Dewan Filharmonik Petronas

Posted by : foongpc | Monday, December 15, 2008 | Published in


If you are a classical music fan, chances are you would have visited one of the world's best concert hall right here in Malaysia. Yes, I'm talking about our very own Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) or Petronas Philharmonic Hall in English. Located at KLCC, it was officially opened in 1998 and had since hosted some of the world's leading artists and orchestras.

This magnificent concert hall which links the two 88-storey Petronas Towers, can seat up to 864 people. The acoustic volume of the hall can be changed by a unique reflective ceiling which can be moved to accommodate a varied range of musical activities. Besides that, it also contains state-of-the-art audio-visual and broadcast systems.

However, it was reported in The Star in May 2008 that Petronas actually spent RM3.5 million a month to maintain the DFP and to pay the mostly foreign members of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), which includes RM130,000 paid to its conductor. Wouldn't it be wiser to spend such huge amounts of money on other more important things?

Well, I don't know but will the RM3.5 million really make such a huge difference? Are people in Malaysia so poor they need that kind of monetary aid? If yes, then forget about the MPO! It all depends on our priorities. It's like if we can't even earn enough to feed ourselves, do we need that Mercedes car?

Furthermore, Kuala Lumpur (KL) is considered a world-class city. And we know every world-class city has its own world-class orchestra. If we only use local musicians, we certainly will not have a world-class orchestra.

Also, don't forget these foreign musicians and conductors are some of the best in the world and they are therefore entitled to these kind of pay. From what I know, the musicians are paid RM16,000 and RM28,000 which is equivalent to about USD4,800 and USD8,500 respectively. That's not even the market rate which our neighbour Singapore pays their Singapore Symphony Orchestra! These world-class musicians playing in the MPO are actually underpaid!

The good thing is, Petronas is also spending on nurturing our local talents as can be seen from efforts to rope in young aspiring Malaysians to be placed under the guidance of the MPO conductor. In time, hopefully, there will be more Malaysians in the MPO unlike now where Malaysians only make up 5% of the musicians in the MPO.

Well, I do hope the Government will be more long sighted and not scrap the MPO. But you just never know, so if you have not been to the DFP before, it's time you visit it! Of course you can't enter the hall unless you've purchased a ticket to attend a concert there. And what better time to go than this coming weekend when you can get to watch The Lord of The Rings Symphony! Details below.

The Lord of the Rings Symphony:
Six Movements for Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and Soloists
Canadian composer Howard Shore has turned his music for the three Lord of the Rings movies into a two-hour symphony which has already taken concert audiences in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK by storm. Hear this dazzling score for the first time in Malaysia and relive the drama of the greatest cinematic epic of the 21st century.

Ticket Prices
Fri 19 & Sat 20 Dec 08, 8.30pm

RM180 | RM150 | RM110 | RM60

Sun 21 Dec 08, 3.00pm

RM140 | RM100 | RM60 | RM40

Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
Markus Huber
The Young KL Singers

The KL Children's Choir

You can purchase the tickets online here.

For first timers, do take note that DFP has amazingly strict rules you must adhere to. They include the following...

1. Dress Code - Long sleeve batik or lounge suit for evening concerts, smart casual for Sunday matinees. No jeans, shorts, T-shirts, sneakers, and slippers allowed at any time. If inappropriately dressed, ticket holders shall be denied admission and no refunds will be given.

Wow! Do they mean business or what! Personally, I find this ruling rather too strict! From what I know, concert goers in European and Western countries don't even follow this kind of ruling! Wonder why they have such rules here!

2. Late Comers - All concerts will begin promptly at the advertised time. No latecomers will be admitted until the interval or a suitable break in the program. Members of the audience who leave the hall before or during a piece of music will not be re-admitted until the next suitable break.

Talking about Malaysian time, if you have the habit of being late, you must really take note of this rule, because they are dead serious about this. You will not be allowed in even if you are one minute late! Now if only Istana Budaya implement this rule, I will expect their concerts to start on time, which of course they do not - all the time! The last time I went there to watch P.Ramlee The Musical, it started like, half an hour late! Probably waiting for some VIPs who are well known for their lack of punctuality.

3. Mobile Communications - All concert goers are required to switch off their mobile phones, pagers, watch alarms and PDAs before entering the auditorium.

I can tell you they are so ridiculously serious about this ruling I just don't know what to say! There was one time I used my mobile phone to check if anyone sent me an sms during the interval break. Believe it or not, I was told to switch off my phone immediately. I reasoned with them that it was interval time and there was no performance going on, so surely I could use my handphone just to check on my messages. I was not even making any calls or anything. But no, a rule is a rule and it must be followed to a T!

4. Recording Devices - All forms of recording equipment and photography is strictly prohibited in the concert hall.

Well, I can understand this one, but I just wonder if they allow me to bring in my binoculars. I tend to buy the cheapest tickets, which is of course for seats furthest from the stage and then use my binoculars to watch the performers. I did that in Istana Budaya and they allowed it. Well, some binoculars have camera functions, so I guess not!

5. No Smoking allowed in the concert hall.

No complaints on this one!

P.S: Oops! Just found out that the tickets for the Lord Of The Rings Symphony were all sold out! And I thought I could have a great time this weekend!! Too bad I cannot afford the Mamma Mia musical showing this week at Istana Budaya!

(45) Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I have yet to step into the DFP! I intend to sometime in the future. I hope they don't scrap this place...worth maintaining it and they should train up local musicians to fill up the orchestra.

    I once visited a church in a foreign country where they say it has the best acoustics in the world...and that was constructed many centuries ago compared to modern ones we have here. I never tried out my vocals there though.

    December 15, 2008 at 8:58 AM
  2. khengsiong said...

    RM130,000 paid to the conductor? I can't commend on that.

    GM's CEO earned US$15mil last year, even though the car maker lost money.

    December 15, 2008 at 10:01 AM
  3. Anonymous

    spent RM3.5 million a month?? Wonder how much Petronas can earn per month..

    December 15, 2008 at 10:43 AM
  4. Nick Phillips (15/03/1967 - 04/11/2022) said...

    Wah RM130K paid to be a conductor? Gee, I'm in the wrong line la ... LOL!

    December 15, 2008 at 10:50 AM
  5. eiling lim said...

    Honestly I think the MPO is a very good set up to nurture the Malaysians on appreciating the orchestra and music. Being a Malaysian, I'm embarrassed that I actually haven't been there before. So far I'm only interested in musicals and I'm going to see Mamma Mia!

    December 15, 2008 at 10:59 AM
  6. TZ said...

    I missed watching musical performance like Nutcracker during Xmas back in Canada. Every year, the WSO in Winnipeg will perform the Nutcracker concert... It's not that expensive ... for student only CDN25 (RM50) and i was sitting in the 3 rows behind the stage ...

    Here, the price is too expensive ... errrr... i'm interested but ...

    December 15, 2008 at 12:04 PM
  7. foongpc said...

    my bug life, oh it's time you visit it! Too bad they don't allow any kind of photography inside the hall, otherwise you can come back with some really good photos of the place!

    Wow! Where is this church which has the best acoustics in the world? I would want to visit it! : )

    December 15, 2008 at 12:11 PM
  8. foongpc said...

    khengsiong, RM130,000 is about USD39,000 which I think is reasonable. Some may think it's a little too low, well especially if you compare to what some CEOs are earning! : )

    victor, obviously Petronas earns much, much more than that every month. Will we ever know? I thought it was revealed once before?

    nick phillips, haha! So you want to be a conductor? If no musical training, only can qualify as bus conductor. LOL!

    December 15, 2008 at 12:19 PM
  9. foongpc said...

    eiling, you must go to DFP at least once! Yes, it's actually a very good set-up to nurture young Malaysians to become world class musicians. If the Govt scrap it, we will lose that opportunity. It will also be a great loss to Malaysia as the DFP and MPO are symbols of KL as a world-class city.

    Oh, you are going to watch Mamma Mia? Cool! I missed the chance of buying the tickets when it was offered cheap during the early birds stage, and I seriously can't afford to pay more than RM300 for a musical! Or rather, I just don't think I want to spend that much on a 2-hour musical! : )

    December 15, 2008 at 12:28 PM
  10. foongpc said...

    tz, I guess that's why watching musical and orchestras are part of the lifestyles of Canadians. The price is affordable unlike here! The MPO concerts are still affordable - you can get tickets as cheap as RM30. But the musical like Mamma Mia is cut-throat! That's why I'll just give it a pass : (

    December 15, 2008 at 12:36 PM
  11. lina said...

    Haven't been inside of DFP. Would love to go at least once but I probably chicken out if I receive invitation to go there (what? You think I pay on my own? :D hehehe)

    Who said playing music doesn't pay eh?

    December 15, 2008 at 1:49 PM
  12. foongpc said...

    lina, haha! But you should still go there at least once. It'll be a nice experience. Playing music doesn't pay much unless you are world-class musicians : )

    December 15, 2008 at 2:28 PM
  13. Faisal Admar said...

    i love classical music so much especially vivaldi and boroque :)

    i never been to this place before but i heard about it on radio, about the concert etc.

    i just hope that i can go there someday. you going?

    December 15, 2008 at 6:38 PM
  14. Anonymous

    I almost bought the ticket to watch Mamma Mia but changed my mind..too pricey. The church I visited was in Israel couple of years back.

    December 15, 2008 at 7:10 PM
  15. Bengbeng said...

    i agree with the rules unless i am the one being denied admittance of cos :)

    December 15, 2008 at 7:38 PM
  16. foongpc said...

    faisal admar, oh I like Vivaldi too! Do you mean Baroque? Yes, Baroque music is nice, very calming. Well, you should go one of these days. I would have gone to watch LOTR symphony this weekend - too bad tickets all sold out!

    my bug life, yes the ticket is too pricey. That kind of price I can use to watch a few concerts in DFP! Haha! Oh, so the church is in Israel. I thought we cannot go Israel?

    bengbeng, haha! That's the same as not agreeing with the rules! : )

    December 15, 2008 at 8:26 PM
  17. Anonymous

    I love classical music and hubby and I used to go and watch the San Francisco Philharmonic Orchestra. That was before marriage and kids! :o) That's good if Petronas is supporting the training of young musicians, then hopefully your philharmonic orchestra will be composed of Malaysians in the future. Arts and music is usually the last on the list to give money to by the government so I'm glad when I hear rich people give money to these causes.

    December 15, 2008 at 9:09 PM
  18. Faisal Admar said...

    sold out? as expected.
    LOTR has lots of fan around the world. no doubt :)

    December 15, 2008 at 10:50 PM
  19. Anonymous

    Nevertheless, it is sooo spectacular! :-) I enjoyed dropping in to read your post.

    December 15, 2008 at 11:39 PM
  20. synical said...

    I've no real reason to go there cos I'm not much of an enthusiast of classical music. The dress code doesn't help too. But if they didn't enforce all those rules, then it wouldn't be such a classy joint already.

    December 15, 2008 at 11:44 PM
  21. LifeRamblings said...

    i didn't know they have strict guidelines they expect you to adhere to.

    December 15, 2008 at 11:48 PM
  22. tr3nta said...

    wow... Huge concert hall... nice captured... oh! and many congrats for your 100th. :-)

    December 16, 2008 at 12:16 AM
  23. Monica said...

    what a nice hall! but I haven't been there before..

    December 16, 2008 at 5:32 AM
  24. Anonymous

    Not into classical music. Ooo...not going for Mamma Mia? Aiyor...!!! It's over S$100 in Singapore...and even in the UK, these top shows are not cheap...even for the cheap seats. In fact, after conversion, they are more expensive there...

    December 16, 2008 at 7:45 AM
  25. Anonymous

    Foong, it's allowed only for the purpose of pilgrimage.

    December 16, 2008 at 8:53 AM
  26. eiling lim said...

    Well, sometimes it's life a chance of a lifetime. I rather pay RM300 here rather than fly all the way to the other side to catch the musical.

    December 16, 2008 at 9:24 AM
  27. Anonymous

    I think we need music. It's not the necessaries of our life, But what a life can be without it?

    I think Malaysia government do a good deed to introduce world-class music to the people. And I notice that the ticket price are much much cheap than we can buy here!

    That's a good deed to the whole nation.

    I hope I can have chance to visit it.

    December 16, 2008 at 10:23 AM
  28. Anonymous

    I actually like to attend all these musucal show and theatrical plays, but we have none of these in my small town. I will definitely go if I live in KL!

    December 16, 2008 at 10:40 AM
  29. jelly said...

    wow! i think we all should go become a conductor instead. cis.

    p/s: i thought those concert goers in europian countries are usually all dressed up in formal suits?

    December 16, 2008 at 10:42 AM
  30. levian said...

    i'm sure we can earn quite a lot with all the available resources laying around. but the acidic corruption is eating up everything. i sure would love to have those orchestras coming over to our side of country. :)

    December 16, 2008 at 11:51 AM
  31. foongpc said...

    babette, you love classical music too? Wow! The San Francisco Philharmonic must be pretty cool! Yes, I hope the Malaysian Government continue to support the arts and music here and not scrap the MPO : )

    faisal admar, yes and I am a LOTR fan too : )

    jacqueline, thanks! : )

    synical, maybe you are right. If they didn't enforce all these strict rules, people will dress in T-shirts and jeans and slippers, and they will come late and so on. No more class! So yeah, on second thoughts, the rules stay! : )

    December 16, 2008 at 12:29 PM
  32. foongpc said...

    life ramblings, so now you know. Haha! But as synical puts it, if they did not have these strict rules, then it won't be so class anymore : )

    tr3nta, thank you! : )

    monica, you should go there at least once! : )

    suituapui, I've overspent my budget for this year, so no matter how good Mamma Mia is, I have to forego cos I follow my budget very strictly : )

    December 16, 2008 at 12:36 PM
  33. Tekkaus said...

    Wow! That's a whopping amount to spend! =/ I have never been there before. Shame! Shame!

    December 16, 2008 at 12:44 PM
  34. foongpc said...

    my bug life, oic! That's new to me!
    : )

    eiling, I think even the RM300 tickets are sold out! I just don't think it's worth my money, especially now that I have overspent my budget for the year! I managed to see all previous musicals at below RM200. I follow my budget very strictly, so too bad have to forege this chance to see the show : )

    iwalk, yes I can't imagine life without music! Life will be meaningless! It's good the Malaysian Government recognises the need to introduce classical music to the people. Only thing is, I hope they will continue to do so with the economy going down!

    December 16, 2008 at 12:48 PM
  35. foongpc said...

    jam, come to KL for a short holiday and then you can go see the musical and other concerts : )

    jelly, thanks for dropping by! Haha! It certainly pays to be a conductor, isn't it? Not only you get loads of $$$, but also respect and fame! : )

    levian, yes corruption is eating it all up, so sad!

    December 16, 2008 at 12:53 PM
  36. foongpc said...

    tekkaus, it's a big amount all right. But it's for a good cause. You should go there at least once!
    : )

    December 16, 2008 at 12:54 PM
  37. Anonymous

    Small money only, Petronas making so much money everyday.

    December 16, 2008 at 2:07 PM
  38. Anonymous

    RM3.5 million a month!
    man, how man yppl it would have helped! especially during de recession!

    December 16, 2008 at 4:17 PM
  39. Mariuca said...

    WOW, it's huge! can seat almost 900 peeps! He he, M'sians are fashionably late most of the time, yours truly included! :)

    December 16, 2008 at 8:28 PM
  40. Mariuca said...

    Doing my EC round here, how are you today Foong? :)

    December 16, 2008 at 8:29 PM
  41. foongpc said...

    neo, true if compared to what Petronas is earning : )

    carrot, it may help during the recession, but are we willing to sacrifice art and music for that? All depends on our needs and priorities.

    mariuca, I know that only too well! Malaysians generally follow Malaysian time ie. half an hour later than stated time. But you'll be surprised to know that Malaysians also make the effort to be punctual when they attend concerts at DFP cos they don't want to lose their money! Haha!

    December 16, 2008 at 8:58 PM
  42. Lisa said...

    hey u r being tag

    December 16, 2008 at 11:17 PM
  43. Johnny Ong said...

    aaarrrggggggh i like classical music but won't be back in kl in time for it .......

    December 17, 2008 at 12:03 AM
  44. acura said...

    I remember going there once because I had a free ticket. Let's just say classical music isn't exactly my cup of tea. They made me change into 1 of those batik shirts they provide & I almost fell asleep a few times. How embarrassing.

    But the hall itself is magnificent, although it look a lot bigger in the picture than in real life.

    December 17, 2008 at 1:02 AM
  45. foongpc said...

    lisa, thanks! Will check it out! : )

    johnny ong, you like? If you want to watch LOTR symphony, the tickets are all sold out! I also can't go! : (

    acura, what? They provide batik shirts? First time I hear this! To tell you the truth, if the music is the very slow kind and I don't really like it, I would fall asleep too even though I like classical music! LOL! You must listen to those more interesting with nice melodies that you can hum to. Then you will enjoy it! : )

    December 17, 2008 at 5:52 PM