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Strings Collaboration Celebrates Franco-Burmese Ties

Kyaw Phyo Tha The Irrawaddy

RANGOON — The Myanmar National Symphony Orchestra and a French string quartet joined forces at Rangoon’s National Theater to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Franco-Burmese diplomatic relations in a cultural, orchestral and choreographic event called Fondamentus.

The event on Thursday evening was attended by nearly 1,200 people, including locals and foreigners alike. Among the dignitaries were Burma’s Vice President Dr Sai Mauk Kham and Union ministers, as well as French Ambassador to Burma Thierry Mathou.

Fondamentus was produced by Le Khloros Concert and co-organized by the Cambodian APSARA Authority with the support of Unesco, and the Burmese and French governments.

Led by French composer Odile Perceau, the 26-member string section of the Myanmar National Symphony Orchestra was joined by French string quartet Le Quatuor Des Equilibres, and played 13 classical masterpieces from Bach and Handel, as well as original compositions by Perceau. They will play for two days at Cambodia’s sacred Angkor Wat temple complex in early December, but before that the musicians will again perform before a Burmese audience when the orchestra travels to Mandalay on Nov. 23.

The French and Burmese ensembles took turns performing sets, and also jointly played several pieces in a concert that ran more than an hour in length.

The crowd-pleasing finale saw the musicians play the late composer Myoma Nyein’s “Man Taungyeik Kho.” The popular tune prompted the audience to join in the performance, with many attendees singing along to the string rendition.