Unicef Charity Concert

I felt so honoured ,when asked whether I 'd like to play a charity concert for Unicef in Bali.

The experience will last in my memories forever! It was heartwarming to perform alongside children onstage.

Its wonderful to see,that music gives joy to their little bodies when singing "greatest love of all " or "we are the world"

Most memorable though is the fact, that Bach can reach anyone. The silence in the room,when starting the first chord of the chaconne is mystical,is unexplicable.

 

This review really captured the essence of the concert:

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Iskandar Widjaja: A Star is Born

by Chris O’Connor on 2012-08-27

Mutual admiration: A young girl sings with the Balinese Joyful Children’s choir, accompanied by Iskandar Widjaja. BD/Chris O’connorMutual admiration: A young girl sings with the Balinese Joyful Children’s choir, accompanied by Iskandar Widjaja. BD/Chris O’connor

Over the years, I have had the privilege to witness some extraordinary music from Black Sabbath to Bocelli, and since moving to Bali, I seem to be often submerged in a world of incredible performances.

Friday evening’s performance was something special, very special, and a night that will live nestled within my musical memory forever.

I had heard Iskandar Widjaja a few times on Classic FM and had been immensely impressed. On his debut CD, Bach n Blues, he plays with a beautiful freedom of expression that takes the listener to the edge of fantasy. Could that be reproduced live? What a mouth-watering proposition.

Meeting him briefly prior to the concert, I felt he was something of an enigma. He is young, supremely talented, and as my wife noted, extremely good looking. He also comes across as real, touchable and in touch, with a driving sense of purpose and belief that few people posses. In his own words, he would love for young Indonesians to be the best they can; he wants to inspire, and that is why he was here.

The crowd, a broad mix of just about every age and nationality, gathered in the foyer of the convention center, eagerly waiting. The Westin had also brought along children from the Singaraja orphanage they support, who were given the best seats in the house.

Finally the hour chimed and, following what seemed an eternity, he appeared, clothed all in black, easing his way slowly to center stage, clutching his violin as if his life depended up on it. Eyes closed, as if inwardly preparing, he stood motionless and then, with the same passion he had displayed earlier, explained how Bach was not just his love, but also his life, his philosophy. By way of a prelude he performed a short introductory piece, before stalking off.

A group of young local aspiring violinists nervously entered the stage. Like angels, clad in white, they too stood in silence, through tension or perhaps for drama, before launching into their big moment. Iskandar later joined to lead the beautiful composition, flirting from group to group washing away any nerves and ensuring a wonderful group performance.

Iskandar then returned to the stage to play the hauntingly beautiful Chaconne by Bach. The delivery was nothing short of spectacular, and was greeted initially with stunned silence from his awe-struck audience. Few, I doubt, will have witnessed a classical musician of this standard, and this was something very special. His touch was almost passionate, bow movement fluid, fingering precise, and his tone subtle yet stirring.

With the applause still ringing, he turned his attention to pop music. A small local choir joined the stage with not a trace of nerves and sang the most appropriate of songs “The Greatest Love of All”, followed by the Michael Jackson arm-waving anthem “We are The World”.

Iskandar’s interplay with the choir was delightful and featured moments of fine comedy as interaction with the choir’s youngest and most exuberant member developed throughout the performance. Iskandar would turn away and she would pout or look longingly. Her joy as Iskandar returned was only matched by her hero’s enthusiasm for her smile.

The evening closed to a rapturous standing ovation, and as our young heroine presented Iskandar with a huge bouquet of flowers, I felt that Bach would have unequivocally approved.

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