Paul Andrew Philbert was born in London. It was as a singer that his musical abilities were first noticed, and on the advice of his preparatory school music teacher he auditioned for the Purcell School, a specialist music school, where, over the course of seven years, he studied piano, violin, clarinet and, albeit briefly, trumpet and trombone. At the age of 15, having never really settled with any of these instruments, he took up timpani and percussion. He has never looked back. He continued his studies at Trinity College of Music, London, taking a one year break to assume the responsibilities of President of the College Students' Union. Having completed his postgraduate studies he began working as a freelance musician in the UK and abroad. He has performed with many professional orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, the Halle, Royal Philharmonic and Bournemouth Symphony to name but a few.
Music has taken him to the USA, Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway, Bulgaria and New Zealand before he accepted the position of Section Principal Timpani with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) in Kuala Lumpur. Since then he has toured Singapore, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Australia, Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia with the MPO.
Paul was a founder member of the MPO and served as a member of the Orchestra's representative council for 8 consecutive years. Since the summer of 2012 Paul has become a freelance musician and educator once again and spends his free time swimming, scuba diving, watching films & local theatre, reading, eating vegetarian food and keeping up-to-date with computers and the world of technology.
A native of Sitiawan, Perak, Suyin received her Master's in Classical Percussion at the Manhattan School of Music, New York, where she studied with Duncan Patton (Principal Timpanist, Metropolitan Opera, New York), Chris Lamb (Principal Percussionist, New York Philharmonic), She-E Wu (Associate Professor, Northwestern Bienen School of Music), and Erik Charlston. During her stay in New York City, she performed with the New York String Orchestra at the Carnegie Hall and the Garden State Philharmonic.
Twice a member of the Asian Youth Orchestra, Suyin toured and performed in major cities and concert halls in Asia, including the National Centre for Performing Arts, Beijing; Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, Japan; Esplanade, Singapore; National Concert Hall, Taipei and Hanoi Opera House, Vietnam.
As a soloist, Suyin made her debut international solo marimba performance in Japan in 2009. She was a semi-finalist of the Great plains Marimba Competition held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in July 2013, she also won Best Performance award in the Thailand World Music Championship 2013 in Pattaya. In June 2014, she made her debut percussion concerto performance with the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in Dewan Philharmonic Petronas.
Suyin is now back to her homeland to serve the community that brought her so far in her career and also allowed her to realize her passion throughout her journey. She started playing the piano at the age of 4, she joined the school band playing saxophone and later percussion when she attended high school. As one of the founding members of the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO), she worked closely with Kevin Field, Paul Philbert and Matt Prendergast who guided her to mature as a musician and a performer. Since 2009, she has been working freelance with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO). To balance her musical life, Suyin enjoys swimming, reading, cooking, baking and making handicrafts.
Kevin’s eclectic performance experience as an orchestral percussionist is reflected in his ‘shuffle list’: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band, as well as great swing band drummers like Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson, jazz legends Miles Davis, Chic Corea and Gary Burton alongside performances of great orchestral music with the Philharmonia, Berlin Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony.
Kevin is an international independent conductor and, before moving to Malaysia in 1999, BMA’s Director of Academic and Artistic Development was Sub-Principal Percussionist with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the UK’s oldest and most established provincial professional orchestra. Kevin was a student at the Royal Academy of Music, London when American conductor, Andrew Litton appointed him to the BSO, and it was with the BSO that Kevin toured the USA twice, Europe on numerous occasions, recorded hundreds of CDs and performed more than one thousand two hundred concerts over a nine-year period.
Prior to working with the BSO, Kevin studied with Douglas Milne at the Birmingham School of Music where he was subsequently invited to perform with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra making his professional debut as a first year student with Simon Rattle conducting. Later Kevin studied with Stephen Quigley and Nicholas Cole at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he graduated with first class honours.
Kevin later went to work with the Ballet Rambert, Saddlers Wells Royal Ballet, The Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, before joining the BSO. With pianists Nettle & Markham, Kevin frequently performed the chamber version of Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, as well as Panufnik’s Concertino for Timpani, Percussion and Strings.
All of Kevin’s students can expect to work on the fundamentals of time and pulse whilst studying elementary to advanced rudiments, covering stick control, dexterity and independence across all orchestral percussion instruments including timpani, snare drum, drum kit and mallet instruments as well as an in-depth study of tambourine, triangle, cymbals and bass drum, thus gaining an experienced insight in to the symphonic repertoire.
See Kevin’s fill bio here