It is my great pleasure and joy to welcome you again to an extraordinary event, the 14th annual  International Music Festival Phnom Penh, this year under the title PIANOMANIA. This is a notable event in the cultural calendar of Cambodia.

There is great mutual interest between musicians of different nationalities and a fusion of divergent cultural forms and research. Our late King Father Norodom Sihanouk shaped the development of Cambodian music in the 20th century.

His unforgettable songs in his cycles "Musique et Chansons" are well known throughout the country and are based on piano accompaniment as well as solo piano transcriptions.

The Takeo-born composer Chinary Ung is successfully composing contemporary music and has been honored with many prestigious awards. Choosing the piano to express his artistic ideas ("Seven Mirrors", for solo piano, composed in1997) may be seen as an example of expressing Cambodian music traditions on the piano.

Piano is an essential tool in music education in secondary schools and universities It allows programs to achieve international standards mainly in Western music.   In that progressive spirit of our times, Cambodia is eager to participate in this promising exchange.

Phoeurng Sackona
Minister of Culture and Fine Arts

Phoeurng Sackona
Minister of
Culture and Fine Arts

I am very pleased that the Delegation of the European Union is again able to support the International Music Festival organised in Phnom Penh by the Art plus Foundation and Mr Anton Isselhardt.

This year's Festival promises a rich exploration of piano music, from the classical composers of the 17th century, via the 19th century Romantics to the 20th and 21st centuries. The seven concerts cover a vast range of great music. I am particularly pleased that Rong Sereyvann's concert on 19 November will include pieces by five Cambodian composers, and give an idea of the way that Cambodian musicians have been able to draw on both national traditions and the styles and methods of Western classical music.

We have been proud in 2017 to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the EU-Cambodia Cooperation Agreement, which is the framework for our official cooperation in trade, development and the political sphere. But those official relationships are only half the picture, and in many ways the growth in personal, educational and cultural contacts is just as important in helping to bring together the peoples of our different countries. With that in mind, I wish every success to the organisers and performers, and an enriching experience to all those who attend the Festival.

George Edgar
Ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia

George Edgar
Ambassador of the
European Union to the
Kingdom of Cambodia


Dear friends of music and the pianoforte,

I am happy to extend my warmest greetings to you on the occasion of the 14th International Music Festival.

As you are well aware, the German Embassy in Phnom Penh has been a keen supporter of this event since its inception.

This year, it brings to us the pleasure to enjoy music performed on one of the most interesting and most variable musical instruments – the pianoforte. The piano is still the first choice for many who want to learn an instrument. It can act like a small orchestra by itself, but also be used to accompany solo instruments, singers, choirs throughout all thinkable styles of music. It can also interact well with traditional instruments from non-European countries. I am particularly delighted that the great German composers like Bach, Beethoven and Brahms are presented to the Cambodian people during this year`s International Music Festival.

This year is also marked by a number of anniversaries. On 15th November 1967, 50 years ago, the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Federal Republic of Germany established Diplomatic Relations. Much has happened since. Today we look back on a very fruitful cooperation in particular the fields of economic and development cooperation, humanitarian mine action and cultural cooperation. In the framework of the later, the German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP) has been successful in stone conservation at the Temples of Angkor for 20 years- another anniversary, which we commemorate this year. The annual support to the International Music Festival has been another building block for a widening and deepening cultural exchange between Europe and Cambodia, featuring many German composers and musicians. This would not have been possible without the continued efforts the festival’s director, Mr Anton Isselhardt and support by the Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, H.E. Phoeung Sakona.

I wish you an enjoyable fortnight of piano music.

Dr Ingo Karsten
Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany
To the Kingdom of Cambodia

Dr Ingo Karsten
Ambassador of the F R of Germany


Dear Music Lovers,

Classical piano music at its best and in the full spirit of tradition — that is PIANOMANIA! Welcome to this year‘s Music Festival.

The development of the piano is indeed a European success story with its roots in hammered dulcimer instruments,  for example the Cimbalom (Cambodia=Khim, India=Santur). A water-pipe organ appeared in ancient Greek culture in 3rd century BC.  Bartolomeo Cristofori, an Italian maker of musical instruments is regarded as the inventor of the keyboard and paved the way to the on-going development leading to the modern piano.

Keyboard music plays a major role in nearly all music genres, especially Western classical music since the 17th century. The artistic expression of contemporary Asian composers has long been part of this development.

Superbly performed by international pianists and one piano duo, PIANOMANIA presents seven concerts, staging a selection of representative pieces, spanning the last 250 years.  We are especially delighted to welcome the young Cambodian pianist Rong Sereyvann as part of the program — a new hope for many young Cambodians who study piano.

I look forward to sharing these wonderful musical experiences with you all.

Anton Isselhardt
Festival Director

Anton Isselhardt
Festival Director