MusicaNova Composition Fellow Tengku Ahmad Irfan, 16, began piano lessons at seven and made his debut at 11, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto in E-flat major (WoO 4) with the Malaysian Philharmonic under the baton of Claus Peter Flor, improvising his own cadenzas. Irfan continued to perform with conductors Neeme Järvi, George Stelluto, Dariusz Mikulsi, Nikolas Nägele among others.
Irfan’s String Quartet won him the 2012 ASCAP Charlotte Bergen Award and the 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and his Sahibul Hikayat Fantasy Overture won him his second ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award in 2014. His orchestral piece Keraian was premiered by the New York Philharmonic, with Case Scaglione conducting, in 2013. Harold Rosenbaum and the New York Virtuoso Singers will be premiering Irfan’s choral piece Tragedi Dewi Suria in November 2014.
As first prize winner of the Aspen 2013 Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 Competition, Irfan performed the work with the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen (AACA) orchestra; he performed it again at the MPO’s 2013/2014 opening Gala, where his award-winning Sahibul Hikayat Fantasy Overture was also premiered. Irfan reprised the Prokofiev again with Maestro Flor in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi during the MPO’s 2013 tour of Vietnam. Recent performances include with Evan Rogister and Juilliard Orchestra at the Juilliard Gala 2014, and a solo recital at the la Virée classique Festival on invitation from Kent Nagano, Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
At the 2012 Aspen Music Festival, Irfan performed a four-hand piano concert with Yoheved Kaplinsky, preparing repertoire unknown to him within two days upon being called as a replacement. Irfan is currently resident pianist for the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, under composer/conductor Sydney Hodkinson. He recently performed a solo recital at the la Virée classique Festival on invitation from Kent Nagano, Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
His other compositions which have been premiered in New York include ‘Twelve-Tone Variations’ (piano), ‘Vier Miniaturen’(clarinet & piano), ‘Introduction and March’ (trumpet & piano), ‘Symphony No.1’ (full orchestra), ‘Nocturne’ (string orchestra),‘Suite for Wind Quartet’, ‘Melody‘ (violin & piano) and ‘Moment Musical No.2’ (bassoon & harp).
Amongst the venues worldwide which he has performed include the Central Music School of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (Kuala Lumpur), Nokia Concert Hall (Estonia), Pärnu Concert Hall (Estonia), The Benedict Music Tent (Aspen), Harris Hall (Aspen), Ho Chi Minh City Opera House (Vietnam), Hanoi Opera House (Vietnam), Peter Jay Sharp Theater (Lincoln Center, New York), Merkin Concert Hall (Lincoln Center, New York), Hong Kong and Washington DC.
Irfan is in the Juilliard Pre-College with a double major in piano and composition, under Yoheved Kaplinsky and Ira Taxin, respectively, and studies conducting with George Stelluto. He is a teaching artist intern for the New York Philharmonic Composer’s Bridge Program and attends high school at the Professional Children’s School.