards,

Irene Yeap


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