Chaiphat Tripipitsirawat is the founder of “Thailand International Clarinet Academy”, the first clarinet training session in Thailand and a new clarinet community for clarinettists all over the world.

Chaiphat has reached international standard by being granted several awards in international competitions including, 6th West Pomeranian Clarinet Festival in Szczecin, Poland (Best Artist Performance Award), Thailand World Music Championship 2013 (1st runner-up), Thailand International Wind Ensemble Competition (2nd runner up) and 8th International Music Competition and Festival for Soloist and Chamber groups 2016 (Bronze award).

Apart from competitions, he was invited to perform in Thailand and international music festivals, such as in Japan, Belgium, France, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Russia, Poland, China, Vietnam, Peru and toured with Australian International Productions to perform Marriage of Figaro by W.A. Mozart in 20 cities across China.

Back in school, Chaiphat started playing clarinet at Assumption College under Mr. Jakkrit Ruenvuth and Wichai Yongvanitjit. Chaiphat graduated with a bachelor’s degree with second class honours in Music performance with Ms. Cassandra Fox Percival and Mr. Grzegorze Grzeszcyk at College of Music, Mahidol University. Later, with Mr. Eddy Vanoosthuyse, Principle of Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra’s supervision, he achieved master’s degree in Conservatoire Royal De Liege, Belgium with scholarship funds from 1) Classical Music Promotion under the Patronage of HRH Princess Galyani and 2) Conseil Social Règlement d’Octroi.

Currently, Chaiphat is an official Performing artist at Royal Global Clarinet, Vandoren Paris, Band Director at Satit Panyapiwat Institute of Management Demonstration school (SPIM) and Thai Country Chair of International Clarinet Association (ICA).

Hello! What a great opportunity to be speaking with you. How was your experience working with the young clarinettists here in Singapore recently during your masterclass?

I think they all are great clarinettists! However, they need some advice on how to place a greater focus on the basics like breathing technique, scales and the idea of playing to enjoy the music.

Most of these players in the masterclass are mainly advanced players, but these players have started from scratch in school bands. For beginners and intermediate learners to get to their standard, what would you suggest to work on?

It would be, definitely, to drill their fundamentals and basics to the best it could possibly be. They also need to practise their breathing techniques and learn how to form the right embouchure, which needs to be practised. Without said, scales and etudes definitely need to be worked on.

It is definitely overwhelming to start learning an instrument from scratch. What advice would you give to players to motivate them further during the beginning stage?

Music is much more than just playing an instrument. In the future, music can help us to become a nice formal person.

How would you describe yourself, when you were a young musician playing in a school band? What helped you through the tough times?

I didn’t think much of it at first. I just came across an advertisement for an instrument list for all, and I saw the clarinet. I thought it was quite nice. So, I just decided to join my school band. I wanted the experience of being in a school band, to meet friends and have a relationship with them and above all, to help each other. We helped each other when going through hard and difficult times by motivating each other. Being in a school band was not just about music, but it helped us learn virtues like sacrifice, patience and soft skills like management. The chemistry which sparked friendship between the members in a band is a very precious thing to have.

Speaking from your many years of experiences, what does the clarinet mean to you?

The clarinet allows me to pass this idea, something I have learnt from my experiences, to all the students: It is not just about playing music, but how music comes alive.

When listening to your musical inspiration, what effect did they have on you and your playing?

In such a situation, I get very affected and emotional. When I listen to musical performances by such great artists, it makes me feel even more motivated to practice!

How did the pandemic affect your career as a musician and what helped you bounce back? With the music scene slowly establishing their place in the arts scene again, how do you feel?

Actually, I’m a full-time music teacher in the school and my salary was actually maintained. So, it didn’t affect me much. However, in the beginning, private teaching came as a bit of a shock as we had to suddenly put a stop to our classes. During that time, we just picked up the new format of online class. Now, after a few months, I can finally manage an online lesson! I feel pretty all right now as we’re almost resuming normalcy and most activities are the same as pre-Covid days! However, we still have to plan and take care of ourselves and our students.

I’m sure many people would love to know, but do you have any music recommendations or your favourite piece? Anything you’re currently working on?

Actually I love all kinds of music because music can be created with many ideas and filled with so much meaning. When you learn about a certain piece now and 10 years later, the perspective taken and gained will be vastly different. One piece music can be learnt for an entire lifetime.

For clarinet, I would like to recommend Sonata No.2 from Johannes Brahms and 3 Fantasy pieces from Robert Schumann.

Thank you for this time taken to answer all our questions. I’ve gained a lot of insight from our interview! To wrap up, any future endeavours you can share with us?

In the future I want to create more spaces like community bands or clarinet ensembles for everyone who loves music. They can come to perform, share ideas, and learn from each other, despite having varied backgrounds.

Actually I’m a part of the Thailand International Clarinet Academy. It is a class for everyone who loves the clarinet and anyone at any level can come to learn with the greatest artists from around the world. I invite them to come to Thailand every year! This year, it will be held from 5-9 October 2022 in Bangkok. This year’s invited guests will be Philiipe Cuper, Eddy Vanoosthuyse, Sergio Bosi, Samantha Wright and Barbara Borowics. They will be coming to share their knowledge and skills with clarinet students from all around the world! Hope to see you there.

Before we say goodbye, was there anything interesting during your stay in Singapore?

Here were some of my highlights! I went to the Night Safari (haha). I also stayed in luxury hotels like Marina Bay Sands and The Fullerton, which I had never stayed in before. I also got to perform with clarinettists in Singapore!

Kyla Kwan
Written By Kyla Kwan

Music has always been a large part of Kyla’s life. After loudly proclaiming that she will never join a performing arts CCA again, she promptly joined Crescent Girls’ School Symphonic Band and picked up the clarinet. She began her venture into the world of the Symphonic Band and continued at Eunoia Junior College under the baton of Mr Adrian Chiang. A sophomore at Nanyang Technological University, she is currently majoring in Linguistics and Multilingual Studies and is grateful for Band Fusion for giving her this opportunity to stay in touch with this lovely community. She is still struggling to park her car.