Sam Thompson

A free classical music concert in Bangkok?

That sounded like something different to do

I recently stumbled upon an advert in Bangkok Magazine for a free symphony concert being held at Thailand Cultural Center near the MRT stop of the same name, and having never been to a classical concert figured it would be a great experience.

I've been to many concerts, including a few here in Bangkok, but a full-fledged orchestra was a first. It was quite impressive!

Typical of Thailand, the show started a bit late, but host Andrew Biggs did a fantastic job as always keeping the audience laughing and engaged. It was atypical of what I assume is a traditional classical concert as there was a good deal of Q&A between the host (Andrew) and the various conductors and musicians showcased.

Although my understanding of Thai is still far from fluent, I'm sure most of what they were chatting about was interesting judging by the general lack of Facebook smartphone use by the audience.

The theater is quite nice too. I noticed the funds to build it were a gift from Japan, and from what I saw there isn't a bad seat in the house. The acoustics were pretty good too, considering I noticed minimal microphone use for the orchestra.

Pieces played included selections from Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and several Thai composers, and the young musicians (apparently aged 12-25) did, to me, an excellent job. Several vocalists including a Thai pop/rock star, a winner of Thailand's Got Talent, and a Thai opera singer assisted with several pieces with great success.

To the best of my understanding, the concert was hosted free by the Thai government in some way as a "gift" to the Thai people, although it appeared to be largely an excuse for the Bangkok elite to show off their latest cosmetic ensembles.

This isn't really surprising though; classical music isn't for everyone, and I didn't see this 3rd annual event heavily publicized.

It was also a bit unnerving to walk in to the theater through all of the soldiers and police officers holding machine guns, as the event was attended by many big-wigs judging by all of the pomp and circumstance used throughout the show.

Still, the experience was lovely regardless of the [likely political] intention behind it.

I grew up playing piano (not well), so I'm accustomed to classical music. Still, seeing it live is quite a different experience than simply hearing it.

I'm typically found at a rock concert if I'm found at any, but the classical was certainly a nice experience! Considering these kinds of events typically come at a high cost, the fact that it was free to the public was certainly a nice touch.

On that note, I understand Lumpini Park still has a free weekly Sunday classical concert series going on as well, although I haven't made it there yet.

It's always interesting to find the things you can dig-up to do in Bangers...

I hope you enjoyed my blog. If you would like to get in touch or perhaps e-mail me with a question, I would love to hear from you - All the best, Sam Thompson.


Thanks for the info Sam. Nice to know that classical concerts are making it's way here for free! I assumed it was sort of a formal event with guests in their long gowns ang bangles? hehe I'll check the one at Lumpini Park instead as I'm too lazy to dress up for the show. I remember when I was in Singapore, they have a monthly free classical concert too, and you need not come too formal, even it was held in the posh Esplanade hall.

By Brian, Thailand (18th February 2015)

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