Classical Music in Hua Hin

Most of the time, Western classical music is not much in evidence in Hua Hin. In recent years an important exception has been classical guitar genius Ricardo Dioso, who holds forth in the high season every night of the week at either The Duke’s Restaurant or the lobby lounge at the Marriott Hotel. At this writing (June 2010) Mr. Dioso is back in his native Hawaii. We certainly hope we can enjoy his presence once more when the high season returns. He is a wonderful player!

A little-known, but absolutely terrific, opportunity to enjoy high-end chamber, orchestral, and choral music comes each April when Silpakorn University brings its Summer Music School to the university’s Hua Hin campus. This is a prestige program, with up to 1,000 musicians auditioning for 80 seats. This selects group spends a week at the campus, rehearsing with international conductors and concert meisters (the 2010 program had conductor Hikotaro Yazaki of Japan, violinist Leo Phillips of US, and choral master Pawasut Piriyapongrat of Thailand). The program culminates in two (or more) days of free concerts at the Dusit Resort. Usually, the first day is dedicated to variety of chamber ensembles and the second day is massive orchestral and choral concert. In 2010, there were well over 100 performers in this show, including 12-year old Thai piano prodigy Gun Chaikittiwatana and the Chulalongkorn University Concert Choir. Fantastic. This is the kind of show that costs big-bucks anywhere else, and we can have it absolutely for free!

There are occasional chamber music and classical piano performances at some of the hotels and other venues, but these are irregular. The Arts Guide promises to try to keep you apprised, but it’s not always easy.

Thai Classical Music

Thai classical music is performed during the Thai Cultural Festival in December, and at various locations on special days such as New Years, Songkran, and Loy Kratong. It also features in the performances at the SASI Dinner Theatre. It is also a major influence in the many of the original scores for the productions at the Vic Hua Hin, and is frequently featured in pre-show performances on Saturday evenings.

Some form of Thai classical is often performed in the lobbies of high-end hotels (Hilton, Centara, etc). These range from a single (inevitably female) performer on the kim (Thai hammered dulcimer) to a small ensemble.

Other Classical Genres

Finally, once or twice a year the Mulaniti Hua Hin (Chinese Community Center) brings in a classical Chinese Opera group to perform in front of their main building. These performances are not announced in advanced or publicized outside the Chinese community, so you’ll probably only know about it when you see an outdoor stage set up in the courtyard of the building, which is located one block North of the downtown Night Market, in the cul-de-sac where Sra Song Road crosses Soi 70 (the road that leads from the traffic light to the railway crossing). We’ll try to give a heads up, but it’s not easy!

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