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New Music Director For Malaysian Philharmonic


On Thursday, 25 September 03, the management of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra ( MPO ) announced the appointment of the internationally acclaimed conductor, James Judd, as the Orchestra's new music director.

The MPO is the resident orchestra of Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS ( DFP ), Malaysia's first dedicated classical music venue. The concert hall is strategically located between the PETRONAS Twin Towers, the tallest in the world. Embarking on its sixth Season, the MPO is now the premier orchestra in the region.

The announcement was made at a press conference at DFP and was attended by the CEO of the MPO, Abdul Hamid Abu Bakar, Maestro Judd and members of the media. Other guests present at the event include the MPO General Manager, Mr C Stephen Smith, MPO Resident Conductor, Datuk Ooi Chean See, MPO Associate Conductor, Kevin Field, members of the MPO, business associates and representatives from various arts organisations.

As the new MPO Music Director, Maestro Judd will succeed Kees Bakels whose tenure began in 1998. Until Maestro Judd's official tenure begins, Kees Bakels will continue as the MPO's Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor. Maestro Judd will spend eight weeks as the MPO's Music Director Designate in the 04/05 Season. He will assume full responsibilities as Music Director in the 05/06 Season, including 18 weeks of conducting.

Prior to his appointment, Maestro Judd conducted the MPO in the 98 / 99 Season and most recently in the 02 / 03 Season. With this engagement, Maestro Judd is responsible for continuing the MPO's tradition of presenting world-class classical music performances to Malaysian audiences and further strengthening the MPO's status as an orchestra of high calibre in this region and around the world. In addition to this, Maestro Judd will help to bring continuing recognition and exposure for the MPO by leading the Orchestra on national and international tours. Prior to this, the MPO has embarked on its first successful international tour to Japan and Korea in 2001.

Utilising his vast musical knowledge and expertise, Maestro Judd will lead the MPO in the activities organised by the Education & Outreach Programme ( Encounter ) which aims to continue to create awareness in classical music among young music enthusiasts. Already a widely-recorded conductor, Maestro Judd will collaborate with the MPO in producing recordings, further establishing its reputation as a highly respected recording orchestra. The MPO, to date, has released seven CDs, five of them released on the VOX and BIS labels.

Commenting on his appointment, Maestro Judd said, "It was a privilege to be appointed to this position and I wish to continue to build on the world-class work of Maestro Kees Bakels. Through the emotional and spiritual power of the music the MPO performs, I hope to considerably enrich and touch people's lives. As Music Director of the MPO, I hope to bring music closer to the Malaysians and to bring the Malaysians closer to the orchestra."

Born in the UK, Maestro Judd is presently the Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with whom he toured to the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics and also engaged in a multi-year NAXOS recording project. He regularly conducts all the UK major ensembles with appearances include with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Halle Orchestra and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

His European appearances include concerts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, L'Orchestre National de France, the Prague Symphony, the Vienna Symphony and the Russian National Orchestra. He has conducted many of the major North American orchestras, and was the Music Director for the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra in East Lauderdale for 14 years. With that Orchestra, Maestro Judd produced several award-winning recordings.

As a recording artist, Maestro Judd has received international praise for his live recordings of Mahler's Symphonies No.9 ( with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra ) and No.10 ( with the European Community Youth Orchestra ). He has also recorded works by Elgar, Brahms, Williams and Gershwin under various labels including Phillips, Novalis, Nuova Era, Capriccio and Pickwick.

Maestro Judd is married to Valerie and they have a daughter, Carrisa. The management and the MPO are extremely pleased to extend a warm welcome to Maestro Judd. We look forward to many exciting and musically rewarding years as he assumes the position as the new Music Director.


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