Malaysia Born Film Composer Ought to Transform/Revolutionize the Film Music Industry in Malaysia/South East Asia

First Malaysian Film Composer to Win Prestigious Awards in the United States at the New York City Indie Film Awards. A Malaysian Film Composer and his vanguard are revolutionizing the Film Music Industry in Malaysia.

Andrew Bong (Photo by Koreander)

​​​Kuching-born film composer Andrew Bong, based in Boston, took home the Gold Award for the Best Score at The NYC Indie Film Awards (New York, 2016), for the short film “Tradition.” “Tradition” took home three victorious awards; the Gold Award for the Best Score, the Gold Award for the Best Cinematography and the Best Sound Effects (SFX). “Tradition” is a thriller/suspense, short form film, directed by an Award-Winning Director based in New York, Sultan Al Saud. “Tradition” has also been officially selected for the New York Short Film Festival (2016). Sultan Al Saud is currently working on his upcoming sci-fi film, “The O2” (2016), and he seeks for more future collaborations with Andrew.

Andrew teamed up with arranger, Emily Shibata & mixing engineer, Alvin Wee to put together the music score for “Tradition.” (Emily Shibata is a Japanese/Spanish singer-songwriter, arranger, and producer. Alvin Wee is a Kuching born music mixing engineer & producer, known for Ola Bola, Kungfu Panda 3, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Metal Gar Solid 5, Final Fantasy XV & 13-III)

"Although Andrew is a young composer, he has already grasped an impressive amount of knowledge and music composition skills for film scoring. He can go anywhere he wants and speaks musically without any limitation. I can't emphasize enough that; Andrew is beyond talented because he has a good heart and a pure soul. He is sensitive to how people think and feel. These are his success."

Michiru Oshima, Award Winning Japanese Composer

Michiru Oshima, an Award Winning Female Japanese Composer (Godzilla, Fullmetal Alchemist, Video Game ICO), “Although Andrew is a young composer, he has already grasped an impressive amount of knowledge and music composition skills for film scoring. He can go anywhere he wants and speaks musically without any limitation. I can’t emphasize enough that; Andrew is beyond talented because he has a good heart and a pure soul. He is sensitive to how people think and feel. These are his success.” Andrew is a close friend of his mentor, Michiru Oshima.

In Boston, Andrew has his name on the Dean’s Lists (2011-2015) at the Berklee College of Music, where he completed his Dual Bachelor Degree in Music Composition & Film-Scoring, and a Minor in Psychology. Andrew was awarded the Berklee Achievement Scholarship. In addition to that, he was also given the Leroy Southers Award by Berklee College of Music Composition Department in 2015 for his contribution and effort in the academia of musical composition. [Andrew studied intensively under the guidance of Sheldon Mirowitz (A 3 Times Emmy Award Nominated Film Composer), Bill Elliot (66th Tony Awards for Best Orchestrations), Yakov Gubanov (One of the last private students of Dmitri Shostakovich), Susan Rogers (Recording & Mixing Engineer for Prince and Michael Penn; Brother of Actor Sean Penn), and Alla Elana Cohen, a distinguished composer, pianist, music theorist and award winning ASCAP educator who came to the United States in 1989 from Soviet Russia].

In 2014, Massachusetts, Andrew received an Honorable Mention from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Composition Competition under the direction of Alla Cohen. MTNA Composition Competition is a prestigious composition competition for young composers.

In addition to composing for film music, Andrew is a groundbreaking concert music innovator; inventing new musical projects consistently with his professional collaborators. One of Andrew’s featured collaborators is an Award Winning Chinese Multi-Instrumentalist, Yazhi Guo who is now based in Boston. He is widely known as the “Best” suona player in Asia. (Yazhi Guo has performed in concert with Hong Kong composer, Joseph Koo, singers Hacken Lee, Anthony Wong & Prudence Liew. He has appeared in the Hong Kong Film Awards, Hong Kong Golden Bauhinia Film Awards, CCTV, and TVB.

Yazhi Guo is a contracted soloist for Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (HKCO), and Chairman of the Hong Kong Suona Association. Yazhi Guo is also an inventor, in 1993, he invented the removable reed for the suona, which gives the instrument chromatic capabilities and increases its range of expressiveness. The Ministry of Culture in China recognized this breakthrough and awarded Yazhi Guo the Science and Technology Advancement Award.)

Yazhi Guo invited Andrew to arrange and revive a near extinct piece, the Plum Blossoms (over 1000-year-old traditional Chinese folk piece) and premiered it at the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2016. Yazhi performed Andrew’s music with a Chinese music ensemble, hosted by The Chinese Fine Arts Society for 8 Tones Concert Series. The music ensemble consisted players from Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble.

Yazhi Guo said, “I have performed in Malaysia and Singapore on various occasions. I have worked with composers from Singapore & Malaysia. Andrew is unique and he is extraordinary because Andrew is genuinely passionate with musical compositions that strive towards cultural preservation. These are the reasons I love to work with him. I hope that our upcoming projects, such as future performance of his compositions with the orchestras, such as Boston Symphony Orchestra, in USA, and with various orchestra in China/Hong Kong, CCTV, will give Andrew a strong musical identity as a Malaysian Chinese composer, which hopefully he will be recognized one day by the Malaysia Cultural Ministry and internationally; as one of the pioneers that redefine the modern Chinese traditional music, and that he integrates his music with the cultures of all Malaysian races.”

Andrew Bong composed "The Last Phoenix" inspired by the Chinese tradition piece, ‘Bai Niao Chao Feng’ (All Birds Paying Homage to the Phoenix) for Yazhi Guo. The piece was ‘world premiered’ by the Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra, at the Gateway Christian Church, LA on June 26, 2016, as part of the Gateway Performance Series. (The Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra is a Los Angeles-based big band consisting members who perform with Los Angeles' most premier ensembles such as Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, including major motion picture and television shows, as well as Grammy Award-winning albums.)

“This is no ordinary task,” Yazhi Guo pointed out. “The concert is called, ‘Riding the Camel ~ Journey Along the Silk Road.’ Andrew is one of the pioneers, who successfully arranged a piece for the suona with the big band. I have been playing the suona for over 40 years, I can tell you without any hesitancy, this is the first time in history a suona player plays with one of the best big band in the world. Undeniably, I am eternally grateful that this project, is heading towards the direction of 'cultural preservation,' 'cultural assimilation.' and 'cultural innovation.' The concert was attended by an Award-Winning American Composer William Kraft and his wife, also a composer and a close friend of mine, Joan Huang. Both of them told me, they love the beauty and the complexity of the piece, "The Last Phoenix.""

William Kraft commented, "The Last Phoenix is complex. It has simplicity and gracefulness; it is such a difficult task to combine the suona and the big band orchestra's timbre. The combination of both the suona and the big band orchestra for "The Last Phoenix" is seamless, and beautiful. Such delicateness wouldn't be accomplished without the skillful composer and arrangers."

Andrew Bong is currently composing for a Malaysia feature film and initiating a new project with Yazhi Guo, called the “HongBai (RedWhite)” project to take on the modern tradition Chinese music world by storm.

Source: Andrew Bong

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