Culture & Religion

Hear the Music Sing at Johor Bahru: International Festival City 2017

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The Southern shores of Malaysia come alive with music, arts, life and cheer this 2017 as Johor Bahru: International Festival City celebrates its 13th year of sheer arts indulgence in Iskandar Malaysia. Starting out as the humble Johor Bahru Arts Fest, this whirlwind of music, theatre, dance, comedy and more has grown into a festive flurry of artistic activity that has captured the hearts of locals and internationals alike.

Musical Medleys in June 2017

Euroasia Strings concert

Earlier this year, the Johor Bahru Piano Festival 2017 and Euroasia Strings Competition & Concert Johor held on 16 June & 17 June respectively featured over 200 little musical maestros who performed their best in an exciting competition and finalists showcased their musical mastery in a concert held on the same evening. What was most outstanding was the participation of talented school-going children as both events successfully gathered the young talents of JB at one venue to play music beautifully.

Classical Concerts in July 2017

Upcoming on the exciting JBIFC calendar is the JB Classical Music Festival 2017 on 27 to 29 July 2017 at 2 exciting venues: Amari Hotel Johor Bahru (the swankiest new hotel in town) and Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios.

If you are keen on a magical evening of the finest music, then one should not miss the 3-day musical extravaganza featuring a variety of concerts and not one, but two exceptional orchestras – The Philharmonic Winds of Malaysia and Siam Sinfonietta. The Festival showcases a line-up of all-embracing performances opening with the highly acclaimed Sans Frontieres performing on 27 July at 8pm at Amari Hotel Johor Bahru. The musical quartet comprised of talented artistes from Spain, Japan and France will entertain the audience with timeless compositions from their respective homelands.

Julian Chan – Guest artiste with National Symphony Orchestra

On the second evening, all jazz enthusiasts are invited to swing their hips and sway their hearts in rhapsody with Jazz Up – Rhapsody in Blue, a much-anticipated jazzy concert happening on 28 July at 8pm at Amari Hotel Johor Bahru. The National Symphony Orchestra Wind Ensemble teams up with guest artistes to perform much-loved classical masterpieces by Gershwin and other famous jazz composers.

Saving the best for last, the final day of the Festival presents Journey to the West Side on 29 July at 3pm at Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, where The Philharmonic Winds of Malaysia performs alongside acclaimed Euphonium soloist, Bastian Baumet in a contemporary concert that concludes with Bernstein’s critically acclaimed West Side Story.

The closing concert on 29 July is the not-to-be-missed Thai Odyssey performed by the award-winning Siam Sinfonietta at 8pm at Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios. The renowned orchestra which took first place in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival will present an explosive repertoire of music which includes romantic love songs inspired from Siam as well as original compositions by the conductor and orchestra’s founder.

The Philharmonic Winds of Malaysia

The JB Classical Music Festival 2017 is the perfect opportunity to make merry with the soothing sounds of classical music, energetic jazz tunes and melodic blend of East meets West arrangements. It promises to be a concert-going experience unlike any other where the audience get to share a close proximity with performers and enjoy a musical story told to them in a relaxed yet sophisticated setting.

Tickets start from RM80 for adults and RM30 for students and senior citizens. Festival pass holders start from RM100 and they enjoy unlimited access to the Festival’s concerts, workshops and master classes conducted by musical experts from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Trinity College London.

Exciting End-year Escapades

The Johor Bahru: International Festival City continues to thrill and entertain a wider audience across Iskandar Malaysia, and even Singapore with well-planned programmes for the close of 2017.


Next up is the JB Writers + Film Festival 2017 held on 19 to 28 October where budding writers, amateurs and seasoned story spinners come together to weave their magic in tales told and untold. Based on the festival’s success in the past years, this event is where stories in print and on screen are revealed in all its splendour for the public’s appreciation.

JB Piano Festival Participants

Come November 2017, the ever-popular 14th JB Arts Festival on 2-18 November held across venues in Downtown Johor Bahru is back. The best way to appreciate the unique, effervescent elements of this Festival would be to stroll the city streets of Downtown Johor Bahru and gaze in awe at the sky-high murals that decorate the buildings along Jalan Tan Hiok Nee. Here, you can enjoy a cuppa at a local ‘kopitiam’ whilst watching street performances, join a local walkabout through the alleys of heritage, step into one of many workshops taking place at the street cafes or simply follow the crowds to where the artsy aroma of coffee and culture lead them.

Fashionistas unite at Perspective: The Runway 2017 on 10-11 November, a Fashion and Art runway show which lends new perspectives to the art of fashion. It promises to be a star-studded glamorous event where leading designers in the region showcase their wearable works-of-art. If last year’s runway success set the stage for this year, then the audience are in for an amazing show that revels in latest designer apparels.

More details on Johor Bahru: International Festival City’s calendar of events and event tickets can be found on

Be it a musical concert, street fair or fashion show, there is always something for everyone. It’s time to get festive and celebrate the Arts at the one and only Johor Bahru: International Festival City.

Written by Melanie Cheong, local Iskandarian & lover of all things artsy

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