Penang – A future centre for classical music in Asia?

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At the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra’s (PPO) new venue on Lebuh Pitt, young musicians calmly practice their shiny instruments as others mingle and help themselves to the free food. In a few hours, they will be playing "Beethoven's First", the first of a cycle of Beethoven symphonies the orchestra will be performing this year.

PPO chairperson Datin Seri Irene Yeap takes me around the premises. If the young musicians are nervous, none of them are showing it, as far as I could see. We’re actually in what used to be the iconic


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