Friday, December 18, 2009


Dear Friend of the Siam Philharmonic:

Mahler & the Siam Philharmonic

Perhaps you were present at the breakthrough concert in 2004 when the Siam Philharmonic became the first non-student orchestra in Thailand to do a Mahler Symphony (No. 4) or at the extraordinary concert earlier this year of Mahler's Fifth Symphony which really put Thailand on the international Mahler map, drawing praise from members of the international Mahler society and from conductors and critics around the world. If you were not there, the concerts continue to have a life of their own through and through the distribution of DVDs.

The Full Cycle

Inaugurating a planned complete Mahler Cycle that will take place over the next three to five years, the Siam Phllharmonic and I have worked hard to arrive at a philosophical reading of Mahler which draws as much from Buddhist thought as from the passions of the European late- Romantic tradition.

The Thai Connection

The Ninth Symphony, scheduled to be performed on January 20th, is an ultimate meditation on the nature of death and one of the most profound works of Western art. But strangely enough, its opening theme is note-for-note identical to that of a contemporaneous piece of classical Thai music called "Waves lapping on the Shore" ... and when you understand the metaphor of "the farthest shore" being what lies beyond the ocean of life itself, you realize that here in Thailand we have a unique opportunity to showcase this cultural synchronicity.

When I pointed out this strange thematic congruence to Bruce Gaston, he agreed to open our performance of Mahler's Ninth with a performance of "Waves lapping on the Shore" by Thailand's most famous fusion orchestra, Fong Naam.

This will be the first time in the history of music that these two works will be played in the same concert.

Gustav's Angels

The Siam Philharmonic is scrambling for funding for this important project. For the Mahler 5 concert earlier this year, certain expected sources of funding were not forthcoming at the last minute and I advanced my entire royalty payment for the composition of a new piece
in order to allow the concert to proceed. The board of directors of parent organization, the Bangkok Opera, have indicated that I must stop subsidizing this project out of my own pocket and that the Mahler Project cannot continue unless it is self-sustaining.

Because of this, I am appealing to our audience. If you would like this important cultural project to continue, we need to have a certain amount of cash in hand beforehand. General ticket sales will cover some, but not all of our costs.

What we need to ensure that the Mahler Nine concert can proceed is one hundred special people who will champion this cause. Therefore, I am offering one hundred "Gustav's Angels" a very special deal. If you agree to contribute 5,000 baht to the Mahler Nine Concert, you will
receive a special VIP seat at the concert and an invitation to an exclusive wine reception which will be hosted by the board of the opera.

You may choose to donate more, of course, and if so your contribution will go towards the next installment in the Mahler Cycle. The names of all 100 Gustav's Angels will appear in the programme book and we will continue to carry your name in programme books
until the cycle is completed.

The idea of this programme is to ensure the continuation of one of the most interesting and significant cross-cultural projects in recent years.

Please consider becoming one of "Gustav's Angels". 100 of the very best seats in the theatre have been reserved for you "Gustav's Angels". Your donation will not only bring you to the concert but also allow many music students and young music lovers to experience Mahler live at a price they can afford.

To join this very exclusive club, send me an email directly at
A Bangkok Opera person will contact you about how to make payment and collect your invitation to the reception as well get your details for the programme book.

You may also contribute directly, right now, via paypal and your credit card by clicking the link below.

Best wishes
Somtow Sucharitkul
Music Director
Siam Philharmonic Orchestra

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