A familiar face with many Asian and Singapore bands, Mr Surapol Thanyawibool is known to be one of the most distinguished conductors from Thailand. He has worked with bands in many countries and led ensembles to garner outstanding achievements in local and international music events.
Like many musicians, Mr Surapol started his interest in music during his school band days.
“Through many band activities, I learned that music was all about working together as a team.”
With a strong music passion that grew enormously during his school band days, Mr Surapol decided to pursue his music studies at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand to become a band director.
“I felt that I would be able to gather determined students and pass on my knowledge and music skills to them. I also felt that passing on my teaching ethics would have influenced their quality of life,” said Mr Surapol, who strongly believed that the existence of a school band serves as an effective educational centre of ideal serving civilians.
Mr Surapol conducted the Bangkok Christian College Band and Wat Suthiwararam School Band which the latter clinched the First Prize with Distinction and Trophy of the Week at the World Music Contest (WMC) in Kekrade, Netherlands in 1996 under his leadership.
His involvement in the performing arts scene also include being the Show Director of the “United of Asia” Performance at the Opening Ceremony of the 13th Asian Games, and the Coordinator for the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra Foundation at the Special Concert in Celebration of His Majesty’s Golden Jubilee performance by the World Philharmonic Orchestra.
During his enriching career as a conductor, Mr Surapol actively participated in the Concert Band Programme in Tenri, Nara, Japan and the Mid-West Bands and Orchestra Clinic in USA.
“From my wind band experiences in Japan, USA and Europe, I observed that they have a lot in common, but each with its own style of tone colors which effectively differ in the interpretation of music. This is the charisma of arts, and we can apply these attractive inspiring ideas by desire to innovate our own artistic identity. As the quote says, Ars Longa; Art never dies.”
“In Thailand however, the wind ensemble scene has developed greatly on the comprehension of basic instrument playing techniques in the last 30 years. I observed that instructors and students are enthusiastic, and are determined to perform quality works at the highest-level despite the lack of continued supports. Corporate governance and privatization should be conducted to preserve the quality and innovation of these creative works,” he emphasized.
With years of experience at his helm, Mr Surapol was keen to share the types of band music that he enjoys conducting or listening to.
“There are many types of wind band that I like, such as Classical orchestra transcriptions, Pop-Jazz, and Marching Band music. With a diversity of tone colours, the different music styles can fit into most occasions, even in outdoor activities.”
“In terms of orchestral music, I enjoy the works of Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt and Rachmaninov. In wind band music, I personally admire John Philip Sousa, James Barnes, James Curnow, and Satoshi Yagisawa’s works as their music are delightful with elegant melodies,” said Mr Surapol.
Back at home in Thailand, Mr Surapol serves as the current Head of Western Music Division at the Kasetsart University.
As the Music Director of the university’s Wind Symphony, his program is one that trains students not only in the musical aspects but also in the cultivation of virtues.
“My hope is that they will continue to pass on the knowledge to their own students in future. It is only in this way that the wind band program will develop and grow.”
A contributing editor at TBP.