PIANIST Tengku Irfan was eleven when he performed with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. It saw him improvising his own cadenzas for all three movements in Beethoven‘s Piano Concerto in E Flat. It was very impressive for a child, and it earned him a lifetime around the world composing, playing and learning music.
Currently pursuing a double major in piano and composition under Yoheved Kaplinsky and Ira Taxin at the Juilliard Pre-College, the now seventeen years-old Tengku Irfan will drop by Dewan Filharmonik Petronas this weekend for his eighth collaboration with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. He will also be performing a particularly challenging piano piece: Rachmaninoff‘s Piano Concerto No. 3.
If you’d like a preview, here’s Rachmaninoff’s own version of his famous composition. Piano Concerto No. 3 premiered in New York in one hundred and seven years ago, and has since gained a reputation as one of the most romantic of all piano concertos.
Tengku Irfan found his way to music thanks to his parents, who owned an electronic keyboard programmed with classical pieces which entranced the then-little Irfan. His parents acted on their instinct and sent him to piano lessons.
It’s worth noting that the young talent has won several international awards for his compositions and also had his pieces premiered by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Meanwhile, his playing got The New York Times saying things like “eminently cultured” and “sheer incisiveness and power”, meaning that you might want to catch him this weekend.
Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor will kick off Irfan’s short stint from 30 April to 1 May. He’s got the MPO backing him on stage, and those guys will also be presenting Schumann’s seldom-played Overture, Scherzo and Finale, and Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No.1 as conducted by Ciarán McAuley.
But if you want to hear even more of Irfan’s work, visit Dewan Filharmonik Petronas next Tuesday, 3 May to hear him perform some classic piano pieces as well as his own original composition, Meditation.
Catch Tengku Irfan in ‘Irfan plays Rachmaninoff’ at 8:30pm, 30 April and 3:00pm, 1 May, then catch him again in his recital at 8:30pm, 3 May. Visit the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra for more details.