Tazul Izan Tajuddin


Biographical Details

Tazul Izan Tajuddin (Prof. D.Phil.), born in Banting, Malaysia was a British resident composer.  He grew up in Kuala Lumpur, later was in the USA from 1994-1996 and London, UK from 1997-2009. He was Visiting Fellow at King’s College London UK (2023) and Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program at Harvard University (2015-2016) invited by Chaya Czernowin. He studied music in Malaysia at the University of Technology MARA (UiTM) and received music scholarship award initiated by Malaysian Prime Minister 1992-3 to further study in composition. He studied Master's in Music Composition at Carnegie Mellon University (1994-1996) and Doctor of Philosophy in Composition from University of Sussex in the UK (1997-2001). He attended composition courses in Manuel de Falla Festival Granada, Spain, 1996 and Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Music or Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM) in Paris France, 2001.

His music such as the Arabesque¸ Tenunan, Mediasi Ukiran, Gamelbati, Pantun and Topography cycles have been inspired by Asian cultures, geometrical patterns and designs, and Western European art combined with multi-cultural contemporary ideals. Distinguished French composer, Henri Dutilleux described him as ‘a very finely gifted composer and an original temperament, which encompasses both rigour and new ways of thinking’. He has studied with renowned composers such as Leonardo Balada, Michael Finnissy, Martin Butler and Jonathan Harvey. He also has studied with Franco Donatoni (Manuel de Falla Festival),consulted with Brian Ferneyhough (IRCAM),met with Iannis Xenakis in Pittsburgh and New York in 1996 and Pierre Boulez at Fontainebleau, France in 2001. He was invited by Toshio Hosokawa to Takefu Festival Japan in 2003, invited to Cyprus by Evis Sammoutis to 3rd Pharos International Music Festival, invited to New Zealand by Jack Body in 2011 and 2013-4 invited to Frontier+ Festival at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, UK by Joe Cutler. He also was invited by Edward Nesbit for talks and masterclasses at King’s College London, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, National University of Singapore (2018),YST Telling Your Stories Symposium (2019),invited by Toivo Tulev and Peep Lassmann to Estonia Academy of Music and Theatre (2019, 2023),invited by Max Riefer to Luebeck University (2023).                                                                                                                                          

In 2019 Professor Tajuddin is awarded Top 10 Personality of the Year Award as ‘The Legendary Music Composer’ by Top 10 Magazine Asia. He has received Anugerah Akademik Negara the highest academic award in Malaysia in the field of Arts and Creativity by the Malaysian Ministry of Education and the highest academic award in the same field by University of Technology MARA (UiTM, 2017). His choral arrangement of Malay folk song Jong-jong Inai arrangement (written in 1993) was performed by National Choir of Malaysia and won first prize for mixed choir at 4th Bali International Choir Competition 2015.In 2010, Sebuah Pantun III has received repertoire honorary mentioned in the Carl von Ossietzky International Composition Competition in Germany. He was nominated for MERDEKA Award 2012, one of the most prestigious awards in Malaysia.

Tajuddin has been the first Malaysian composer to win 1st prize in the prestigious Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2002, 1st prize in the 8th Tokyo International Competition for Chamber Music Composition 2003 (Tenunan II, Joji Yuasa as jury),1st prize in the 2nd Molinari Quartet Composition Competition 2004 (Mediasi Ukiran – Tenunan VIII, Canada),1st prize in the 21st Japan Society of Contemporary Music Award for Composers 2004 (Sebuah Tenunan IV),1st prize in the Lutoslawski Composition Award 2005 (Gamelbati III, Poland) and won the New Millennium Composition Commission Award (Gamelbati, UK) 2005. He has been thefirst Malaysian composer to be shortlisted composer with the Society for Promotion of New Music three times in 2001, 2004 and 2007. His work Tenunan was selected by the Asian Composer’s League-Asian Music Festival, Tokyo in 2003. In 2006, International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM) Britain selected his work Tenunan II for the ISCM World Music Days 2007 Hong Kong, representing both UK and Malaysia. His works have been selected as finalist in the 4th Seoul International Competition for Composers, South Korea (Gamelbati VI) (2007),EARPLAY Donald Aird International Composition Competition 2006, San Francisco, USA (Mediasi Ukiran – Tenunan VIII),Derek Shiel Composition Competition 2000, London, UK (Mantera…),Edvard Grieg International Composition Competition 1999, Oslo, Norway (Jeritan),Carnegie Mellon Student Composition Competition Award 1996, Pittsburgh, USA (Self-Portrait).

Performances include Self-Portrait (1996, Carnegie Philharmonic Orchestra, Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh),Ritual (1997, National Choir of Malaysia (NCM),Experimental Theatre, Kuala Lumpur),Tenunan II (2002, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Opera City Centre, NHK Radio Japan, 2003, Carnegie Philhamonic Orchestra, Carnegie Music Hall, USA, 2007, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, HK City Hall) Pulsating Colours (2003, first Malay composer commissioned and performed by Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Petronas Twin Towers, KL),Meditasi Ritualistik…(2003, National Choir of Malaysia, National Symphony Orchestra of Malaysia, National Arts Theatre, Kuala Lumpur) Kehalusan Ukiran (2004, London Sinfonietta, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, BBC Radio 3),Mediasi Ukiran II (2004, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Pascal Rophe, Maida Vale Studio),Mediasi Ukiran (2005, Molinari Quartet, Salle Redpath, Montreal, 2006, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ Amsterdam),Gamelbati (2006, Sir Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire),Gamelbati VI (2007, Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Seoul, South Korea),In Liquid Praise of Sound Refraining (2007, BBC Singers, Spitalfields Festival, London),Warna Yang Bernada for piano and ensemble was commissioned to celebrate the 50th Malaysian Anniversary Concert (2007, London Sinfonietta, Pierre Andre Valade, Cadogan Hall),Gamelbati VI (2008, Lackmuseum, Munster, Germany),Gamelbati III for string quartet (2009, XIII Lutoslawski Forum, Warsaw, Poland),Mimpi Dalam Lagu (2010, Kuala Lumpur, National Choir of Malaysia),Sebuah Pantun IV (2011, Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, 3rd Pharos International Music Festival, Nicosia, Cyprus),Sebuah Pantun V (2012, Bridges Collective Ensemble, University of Melbourne, Australia),Sebuah Pantun II (2013 Frontier+ Festival, Birmingham Conservatoire, UK),Sebuah Pantun VI for solo flute (2013, SoundBridge Festival, Kuala Lumpur),Sebuah Pantun VII for oboe and piano (2014, Christopher Redgate, Frontiers+ Festival, UK),Topography for ensemble and Chinese instruments (Soundbridge Festival 2015),Mediasi Corakan Warna for solo piano and Gamel-Rawak for solo gamelan (6th Composers Series, Malaysia),Opera Puteri Saadong (2012-2016, ADOK, Japan and CHROMA, UK). Cairan Topography for 6 percussionists (Soundbridge Festival 2017, DPAC and 8th Composers Concert Series, klpac),Meditasi Lagu Dalam Mimpi for solo piano (2018, Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS),In Memoriam for orchestra, solo gendang and rebab (2019, Kasilag Festival Orchestra, CCP Little Theatre, Manila Philippines),Gamel-Rawak Max Riefer (2020, Percussion Recital, R. Orkestra GD. Lama LT 2 FPSD UPI, Bandung Indonesia),Opera Serikandi Nusantara the Preview (2021, KLWND Festival 2021),Topograpfi III (Neue Musik Mini Festival, MusikSchole, Luebeck, broadcast DFL German Radio, 2022),Sebuah Pantun IV at ACL Festival 2022 in Christchurch, New Zealand, Gamel-Rawak at Institute of Ethnomusicology, The University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria (2023), Meditasi Lagu Dalam Mimpi King’s College London (2023),Secluded Voices Concert Kabus Pantun at King's College, London (2024).

Other performers include Malaysian National Symphony, Thallein Ensemble (Edwin Roxburgh),Hertford Symphony Orchestra (Gerry Cornelius),Art Respirant (Japan),Ken Takaseki (Japan),Juan Pablo Izquierdo (US-Chile),Yoichi Sugiyama (Japan-Italy),Alter Ego Ensemble (Italy),Polish String Quartet (Poland),Ananda Sukarlan (Indonesia-Spain),Bobby Chen (UK-Malaysia),David Alberman (ex-Arditti Quartet, UK),Ananda Sukarlan (Spain-Indonesia),Adam Sherkin (Canada),Nicholas Ong (Malaysia),Mei Yi Foo (UK-Malaysia)., Daiske Kino-Shita (Japan),Ildiko Allen (UK),Asian Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) Ensemble (Malaysia),CHROMA Ensemble (UK),UiTM Percussion Ensemble (Malaysia),Peep Lassmann (Estonia),Kasilag Orchestra (Philippines),Virama Ensemble (Malaysia),New Zealand Trio (New Zealand),Melody Quah (USA),Max Riefer (Germany),Luebeck Contemporary Music Ensemble (Germany),Joseph Hazlat (UK/Australia).

He has received support from CENDANA, Joe Sidek Production, Fulbright Malaysia-USA, JKKN, Malaysian Arts and Culture Department, Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, Society for Promotion of New Music (spnm now Sound and Music UK),Pharos Foundation, Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, Performing Rights Society UK, Britten-Pears Foundation, Overseas Malaysian Executive Committee (London),Felton Trust Cambridge University, Asian Contemporary Music Society (ADOK),the Society of Lutoslawski and Kanazawa Citizen’s City Centre Japan.

In 2010 as artistic director, he initiated, conducted and curated the 1st Malaysian Composers Concert Series, to promote students and young composers and performers to perform new works collaboration between UiTM and KL Performing Arts Centre (klpac) (More than 500 shorts works have been premiered in this series). The event has been attended by Malaysian prominent figures in education such as the late Tan Sri Arshad Ayob and Minister of Education wrote in his foreword: ‘Creativity is the essence of success in today’s challenging world. Every culture is imbued with its own distinct musical and artistic expression that is passed from one generation to another, thus creating layers of heritage to be cherished by all.  Composition is often regarded as the pinnacle of such expressions and its performance gives birth to valued creative acts.  The 4th Malaysian Composer Concert Series 2013 is one such endeavour which the Ministry of Education applauds.  It epitomizes deep thinking, honed music literacy, collaborative actions and stylistic performance engagement at a heighten level of artistic discourse by a new generation of intellectuals.’ 

His first opera production Opera Puteri Saadong was premiered at Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) in Jan and Penang Performing Arts Centre (Penangpac) in Feb 2015 was successful and very well received (Innovative cultural ornament, Malay Mail, 30 Jan 2015, ‘visionaries’, Borneo Post, 30 Jan 2015, ‘benar-benar menggamit perasaan’, ‘berjaya mencuit tangkai hati penonton’ Kosmo, 11 Feb 2015, ‘..terpegun..’,’cipta sejarah’.. Kosmo, 29 Jan 2015). His second opera Opera Serikandi Nusantara was premiered in 2022 at Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac).

Tajuddin started conducting in 1991 as assistant conductor of the National Choir, Malaysia and later in 1997 and 2003 he was invited as guest composer/conductor. He has conducted his own works with Carnegie Contemporary Ensemble (USA),National Choir of Malaysia, National Symphony Orchestra of Malaysia and from 2001 to 2009 Sculpted Sound Ensemble with artistic director Derek Shiel in London, UK. Since 2009, he has been conducting the UiTM Symphony Orchestra, Choir and Contemporary Music Ensemble as well as performed with UiTM Guitar Quartet with Nathan Fischer. He also has conducted new works by composers from Uzbekistan, England, Italy and Germany. He conducted his own opera in Malaysia, Japan and the UK in 2015-2016 and since 2010 at the Malaysian Composers Concert Series every year.

As a researcher, he has received Fundamental Research Grants (FRGS),Exploratory Research Grants (ERGS) research grants from Malaysian Higher Education on Malaysian traditional music such as Keroncong and Mak Yong and Geran Lestari by UiTM Selangor as co-researcher for compiling trios and string quartets works by Malaysian composers.  He is also recipient to Lestari grant 2017-2019 for research project called Tracing Art Music in Malaysia: Focusing on Selected Composers. He received major funding Creative Industry grant from Ministry of Culture to work on his opera project (2012-2015). All research grants and work commissioned totalling to more than RM2.5 million. He has received CENDANA Prisma Grant and Industry Grant for KLWND Opera Preview Project 2021-22.

From 2017 until 2021 Prof Tajuddin is former Dean Faculty of Music UiTM, was the head of Composition Program (2011-2014) and Professor in Composition at Faculty of Music, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM). He was President (2019-2023, 2019-2021, 2012-2014) and former Vice-President (2014-2018, 2010-2011) for the Society of Malaysian Contemporary Composers (SMCC) and former Vice-President to Fulbright Alumni Association Malaysia 2020-2023.

He has written more than 60 works. His works have been performed and presented in 25 countries and broadcasted in Asia, Europe, Australasia and North America. His works are published online by Dynamic Publication (Malaysia),Alexander Street Press (US/UK),Babelscore (France) and recorded by ATMA Classique (Canada),FMR Records (UK),Ibersonic (Spain) and coming soon on Kreuzberg Records (Germany).



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Click here for video/sound extract of 'Selindung Warna' for solo violin posted by spnm: