Art & Culture

Elgar’s Enigma | Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra

Elgar’s Enigma Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra

Elgar’s Enigma Variations are one of his most popular and soulful works. Join TPO and Spanish-American conductor José-Luis Novo will seek to make the variations your favorite as well! Also on the program is Christopher Janwong McKiggan performing Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F.

Synopsis: Hailed as a pianist with “astounding technique… startling poise and control” and “astonishing virtuosity and piano coloration”, Christopher Janwong McKiggan joins TPO under the baton of Spanish maestro José-Luis Novo to perform Gershwin’s crowd-pleasing Concerto in F. A top prize getter as a laureate and finalist at the prestigious 12th Unisa International Piano Competition (WFIMC) 2012, Christopher is one of Thailand’s most successful pianists on the international stage. Following the concerto, the TPO delves into the mystical and surprising Enigma Variations, Edward Elgar’s masterpiece.

Gershwin wrote his Piano Concerto in F in 1925, a year after the success of his more daring “experiment in music”, the Rhapsody in Blue. Though audibly more conservative, the Concerto in F is still classic Gershwin – a composer that lived comfortably in both the popular and non-commercial music worlds.

At times subtle, jazzy, and rhythmic the concerto comes alive in hands of pianists who, like the famed songwriter, understand the lyricism and phrasing of early 20th century jazz.

With Elgar’s Enigma Variations one hears the orchestra at its most intimate. The theme came to Elgar after long day’s teaching in October 1898. A striking melodic and harmonic creation, Elgar used the theme to improvise fourteen variations, all character studies of friends – some known to us and some not. In effect to listen to the Enigma Variations is to view musical portraits of people we don’t know but who nevertheless inhabit the musical world created by Elgar. Nimrod, of the final variations is recognized the world over as one of the most beautiful and striking parts of the whole – dramatic, eloquent, and solemn.


  • 15 June 2018 / 7.00 p.m. / PMH (Pre-Concert Talk 6.15 p.m.)
  • 16 June 2018 / 4.00 p.m. / PMH (Pre-Concert Talk 3.15 p.m.)

Conductor: José-Luis Novo

Soloist:  Christopher Janwong McKiggan, Piano


  • Thai Traditional Music
  • George Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F
  • Edward Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme ‘Enigma’, Op. 36

Reservation PMH Box Office
Thaiticket Major – / Call Center 02-262-3456
PMH Box Office on TPO Concert Day (Friday since 5.00 p.m. – 9.00 p.m. / Saturday since 2.00 p.m.- 6.00 p.m.)
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