It is a rare and welcome opportunity to be able to listen to all three Brahms Sonatas for Piano and Violin. Brahms was a German Romantic composer, often grouped with Beethoven and Bach as one of the “”Three Bs” of music. Brahms composed music for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, piano, organ, and voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works, including the sonatas he wrote for and performed with the acclaimed violinist Joseph Joachim, who was also his close friend.

Here in Penang, two other good friends and gifted musicians are coming to perform these classic works, Jassen Todorov and Ng Chong Lim, who have already performed them together in the US and Europe. Jassen Todorov, described by the British music journal  as an outstanding violinist…a player to watch has recorded extensively, performs widely internationally and is Professor of Violin at San Francisco State University as well as Visiting Professor at several music schools in China. Ng Chong Lim was the Winner of Malaysian National Piano Competition 1993, also performs all over the world, judges international piano competitions, and additionally is a gifted composer himself, whose works have premiered in the US, Taiwan, Malaysia and Germany.

Brahms composed the first of the sonatas (G Major) in 1879, and his intent to make the violin sing above all rings through the entire piece. Seven years later, the second (A major), with much the same mood, was first performed. The third, in D Minor, is very different from the two earlier ones,  with its stormy key and four movements rather than three. You can listen to another performance by other musicians here


But not only is Todorov a professional musician, he is also an award-winning photographer whose images have been appeared in National Geographic, the Guardian, Telegraph, Times, Washington Post, Le Figaro, and many other publications. As an active pilot and flight instructor, he specialises in aerial photography, featuring both popular and remote parts of the world.

While he is in Penang there will be a three-day exhibition of some of his award-winning photographs, and he will also conduct a workshop, “Aerial Photography – the Ultimate Experience” aimed at “photographers, pilots and aspiring explorers” on Saturday 3rd at 6pm, in the Penang Philharmonic’s auditorium at The Star Building on Pitt Street (Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling). The Complete Sonatas will be performed on Friday 2nd November at 8pm, and again on Saturday 3rd at 3pm, in the same location. The exhibition hours are Friday 6pm-10pm, Saturday 1-8pm and Sunday 10am-1pm.

Admission to the concert is by donation of RM50, RM80 or RM100, and to the workshop by donation of any amount. All proceeds, including from sales of his photographs, will go to help the senior citizens at Gan En Zhi Jia (Penang) and children in Nepal. Tickets are on sale at at Bentley Music, Gurney Paragon Mall Level 5, and from Low Hui Yong / 012-438 2802 or