Classical Guitar Orchestra to debut at Pattaya festival

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The Classical Guitar Orchestra will be performing at the Pattaya Classical Guitar Festival & Competition on Nov 26 at the Siam Bayshore Pattaya hotel.
The Classical Guitar Orchestra will be performing at the Pattaya Classical Guitar Festival & Competition on Nov 26 at the Siam Bayshore Pattaya hotel.

The annual Pattaya Classical Guitar Festival & Competition 2017 is scheduled to be held this year at the Siam Bayshore Pattaya hotel & resort on Sunday, November 26.

One of the highlights this year and unique to the festival will be a performance by the Classical Guitar Orchestra, the creation of Bangkok based Sira Tindukasiri, an avid guitar player and manager of the Kohno Music Concert Guitar Gallery.  Sira was inspired and encouraged to form Thailand’s first guitar orchestra by famed Japanese classical guitar makers Sumio Kurosawa and Yuichi Imai.  In Japan, orchestration for guitar ensembles has become very popular and now the concept is starting to make waves here in Thailand.

CGO founder Sira Tindukasiri (left) with conductor Apichai Chantanakajornfung.
CGO founder Sira Tindukasiri (left) with conductor Apichai Chantanakajornfung.

This will be the third public performance by the CGO since forming a little over 1 year ago and the orchestra currently consists of fifteen guitarists, 14 Thai and 1 Japanese member.  Putting it all together is the job of conductor Apichai Chantanaka­jornfung who had previously only worked with large guitar ensembles, but never an orchestra.

“The difference between a guitar ensemble and a guitar orchestra is that the former uses only standard guitars whereas the orchestra consists of many types of guitars, diverse in both musical range and size,” says Apichai.  “We have alto guitars up to contrabass guitars and guitarons and these types of instruments cover the full orchestral range.  While they are different in size and sound, the other playing aspects are quite the same as a normal guitar, however the alto cembalo and prime cembalo are plucked by needle picks and the guitaron is played like a double bass,” he added.

The learning curve has been quite steep for both the Classical Guitar Orchestra players and their conductor.

“The challenge lies in our members having varied playing skills”, explained Apichai.  “I am appreciative of all their enthusiasm and participation but we still need to work hard on interpretation of the music and we have to rehearse regularly at least once a week for up to 3 hours.  In addition, we are still looking for new members who can play guitar and can attend the rehearsals regularly.”

While the Japanese guitar orchestras play music composed specifically for them, the CGO currently plays from the concerto repertoire with occasional guest soloists.

In Pattaya, audience members can expect to hear music from different parts of the world and also from diverse musical eras.  The CGO concert begins with “Guitar Concerto in A major” by Ferdinando Carulli followed by “Bachianas Bresileiras No. 5” by Heitor Villa-Lobos.  There will then be a change of direction with “Surge III” by Jun Takeuchi, a Japanese piece commissioned for the yearly guitar-orchestra competition in Japan.  The last auspicious piece is “Falling Rain”, a composition written by His Majesty the late King Bhumiphol Adulyadej.  This was transcribed by Apichai and has been based on the original debut by the Suntrapon Band.

“I don’t arrange all the music,” says the modest conductor.  “We have shared this work between myself and Sira and sometimes I have my students helping on arrangements and I would just credit it as ‘Apichai and the Gang.’”

For more information about the upcoming Pattaya Classical Guitar Festival and for ticket reservations, check website: www.thailandguitarsociety.com or call the Siam Bayshore Pattaya hotel on 038-428-678.