Siam Sinfonietta is a youth orchestra founded in 2010 by Thai/American composer Somtow Sucharitkul, Thai conductor Trisdee na Patalung, and the Bangkok Opera Foundation. It was created in order to provide intensive training for young Thai musicians intending to have a serious career in classical music. The orchestra operates out of the offices of the Bangkok Opera Foundation.
The orchestra came into existence at the first “Bach to the Future: Science through Music” camp and immediately embarked on a series of concerts in Bangkok, particularly concerts for young audiences and concerts that serve to introduce classical music to new audiences. It has toured extensively in Thailand and in its second year plans more international touring as well. Some high-profile events the Siam Sinfonietta has participated in include the “Together We Can” concert to raise awareness of the governor of Bangkok’s initiative for reconciliation after the 2010 unrest in downtown Bangkok,and the “Introducing the Symphony” series at Bangkok’s Art and Culture Center, populist concert-lectures about music.
The orchestra holds annual auditions and has an entry age of 12, with the cutoff for membership set at 25. A number of its members are also members of full-fledged professional orchestras such as the Siam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. It has twice performed in conjunction with the Siam Philharmonic Orchestra: in the Thailand premiere of Mahler’s Third Symphony, and at a gala concert in front of Central World in , Bangkok, the site of the 2010 troubles, as part of an event to promote “Healing through Harmony.”
The Sinfonietta receives its funding largely from government grants and private and corporate sponsorship.
On July 8, 2012, the two-year-old orchestra won first place at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival in the symphony orchestra category. The next year, the orchestra toured in California and performed at the Young Euro Fest in Berlin, Germany; this was followed in 2014 by performances in Carnegie Hall and another trip to Berlin, Prague and Abu Dhabi under the auspices of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In August 2015 the orchestra performed at the Festival junger Künstler in Bayreuth and at the Thai Festival in Bad Homburg, Germany.
Called by the International Herald Tribune „the most wellknown expatriate Thai in the world“, Somtow Sucharitkul is a composer, author and media personality whose talents have entertained fans the world over. His first career was in music. He founded the Thai Composers` Assotiation, and was the permanent representative of Thailand to the International Music Council of UNESCO. In 1999, he was commisioned to compose what turned out to be the first opera by a Thai composer ever premiered, Madana, inspired by a fairytale-like plays written by King Rama VI of Siam and dedicated to his wife, Queen Indrasaksa who was also the composers`s great-aunt. The opera premiered in February 2001 in Bangkok in what a called, by Opera Now magazine, „one of the operatic events of the year“. Somtow is the artictic director of the Bangkok Opera. The Bangkok opera is the only opera company in South East Asia that puts on a full season of opera productions, including Puccini, Verdi, Mozart, Purcell, and Wagner. The Bangkok Opera also produces Somtow`s own operas and has been well reviewed in international publications like the New York Times and Opera Now.
Trisdee na Patalung (b. March 9, 1986) began his musical education at the age of 13 and was ‘discovered’ at 15 by Somtow Sucharitkul. Soon afterwards, he became Bangkok Opera’s resident repetiteur, and he has retained a close association with Bangkok Opera ever since, in many rôles. He has appeared with the company as solo singer (both on stage and in concert), solo keyboard player (in recital and in concerti), accompanist, orchestra member, composer and conductor, quite apart from indefatigable behind-the-scenes work as repetiteur and associate conductor.
As a composer, he has written several chamber works and two symphonies, which have both been performed. His second symphony Gli Scherzi was premiered in 2005 by the Siam Philharmonic Orchestra under the composer’s baton. The work has been published by Orpheus Music Bangkok.
His work with Bangkok Opera, and in particular his operatic conducting debut in April 2006 in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, brought him to the attention of a wider musical world, and has led to international engagements. Trisdee works extensively in Amsterdam for the Netherlands Opera Studio as assistant conductor and resident musical coach of opera singers. He was music director of a recent staged performance of Handel’s oratorio Belshazzar directed by legendary opera director Harry Kupfer, as well as a performance of Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.
As well as having recently been appointed Resident Conductor of Bangkok Opera, Trisdee is the music director of the Bangkok Baroque Ensemble, Thailand’s first historically-informed Baroque group, founded in 2005.
At the early age of her education, Sassaya studied with Wirat Patimapakorn at the age of 18 and Nancy Tsui-Ping Wei in Mahidol University. She has performed in many voice department recitals and concerts in Thailand. During her years in Mahidol University She was selected as a soloist in the operas and operettas productions such as Hänsel und Gretel, Long Gone Animal, Bastien und Bastienne, Der Schauspieldirektor, King Arthur, Cosi fan tutte, Die Lustige Witwe, Die Fledermaus. Including ASEAN SUMMIT with Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2010, she was one of the finalists of Concerto Competition of College of Music, Mahidol University. In the same year, she received Espoir Price in OSAKA International Music Competition. In January 2011, she has won first prize of gold medal of Settrade competition for young musicians and received the scholarship during her Master Degree.
In Europe, She performed as Lauretta from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in Bergen Norway with Opera Bergen in July 2014. In 2015 as Poppea in Monteverdi’s L’incronazione di Poppea, as the role of Teresina from Trojahn’ Limonen aus Sizilien and as Rosalinde in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. In 2016, in Poulenc’s French Opera Dialogues des Camélites as Madame Lidoine during her years in Mozarteum University Salzburg. After gratuating her Master Degree She performed several concert as Soprano soloist in Mozart Woche Eröffnungs Konzert with Bad Reichenhaller Philharmonie Orchestra in Germany, John Rutters‘ Requiem with Ringsaker Orchestra in Norway in 2017 and Requiem for King Rama IX of Thailand with Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra in Thailand. In 2018 she continued performing with Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra in Bangkok. Bläserphilharmonie Mozarteum in Salzburg and Orchestre Shelios in Paris. In 2019 she performed her latest role as Princess Panjalajandi in Somtow’s world premiere DasJati’s Mahosodh. In the past years she has been singing in concerts in France , Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Norway, Romania and Thailand.
Voraprach Wongsathapornpat (b.1996) is a Thai composer, conductor and film orchestrator, having recently graduated from Shrewsbury International School and the University of Cambridge. At school he was an academic and music scholar, and started conducting its orchestra at the age of 16. At Cambridge he sang with St Catharine’s College choir and was heavily involved with opera, having assisted and conducted in productions of Savitri, Combattimento, and most importantly Le nozze di Figaro. He studied conducting with Charles Peebles of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. For three years he was also the music director of Cambridge University Chinese Orchestra, a Western orchestra that helps propagate music by Asian composers in the UK. He now works in Bangkok as assistant conductor for Opera Siam (having recently conducted a performance of Somtow Sucharitkul’s Architect of Dreams), and orchestrator/composer for feature films both in Thailand and the UK. His conducting style has been described as sensitive and architecturally-minded.
Voraprach started writing music at the age of 9 and had studied with Thailand’s leading composers, including Narongrit Dhamabutra and Somtow Sucharitkul, while in England he studied with Christopher Brown and Ewan Campbell. Recently his string trio piece Anitya received Distinguished Award at Young Thai Artists’ Competition. His music has increasingly been influenced by the sonorities of ancient Japanese gagaku music through historical research on the genre in which he is deeply interested in. He focuses on writing for collaborative mediums such as musicals, stage plays and films, many of which he co-created at university. His new opera based on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is due to be premiered in Cambridge in 2020.
In 2017, Voraprach led the mass singing of the Thai Royal Anthem at London’s Trafalgar Square in commemoration of the late king’s death for thousands of Thai nationals residing in the UK, an event which had been broadcast worldwide. Around the same time he formed the Shrewsbury 4, a chamber ensemble attached to Thailand’s embassy in London, playing at important diplomatic functions throughout the years.
Voraprach’s research interest had led to him being awarded a university travel grant to study the gagaku music in Kyoto, Japan for an undergraduate dissertation. His final year dissertation on Western perception of Japan in opera earned him a First Class. His other research interests are in the area of historical linguistics and music in medicine, in which he took part in developing methods to help improve oesophageal speech phonation in cancer patients with laryngectomy with a university hospital in rural Northeastern Thailand.