Beyond the rigid confines of symmetry, UTP's Chinese Orchestra has successfully branched out in order to appeal to a new swathe of today's young audience. Offering stirring music and dance performances, the combination of culture and arts—a tradition that's a few hundred years old is getting a new spin.
At the core, the orchestra relies heavily on the delicate balance of its traditional Chinese musical instruments. Apart from the buzz, UTP's Chinese orchestra has accumulated a fantastic portfolio having staged the highest attendance concerts at UTP.
UTP's Chinese Orchestra President, Tang Lik Wei, 20, a chemical engineering student from Sibu, Sarawak, says the fun part is getting to know more about Chinese orchestra instruments.
The decorative form of the music is really interesting, he says. For example, erhu, is what most people always say the Chinese violin. Zhong Ruan on the other hand is basically said to be the Chinese guitar. Guzheng, also known as a Chinese zither, is a Chinese plucked string instrument with more than 2,500-year history.
The eccentricity of the instruments, Tang shares, has attracted students from other races to join the orchestra.
He says, “Here, we are promoting Chinese culture through music. We can play all types of music, not just traditional Chinese music. Last year, the orchestra played a cover of Rolling in the deep by Adele at an event held at UTP's Multi Purpose Hall."
Currently, the group has 40 active members and stages its own concert every year. “We've really gotten to know each other really well and we're like a little family. We're mostly doing it because we love playing together. At the same time, we want to have something to promote what we're doing," explains Tang.
For the last few years, the group has collaborated with a Chinese association, Hua Zhong to organize its flagship event, Red Sonata Fiesta.
Held in hopes of facilitating cultural exchange between Malaysia's Chinese community and abroad, to date, the Red Sonata Fiesta is the highest attended event at UTP.
The international competition is also acknowledged and approved by the Ministry of Education.
This year, competing against 20 international and local groups, UTP's Chinese Orchestra won one silver, one bronze and one gold medal with honor. The event engrossed a diverse audience of around 5000 visitors. This year however, it was held at Alor Star.
“Fortunately, we have a healthy combination of new members. We have big plans for our new blood. We hope with the new blood we have recruited, we want to be participating in more international competitions," explains Tang.
Now, the group stages around five performances every year. One of them is their own concert. Previously, the group had flown to Taiwan and China to compete at international Chinese orchestra competitions.
Tang says, “Here, everyone in the club is treated like family members. One of the things that we cultivate from the Chinese culture is the feeling of togetherness. Our members are as diverse as they come. We also have Malay and Indian members."
Indeed, this is another prime example of UTP's profound career connected learning and industry collaboration. From the work we do, we foster long-term relationships with our global social-impact partners to prepare our students, people and researchers as global citizens.
As a leading university in engineering, science and technology, our graduates are driven to exceed their professional objectives and contribute towards overcoming capability deficit across all sectors and industries.
Published on 23 June 2020