Classic music, escape to Sala Sudasiri Sobha in Ladprao.
On a Sunday afternoon in June, I discovered Sala Sudasiri Sobha. This unique concert hall was very hard to find, but worth the long taxi drive and lots of trouble before finding it.
A friend and I had signed up to attend a piano recital by Khun Pana Yontararak, Khun Nat Yontararak’s son. We arrived to this beautiful villa, built in colonial style and were greeted by Khun Paranee and her distinguished mother Sugar. The Yontararak family is dedicated to music; they live and breathe music.
Father Nat says; “My life is full of dreams. One of my dreams was to have an ideal concert hall which has beautiful acoustics along with a beautiful piano (Steinway and Sons). A hall which both performers and the listeners are equally fulfilled since it would unite them together through music”.
The most important person and supporter to Khun Nat has been H.E. Princess Sudasiri Sobha, the daughter of H.R.H Prince Chudadhuj Dharadilok who was the 9th son of King Rama V and Queen Sri Bajarindra.
Khun Nat started to play piano at an age of 9 and gave his debut recital when he was 20 (junior year in Chulalongkorn), then went to London to study music after graduation. His dream was to become a professional musician. He studied music during for many years in London and received a scholarship and took his Master’s Degree at Reading University.
Khun Nat became a famous and much popular piano teacher and many are the students who have practiced on the Steinway big wing piano under his indulgent care. Khun Nat married Sugar, the love of his life. Together, after the marriage, they started their piano school. When the school, “Nat Studio”, celebrated the 25th anniversary, they had wisdom to build this concert hall Khun Nat says. Khun Nat is also an architect, who graduated in 1977, so he built the hall himself with a help from his friends.
The name Sala Sudasiri Sobha was granted by the permission of M.R. Sunida Kitiyakara who is the only daughter of “Than Mae” (word for mother) H.H. late Princess Sudasiri Sobha.
At this special Sunday concert, the son of Khun Nat and his wife Sugar, played the piano. He started the recital with Muzio Clementi: Sonata in F sharp minor Op. 25 No.5 continued with Franz Liszt; Funerailles and finished with the Sonata No.1 “Glory to our Great Kings”.
This young man also has an incredible education. Khun Pana is most grateful to the late Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana who presided over his debut recital in 2003.
Khun Pana won an Albert Roussel scholarship to study at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. Afterwards he moved to Italy to study under Maestro Pierpalo Levi and Maestro Uberto Martinelli and received the “Diploma di corso di alto perfezionamento in pianoforte” from the Academia of Perugia under Stefano Ragnia and Patrizio Cerrone. Khun Pana has become the first Thai piano student to be accepted and to graduate from the State Conservatory in Italy and was awarded as the most outstanding student in 2013. Since then he has performed at several places around the world.
You could write a book about Khun Pana’s concerts and life. Since 2013 he has been assistant director of theNat Music School and a lecturer for music appreciation at the Faculty of Music Engineering and Multimedia of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang.
It took his father Nat, 7 months to write Sonata No 1 “Glory to our Great Kings” and it took Khun Pana 37 minutes to play it. I can just say that it was a magical recital, so beautiful. During the evening 5 artists had the opportunity to present their paintings and each painting was accompanied with a piece of music.
For music lovers I can only recommend a visit to this unique bijou concert hall, designed to provide Bangkok with a place where fine music can be performed and enjoyed in intimate surroundings far removed from the city’s hustle and bustle. “Music builds people, builds community, builds us. Sala Sudasiri Sobha was built for music”. Through the magnificent entrance hall you will go up the stairs to the second floor. To the left of the entrance hall is the room “Duangduen” named after Chao Mae, bearing her emblem on the wall. Chao Mae is one of the last Princesses of the Lanna Kingdom. Khun Chao Mae was donated all the teak and rosewood from her old houses.
There is also a VIP room named “Ladawan” after Khun Ladawan Mojdara, who is like another mother to us, the family explains. ‘She was the one who encouraged me to marry Sugar’, Khun Nat says with a smile.
There is also the “Pantipa Room”. Kru (teacher) Pantipa was my very dear piano teacher who taught me how to play from grade 8 and until I obtained the FTCL (the highest diploma of Trinity College of Music London which took place in Bangkok). This room has two grand pianos and is used for rehearsing piano concerto or small ensemble and it’s also a good room for vocal training. I was told by Kru Pantipa that “to master the art of piano playing is not enough, one needs to have the virtue as the master of your soul as well” Khun Nat says.
The main room is “Sala Sudasiri Sobha hall”. This room is 16 metres long, 8 metres wide and 8 metres high. The main floor has 140 seats and up on the balcony you can seat a further 40 people. The stage is beautiful and has a high window that makes it possible to see the full moon as a backdrop.
“We are so blessed to have these 5 rooms and Sugar and I pray for God’s Kingdom bestows upon this place to be a place of blessings to whoever enters this Sala” Khun Nat says.
Fine music is an international language that leads the mind toward the heart and the heart toward the mind, fusing the two and infusing them with discipline that is one of humanity’s greatest and most lasting achievements.
If you are longing for some beautiful classical music in quiet surroundings, I suggest you visit one of the upcoming concerts.
Throughout October, the family is on a tour in the US and there will be a concert at Carnegie Hall amongst many more at several locations.
I can warmly recommend you visit this place and enjoy music at its best. I also have to mention that “The Gift of Life Foundation” has been established and has organised a campaign to help haematological patients with the following beliefs:
Giving: We believe giving brings more happiness than receiving and that we can give cheerfully to one another unconditionally.
The Gift: We believe that life and talents are gifts that everyone has received from birth and the communities that we live in is an accumulation of different forms of gifts in order to make society more vibrant and whole.
Of Life: We believe all life in the community has value and meaning. It is an honour to help other people to live longer. It’s a great blessing to be able to share part of our life to extend the lives of others.
Feel free to participate in this commitment by donating or giving your time and talents. Volunteers from different professions are needed to share this vision with us. www.givingthegift2015 at gmail.com
For more information please visit: www.SalaSudasiriSobha.com or on Facebook Sala Sudasiri Sobha.