Malaysia wins second prize at ACL festival 2014 Japan

Malaysia has won second prize at the recent ACL Festival in Japan, with representative Ainolnaim Azizol nearly clinching the top prize for the first time in our nation's history. This is the second time Malaysia's entry has won a prize at the regional festival in a span of four years.

The Kuantan composer's challenging work  Fragments I for trumpet duo was a fine representation of the best of Malaysian contemporary music, with its bold vision and audacious originality.

Ainolnaim's work begins with an interplay of extended sounds from the trumpets from key clicks,  mouthpiece sounds to vocal effects, creating a rhythmic sonic painting of unlikely sounds from the familiar trumpet.

As the piece proceeds the composer goes on to explore spatial effects with the two performers moving to opposite sides of the hall playing sometimes parallel lines, other times bouncing figures between them.

The highly experimental work reflects the composer's love for new sounds and how sounds relate to its living space, as he explained in his interview with The B Side in 2012.

The concert took place during the regular ACL on 3rd November at the Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall, performed by Shuichi Kawata and Moe Matsuyama.

The UiTM lecturer is the second young composer from Malaysia to win a prize at the ACL festivals since Malaysian Composers Collective rejoined the ACL fraternity in 2009 after two decades of Malaysia's absence.

In 2011 in Taiwan, MCC's secretary general Jessica Cho won third prize with her exciting 5 Little Pieces for piano in her maiden appearance at the league's festivals.

In the coming ACL festival in Manila in 2015, another young Malaysian to be announceed soon will again surprise audiences with the daring and adventurousness of our young composers.

The successes of these young composers are a refreshing sign that contemporary music is alive and well and thriving in Malaysia, and that their art is on par with the rest of Asia, an achievement that should not be underestimated considering contemporary music composition in Malaysia is still a challenge in terms of audience, performance and educational opportunities as well as government support.

It is heartening that despite the lack of resources, local composers persevere to create their musical artworks without compromise, and as Fragments I shows, are not afraid to push the boundaries and stretch the imagination.