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Welcome back to KL. Are you looking forward to conduct the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra one more time?
I always look forward to coming back to KL each year. We always have such a great time with the orchestra and the Malaysian audiences.  They have such a wonderful appreciation for the music that we perform.

Havens conducting the MPO last year Photo © DFP

Havens conducting the MPO last year Photo © DFP

You’ve conducted several concerts with the MPO in the last several years, what was the most memorable one for you?
I think it had to be the first concert in October 2013.  We had never been to Malaysia and we were so excited to perform with the MPO and see how the audiences in a different part of the world would respond to our show and the music. It was the ‘Music of Michael Jackson’ concerts; the audiences were so excited to see the show and experience a different way of hearing Michael Jackson’s music that it was a great time for everyone.

As a conductor, what appeals to you the most about the music of U2?
The ‘Music of U2’ is different in a number of ways from the other concerts that we’ve performed there. The harmonic structure of its music is very different from many of the band’s music that we perform and that’s very appealing. The group has a unique sound which isn’t straight rock and roll but is somewhat of a hybrid of rock and other musical forms. But its music lends itself to orchestration so it makes it a wonderful concert experience.

What do you love best about working with MPO?
I love the diversity in the orchestra.  The MPO has musicians from all over the world and they are incredibly talented and hardworking musicians. It makes my job on the podium easier to have these talented musicians in front of me.

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Considering you’ve been here so often, do you have a favourite place to visit in KL?
It’s so hard to answer that question. There are so many places to see and things to do that we barely scratch the surface when we’re there. Of course, it’s always wonderful to enjoy the food, especially some of the places we visit on Jalan Alor, the markets and even Batu Caves. We always try to do something new.

The conductor has been a season regular since 2013 Photo © DFP

The conductor has been a season regular since 2013 Photo © DFP

You’ve conducted concerts featuring the music of Led Zeppelin and Queen in the past. What else are you working on in the near future?
We have two new shows that we premiered this year; the ‘Music of Elton John’ and our newest is the ‘Music of David Bowie’. Hopefully, we’ll be able to present one of those new ones to the audiences in KL one day.

The Music of U2 will be held on Friday, 9 September 2016 and Saturday, 10 September 2016 at 8.30 pm, and Sunday, 11 September 2016 at 3.00 pm at the Dewan Filharmonik. For concert details and tickets log on to mpo.com.my