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Echoes from the Abyss

From the abyss born

the most divine and profound

music of all time.

...for our hopes and dreams.

Eri Nakagawa, piano


Eri Nakagawa, a native of Osaka, Japan, has been on the piano faculty of College of Music, Mahidol University in Thailand since 1995. Prior to her appointment at Mahidol, she was Assistant Professor of Music Performance at Ball State University, Indiana, USA. She has been invited as a guest pianist and professor at the University of Northern Colorado in USA, Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Bösendorfer Saal in Vienna, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore, Corfu Festival in Greece, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth, Moulin d’Andé International Masterclasses in Normandy, France, Piano Plus Festival in Corfu, Greece, UCSI University in Kuala Lumpur, Beijing China Conservatory, Northwest Minzu University in Lanzhou, NanJing Xiaozhuang University, Zhejiang Conservatory of Music in Hangzhou, Sicily International Piano Festival, Piano Island Festival in Kuala Lumpur, etc.


Besides giving frequent recitals, she has performed more than ten concertos with numerous orchestras. She also enjoys working as a collaborative pianist and accompanist with distinguished musicians in Thailand and abroad.

She graduated from Osaka Kyoiku University and continued postgraduate studies at Mukogawa Women’s University in Japan. She completed her Master's and Doctoral degrees in piano performance at Ball State University. Among her principal teachers were Koji Tanaka, Naoyuki Inoue, Mitchell Andrews, and Pia Sebastiani.


Many of her students have won top prizes in national and international competitions, and her former students have received scholarships in prestigious schools such as Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Juilliard School, Mozarteum University Salzburg, Royal College of Music, etc. She received the Trinity Guildhall Award for Excellence in Music Teaching in 2010 and 2017, Teaching Award at the 13th Chopin International Piano Competition in ASIA in 2013, Best Teacher Award at the Kawai Music Competition 2016, and Mahidol Music Honor Award 2022.

Born in Bangkok, Thailand. Sooksan Ratanapol received a scholarship from ASEA-UNINET to study with the principal clarinetist of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Prof. Stefan Schilling, at Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Graz, Austria, where he also pursued orchestral-studies with Prof. Gottfried Boisits, Prof. Gerald Pachinger and chamber music-studies with Prof. Chia Chou of Trio Parnassus. In 2010 he furthered his education with Prof. Norbert Kaiser at Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Stuttgart.

In addition to his studies, he participated in various masterclasses by world-renowned clarinetists such as Wenzel Fuchs, Larry Combs, Norbert Kaiser, Martin Spangenberg, Ronald van Spaendonck, Steven Barta and Bil Jackson. In Summer 2009, he took part in the Crusell International Clarinet Competition. During his orchestral career, he has performed with numerous orchestras such as Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Junge Oper Stuttgart, Saigon Philharmonic Orchestra, Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, Siam Philharmonic and Bangkok Symphony Orchestra as a principal clarinetist. Moreover in 2004-2006, he spent his summers with the Asian Youth Orchestra under the batons of Maestro Sergui Comissiona and Maestro Okko Kamu. In the Asian Youth Orchestra, he studied clarinet with Steven Barta. His musical career has taken him across the world, where he performed internationally in Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. In February 2008 Sooksan successfully had his solo debut concert with Siam Philharmonic Orchestra.


Sooksan Ratanapol has been teaching as a full-time clarinet instructor at Young Artist Music Program, College of Music, Mahidol University since 2013. Currently he is the principal clarinetist of Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sooksan Ratanapol, clarinet


Yada Lee, violin

Violinist Yada Lee has a distinguished international career as a passionate orchestral musician and a concert violinist. This season’s highlights include Thailand Cultural Center solo debut of Sibelius Violin Concerto, Asia tour and European residencies with Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra alongside Gábor Takács-Nagy, exciting chamber music collaborations and solo recitals across Asia.


In 2023 Yada enjoyed her roles as a curator and an artist in various projects ranging from solo and chamber music recitals to directing and leading a chamber orchestra. These concerts marked her return to stage in Thailand since the global pandemic.


Other orchestral highlights include summers at Verbier Festival and appearances as a guest violinist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra as their assistant leader, Symphoniker Hamburg, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company to name a few. She was one of the youngest members of Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra since 2008. Yada highly enjoys leadership roles and served as concertmaster and principal for New World Symphony.


Yada’s notable solo recitals and chamber music performances include Beethovenfest in Bonn; Tongyeong International Music Festival; Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival; “Solo Spotlight” recital at New World Symphony; collaboration with St. Lawrence String Quartet at Spoleto Festival USA; and various digital productions during the lockdown. She made her New York solo debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in 2014, performing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, and her Bangkok debut performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in 2010.


Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Yada completed her orchestra academy fellowship at the New World Symphony. She holds degrees from Mannes School of Music and Oberlin Conservatory and received an Artist Diploma from The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory. She studied with Paul Kantor, Laurie Smukler and David Bowlin.


Sarai started playing the cello when he was 13, under the teaching of Poramet Lertkasem, where he also became a member of the Chiangrai Youth Orchestra (CYO). After 2 years he applied to the College of Music, Mahidol University (Pre-College program) and studied with Marcin Szawelski, the principal cello of Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra. He has had the opportunities to study and attend masterclasses with numerous famous artists including Mark Kosower, Marc Coppey, Alexey Stadler, Christoph Poppen, Kenji Nakagi, Dennis Parker, Hee-Young Lim, Meredith Blecha-Wells. His musicality and dedication was praised at the 8th Beethoven Competition for string players in 2014 where he was awarded 2nd prize.


Sarai has performed extensively at countless important venues in Thailand, including the Goethe Institute, Prince Mahidol Hall, Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music, Thailand Cultural Center, among others. Outside of Bangkok, he has also performed in Chiang Rai (Chiangrai Youth Orchestra), Pattaya (Tiffany’s Hall), Aula Simfonia Jakarta in Indonesia and Seoul Arts Center in South Korea.


In 2017, he won the 2nd prize at the Princess Galyani Vadhana International Ensemble competition. In 2018, Sarai appeared at Kaminoyama Cello Festival in Yamagata, Japan where he studied with a well-known Japanese cellist Kenji Nakagi. In 2019 Sarai returned to masterclasses in Japan, Poland and Germany. In 2019, he performed as a soloist with Mahidol Symphony Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations. Sarai participated in the inaugural season of the Korean National Symphony Orchestra International Academy in Seoul in the summer of 2021.

Sarai successfully won the position and became a member of the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017. He recently performed with them on the 2022 European tour at Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Budapest in Hungary, Cankarjev dom ​​Ljubljana in Slovenia and National Forum of Music ​​Wrocław in Poland.

Sarai Arsa, cello



Walter Rabl, Quartet in E-flat Major Op. 1 (1896)

Allegro moderato

Adagio molto

Andantino un poco mosso

Allegro con brio

Olivier Messiaen, Quartet for the End of Time (1941)


Liturgie de cristal

Vocalise, pour l'Ange qui annonce la fin du temps

Abîme des oiseaux


Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus

Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes

Fouillis d'arcs-en-ciel, pour l'Ange qui annonce la fin du temps

Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus

Walter Rabl
Quartet in E-flat Major Op. 1

Walter Rabl (1873-1940) was born in Vienna, Austria. He studied music in his hometown as well as in Salzburg and Prague. His composition career was rather short compared to others. However in 1896 he won the first prize at a prestigious composition competition hosted by Wiener Tonkünstlerverein with this quartet for clarinet, violin, cello and piano. The honorary judge and president of the composition was Johannes Brahms himself. Brahms recommended this piece to his publisher Simrock, who then published it the following year.  


One can hear the Viennese style and influences of Brahms and Schubert in this quartet. It contains elements of the music of their time such as the most beautiful and lyrical theme in the first movement, the funeral march followed by a Mazurka in the second movement, a hint of Johann Strauss can be tasted in the charming third movement and the use of sonata forms in the first and last movements. For further reading on Walter Rabl, please visit:

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) is considered as one of the most important composers of the mid-twentieth century, as well as an accomplished pianist and organist. Educated at the Paris Conservatory, where he won first prizes in counterpoint and fugue (1926), piano accompaniment (1928), history of music (1929), and composition (1930), Messiaen began his career in Paris as the principal organist at La Trinité and the faculties at the École Normale de Musique and the Schola Cantorum. His career was interrupted by service in the French army during World War II. 


The Quartet for the End of Time, one of Messiaen’s early works, was composed during the year that Messiaen was incarcerated as a political prisoner by the Germans, May 1940-41, in Görlitz (southwestern Poland) in extreme conditions of hunger, labor, and bitter cold. The quartet was premiered in the Görlitz camp on January 15, 1941 by four prisoners, violinist Jean Le Boulaire, cellist Etienne Pasquier, clarinetist Henri Akoka, and Messiaen himself as pianist.


The Quartet for the End of Time was inspired from Chapter X of the Book of Revelations (known as The Apocalypse of Saint John):

"I saw a mighty angel descending from heaven, clad in mist, having around his head a rainbow. His face was like the sun, his feet like pillars of fire. He placed his right foot on the sea, his felt on the earth, and standing thus on the sea and the earth he lifted his hand toward heaven and swore by Him who lives for ever and ever, saying: “There shall be time no longer, but at the day of the trumpet of the seventh angel the mystery of God shall be consummated.”


Messiaen penned the preface to the quartet’s score:

“Its musical language is essentially transcendental, spiritual, catholic. Certain modes, realizing melodically and harmonically a kind of tonal ubiquity, draw the listener into a sense of the eternity of space or time. Particular rhythms existing outside the measure contribute importantly toward the banishment of temporalities (All this is mere striving and childish stammering if one compares it to the overwhelming grandeur of the subject!)”


Messiaen’s compositions extended the boundaries of time and space, and in particular color, the concept he always referred to as the most important in all music. Messiaen had synesthesia, the ability to perceive color in myriad ways in all forms of music. The quartet consists of eight movements including a peculiar mis of solos, duets, and even a trio, only four incorporate the entire ensemble of violin, clarinet, cello, and piano. Messiaen wrote the following explanations of each movement of the piece:


I. Crystal liturgy [for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano]

Between three and four in the morning, the awakening of birds: a solo blackbird or nightingale improvises, surrounded by a shimmer of sound, by a halo of trills lost very high in the trees. Transpose this onto a religious plane and you have the harmonious silence of Heaven.


II. Vocalise, for the Angel who announces the end of Time [for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano]

The first and third sections (very short) evoke the power of the mighty Angel, crowned with a rainbow and clothed by a cloud, who sets one foot upon the sea and one foot upon the earth. In the middle section – these are the impalpable harmonies of heaven. On the piano, gentle cascades of blue-orange chords, garlanding, with their distant carillon the quasi-plainsong chanting of the violin and cello.


III. Abyss of the birds 

Clarinet solo. The abyss is Time, with its sorrows and its weariness. The birds are the opposite of Time; they are our desire for light, for stars, for rainbows and joyful songs!


IV. Interlude [for violin, clarinet, and cello]

A scherzo of more superficial character than the other movements, but linked to them nonetheless by melodic reminiscences.


V. Praise for the Eternity of Jesus [for cello and piano]

Jesus is here considered as the Word. A long phrase for the cello, infinitely slow, magnifies with love and reverence the eternity of this powerful and gentle Word, “which the years can never efface.” Majestically, the melody unfolds in a kind of tender and supreme distance. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was in God, and the Word was God.” [John 1:1]


VI. Dance of fury, for the seven trumpets [for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano]

Rhythmically the most characteristic piece of the set. The four instruments in unison are made to sound like gongs and trumpets (the first six trumpets of the apocalypse followed by various catastrophes, the trumpet of the seventh angel announcing the consummation of the mystery of God). The use of added values, augmented or diminished rhythms, and non-retrogradable rhythms. Music of stone, fearful granite sonorities; the irresistible movement of steel, enormous blocks of purple fury, of icy intoxication. Listen above all to the terrible fortissimo of the theme in augmentation and the changes in register of its different notes, towards the end of the piece.


VII. Cluster of rainbows, for the angel who announces the end of Time [for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano]

Certain passages from the second movement return. The mighty Angel appears, and above all the rainbow which crowns him (the rainbow: a symbol of peace, wisdom, and of all sounding and luminous vibrations). In my dreams, I hear recognized chords and melodies, I see known colors and forms; then, after this transitory stage, I pass beyond reality and submit in ecstasy to a dizziness, a gyratory interlocking of superhuman sounds and colors. These swords of fire, these flows of blue-orange lava, these sudden stars; this is the tumult of rainbows.


VIII. Praise to the immortality of Jesus [for violin and piano]

A long violin solo, acting as a pendant to the cello solo of the fifth movement. Why this second eulogy? It is addressed more specifically to the second aspect of Jesus – the man Jesus – to the Word made flesh, resurrected immortally to grant us life. It is all love. Its slow ascent towards the extreme high register is the ascent of man towards his God, of the Child of God towards his Father, of the deified Being towards Paradise.

Olivier Messiaen
Quartet for the End of Time

Thank you

Eri Nakagawa, piano

Yada Lee, violin

Sooksan Ratanapol, clarinet

Sarai Arsa, cello

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