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Tengku Irfan


Tengku Irfan


Tengku Irfan, 20, praised by the New York Times as “eminently cultured” and possessing “sheer incisiveness and power”, began piano lessons at 7 and made his debut at 11, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto WoO4 and improvising his own cadenzas with Claus Peter Flor and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO). He has performed as soloist with orchestras worldwide under Neeme Järvi, Kristjan Järvi, Robert Spano, Osmo Vänskä, George Stelluto, Jeffrey Milarsky, among others.

Previous performances include at the Montreal la Virée classique Festival (invitation from Kent Nagano), with AXIOM, MDR Sinfonieorchester, Aspen Chamber Symphony, the Juilliard, Singapore Symphony, Sao Paulo State Youth, Estonian National Symphony, Malaysian & Lexington Philharmonic, Peoria Symphony, Aspen Philharmonic and Minnesota orchestras, among others.

He won the Aspen Music Festival 2013 Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 Competition, followed by performances of this concerto worldwide. He served his fourth consecutive year as resident pianist for the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble in 2017.

After winning the 2012 ASCAP Charlotte Bergen and ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, his Sahibul Hikayat Fantasy Overture (world premiered by the MPO) won his second Morton Gould Award in 2014. His orchestral piece Keraian was commissioned and premiered by the New York Philharmonic. His work has also been commissioned by Harold Rosenbaum and the New York Virtuoso Singers, Malaysian Philharmonic Youth, Peoria Symphony and Singapore Symphony orchestras. Kristjan Järvi and MDR Sinfonieorchester commissioned Vivacity which was world premiered at the Leipzig Gewandhaus for the Leipzig Bachfest 2016. Vivacity won his third ASCAP Morton Gould Award in 2017.

Irfan made his conducting debut with the MusicaNova Orchestra in 2015 with the premiere of his string orchestral piece Nocturne. He conducted the premiere of his piece Pengembaraan Minda dan Kenyataan at Lincoln Center, New York, and made his conducting debut at Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS and the Esplanade Singapore with the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in December 2017. Irfan recently conducted the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra during their 20th Anniversary Gala Concert 2018.

In conjunction with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra’s 20th Season Anniversary, Irfan was appointed as the MPO Youth Ambassador to cultivate appreciation in classical music among the new generation and inspire young musicians.

Irfan is a double major in piano and composition under Yoheved Kaplinsky and Robert Beaser respectively at Juilliard, and studies conducting with George Stelluto and Jeffrey Milarsky. He studied composition with Ira Taxin in Juilliard Pre-College. Irfan served as a Teaching Artist Intern in the New York Philharmonic Composer’s Bridge Program, and is a recipient of a Kovner Fellowship at Juilliard.