Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Kids Are Alright: Local Classical Music School Proves They're Little Big Shots

Nur Yasmin
May 17, 2019 | 7:07 pm
Neo Capella Amadeus and Nino Ario Wijaya played Weber's 'Clarinet Quintet' without a conductor at Taman Ismail Marzuki in Jakarta on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Amadeus Music School)
Neo Capella Amadeus and Nino Ario Wijaya played Weber's 'Clarinet Quintet' without a conductor at Taman Ismail Marzuki in Jakarta on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Amadeus Music School)

Jakarta. Jakarta's Amadeus Music School played their eleventh classical orchestra concert, "Neo Capella Amadeus," at Taman Ismail Marzuki Theater in Cikini, Central Jakarta, on Thursday.

The orchestra was made up of 31 school-aged musicians playing string instruments from violin to the cello, the concert's theme. Amazingly, the young musicians performed without a conductor.

"This is our eleventh concert. We've been holding it every year since 2008. The kids trained for three months. They are real virtuosos, the best of the best," the school's principal Grace Soedargo told Jakarta Globe.

She hopes the concert can break down the stereotype that classical music can only be enjoyed by adults.


"We want to make classical music more familiar to the Indonesian people, especially the young generation. Classical music is not only for adult people or the rich, kids from all walks of life can also enjoy it," Grace said.

Thursday's concert featured Nino Aria Wijaya, one of the best clarinetists Indonesia.

Accompanied by the young orchestra, Nino performed Weber's "Clarinet Quintet Op. 34," a piece that has never been performed in Indonesia.

"This is a difficult piece, with complex technique and flow. [That's why] it’s never been played before in Indonesia," Nino said.

Nino has been performing with the school's orchestra for twelve years.

"Playing with Neo Capella Amadeus is fun, they have a unique energy that makes the music more alive," Nino said. 

Nino has played on several international stages, including with the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008. Now he teaches clarinet and saxophone at Amadeus Music School.

The concert was opened with a light and fun string piece, "Capriol," by Peter Warlock. The next number was Antonio Vivaldi's "Concerto Op. 3," a more emotional piece. It was followed by the swooning "Sonata No.1" by Gioachino Rossini.

Mozart's "Divertimento," a classic crowd pleaser, followed. The crowd was blown away by Nino’s solo clarinet in the closing act.

"We carefully selected the numbers so Indonesians would like it. We want them to hear the songs performed properly," Grace said.

The orchestra was led by Clara Soedargo as the concert master and lead violinist. The youngest musician was Anna, an 11-year-old elementary school student who played the violin. The oldest was Darren, an 18-year-old high school student who also played the violin and just got accepted at a music university in Leipzig, Germany. He has been performing concerts with the school orchestra since he was 10 years old. 

Most of the crowd on Thursday, which totaled 220, were still classical music aficionados.

One of them, 25-year-old Darian from Jakarta, said, "These kids played so fast, I wonder what they eat for dinner." 

35-year-old Irmantoro meanwhile said he was amazed that the kids were able to play such complicated classical compositions.

But 20-year-old Martin, also from Jakarta, said he was not really feeling the vibe at the concert. "I think it was great and they did a great job, but I did not think they were inspiring enough," he said.

Amadeus Music School has been running for 26 years and has taught over 300 students aged two to 50. It is the only music school in Southeast Asia affiliated with the Johann Sebastian Bach Musikschule in Austria.

"We want to train the kids to be a great musicians. So if they go abroad, they can connect with other musicians because classical music is an international language," Grace said.

The school will also hold a piano orchestra concert on Saturday, May 18. Then an even bigger concert in August with a guest German conductor.

"This 'Amadeus Symphony' in August will involve a full orchestra with 50 musicians led by a conductor from Germany," Grace said.

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