The Sutera Ensemble doesn’t just perform music they think is meaningful. As educators and communicators, the performers use commentaries to uncover the architecture and inspiration that have allowed classical music to live on centuries later. Through this approach we see how Mozart’s music has drama and humour, not only through how he wrote it, but how else he might have written it. We see how the German composer Brahms takes on inspiration from Turkey, becoming truly musically meaningful for all cultures as makes its musical journey, generations later, to Malaysia. From a duo to trios and finally to quartets, the ensemble also illustrate through words and melodies the varied intricacies of chamber – or the Italian “camera” – music.
The musicians that comprise Sutera are seasoned educators of all levels. Their collective training has spanned the globe, under major pedagogues and institutions in England, France, Italy, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, and they have used this experience teaching at the music departments of UCSI, UPM, UM, UiTM and Sunway universities. Violinist Angel Lee and cellist Jonathan Oh have brought up young talents to emerge as the prize-winning Arioso Ensemble and Seremban Quartet, with their now teenage students holding professional diplomas. Loo Bang Hean is one of Malaysia’s best known pianists, having played as a soloist across the country and as a frequent guest at the MPO’s chamber music series. In addition to playing the viola, Andrew Filmer’s prize-winning public speaking abilities have been utilized in concerts of the Sinfonietta in Penang, the Virama Ensemble in Kuala Lumpur, and as narrator for the Selangor Symphony and the Song Weavers.
The ensemble have been featured at the finales of the festivals of the Malaysian Youth Orchestra Foundation and the Euroasia Association for the Performing Arts, and will be performing in Cambodia later this year. Their repertoire includes piano quartets of Mozart, Brahms, Dvořák, Ferrari, Schumann and Mahler. All performances include a commentary, often with excerpts, illustrating to the audiences how the music is constructed and its role in our history.
Together, they aim not only to serve the audience, but also to develop new audiences through a dedication to education, and to showing why they enjoy the company of their musical partners. Through the friendship of these musical snapshots, we see how the magic of chamber music is available to all listeners, with no barrier of age, or culture.