From Elgar to Gershwin

music June 08, 2018 01:00


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Christopher Janwong McKiggan, one of Thailand’s most successful pianists on the international stage, will perform George Gershwin’s “Piano Concerto in F” with Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Spanish-American maestro Jose-Luis Novo at Prince Mahidol Hall of Mahidol University on June 15 at 7pm and June 16 at 4pm.

Other works in the programme are Edward Elgar’s “Variations on an Original Theme ‘Enigma’, Op 36”, one of his most popular and soulful works, and a Thai traditional work.

McKiggan won a top prize as a laureate and finalist at the prestigious 12th Unisa International Piano Competition 2012. He is also the recipient of the Presser award grant, which he used to create an international relations project with composers from North America, North Korea, Poland, Russia, China and Japan.

He has won numerous other awards including the Gold medal in the Seattle International Piano Competition and first prize in the Bradshaw and Buono International piano competition. 

Gershwin wrote his “Piano Concerto in F” in 1925, a year after the success of his more daring “experiment in music”, the “Rhapsody in Blue”. Though audibly more conservative, the Concerto in F is still classic Gershwin. At times subtle, jazzy, and rhythmic the concerto comes alive in hands of pianists who, like the famed songwriter, understand the lyricism and phrasing of early 20th century jazz.

With Elgar’s “Enigma Variations”, one hears the orchestra at its most intimate. A striking melodic and harmonic creation, Elgar used the theme to improvise 14 variations, all character studies of friends. “Nimrod”, one the final variations is recognised the world over as one of the most beautiful and striking parts of the whole – dramatic, eloquent and solemn.

Tickets cost from Bt400 to Bt1,500 at Thai Ticket Major counters. Call (02) 262 3456 or visit 

A Salaya Link shuttle bus provides the transport from BTS Bang Wa Station. Find out more at