GTF Summer School: Arts Masterclasses


The George Town Festival Summer School welcomes members of the public of all ages and levels of artistic experience to Hikayat’s series of arts masterclasses – created and taught by guest artists who are leaders in their fields. This year’s Summer School covers music – the influence of jazz on Malayan music, an introduction to jazz drumming, and singer-songwriting – as well as the secrets of the voiceover artist and writing about photography. Discover your creative passion, learn a new skill or develop your knowledge – guided by our expert tutors and in the company of your peers.

Tin Pan Alley, Shanghai Jazz and Malayan Music

Tay Cher Siang

11 July 2022 (Monday) | 11.00am - 1.00pm

Masterclass | Keyboards

Stories about Tin Pan Alley that gave birth to the golden age of the Great American Songbook in turn influenced the popular music of China and Malaya from the 1920s to 1960s. These global connections were stimulated by new recording technologies, global travel and world wars. Working from the keyboard, this masterclass presents examples and analyses of songs, to follow the genetic code of pop music of that era, which formed the core of the jazz standards that are widely performed today.


Tay Cher Siang is one of Southeast Asia’s finest jazz pianists, composers, arrangers and producers. With an early training in classical music, he took up jazz in his teens and began a musical odyssey as a jazz pianist. He studied with the renowned teachers James Miltenberger and Paul Scea in the United States, before returning to Malaysia to immerse himself in jazz education at a number of universities, while also teaching at his private studio and giving masterclasses and jazz clinics. As a pianist and composer, Cher Siang has toured extensively, performing in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America with both the multinational band Unit Asia, and with his own band WVC Jazz.

An Introduction to Jazz Drumming

Adriel Wong

11 July 2022 (Monday) | 2.00pm - 4.00pm

Masterclass | Drumming

In the masterclass, Adriel Wong talks about his approach to jazz drums which encompasses common topics related to drumming such as the ride cymbal beat, bass drum feathering, snare and bass drum comping, basic brush patterns and some common grooves for jazz music. He will also go over the practicality of listening to jazz records and transcriptions in order to enhance your overall approach to musicianship.


Adriel Wong graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Music from Universiti Sains Malaysia. Being an alumnus of the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, he has received exposure to both classical and contemporary orchestral music. He actively pursues a full-time music career by engaging in projects with musicians locally and internationally, mostly as a jazz drummer. He is currently the drummer for WVC Jazz, and has been a sideman for notable musicians including Tay Cher Siang, Michael Veerapan, Julian Chan, Gabrielle Stravelli, Patrick O’Leary, Chi-Pin Hsieh, Kai-Ya Chang and Yuki Arimasa.

The Image and the Word

Gareth Richards

13 July 2022 (Wednesday) | 7.00pm - 9.00pm

Masterclass | Photography writing

Are you interested in writing about photography? Are you a writer, educator, curator, journalist, critic or researcher who wants to write about different issues through photography? Are you a photographer or artist who wants to write about your personal work? This masterclass is designed for those who are interested in writing about photography and learning about the ideas and concepts surrounding photography. This masterclass aims to: equip you with the basics of writing – reading critically, raising questions, conducting interviews, verifying sources.


Gareth Richards is a writer, editor and bookseller. He is the founding director of Impress Creative and Editorial, the owner of Gerakbudaya Bookshop Penang, and co-founded the arts space Hikayat. He previously taught at Manchester University, the University of the Philippines and Universiti Malaya. He is the co-author/editor of Asia–Europe Interregionalism (1999) and Discourses, Agency and Identity in Malaysia (2021), the writer of the texts for two books of photography: Portraits of Penang: Little India (2011) and Panicrama (2016), as well as articles on film, dance, theatre, literature, translation and music.

The Acoustic Rebel: The Singer and the Song

Hameer Zawawi

14 July 2022 (Thursday) | 7.00pm - 9.00pm

Masterclass | Singer-songwriting

Hameer Zawawi shares his approach to making music that resonates and helps you find the power of your unique voice. In particular, this masterclass offers insights into how to write and perform acoustic songs that don’t conform to the mainstream, songs that have something fresh to say. So how do you take the scrap of an idea or the hint of a tune and bring those elements together – to write lyrics, craft melodies and explore sonics? Hameer believes the best songs are born out of love and empathy, a sense of belonging and a connection to the world around you. The session offers a hands-on vision of how every singer-songwriter can be the acoustic rebel.


Hameer Zawawi is a singer-songwriter based in Petaling Jaya who has made a name for himself as a performer and recording artist in Malaysia, Europe and the United States. Born into a family of composers, he has been playing music since his teens and has appeared as a soloist or as a member of bands at diverse venues from small indie clubs to large international music festivals. His notable collaborators have included the alternative nu-rock band Ask Me Again and the US band Secondhand Serenade. He has released a critically acclaimed album, National Fantasy (2016), and EP, Plug Out the Machines (2017), and a number of music videos. He was a winner of the Best Group Performance – Vocal award at the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards (2018).

Viva Voce: Exploring the Voiceover

Marina Tan

15 July 2022 (Friday) | 7.00pm - 9.00pm

Masterclass | Voice artist

What can you do with your living voice? From cartoons and commercials to audiobooks and dubbing and more, there is a world of experience and income to enjoy, if you can wield your voice in a masterful way. This masterclass looks at some different genres, while working with where you are at. (Re)unite with your strengths, and hone them. Bring along a piece of text you like – from a book, dialogue, commercial and so on, in any language you speak or read. And don’t forget a willingness to take risks and be supportive of each other. Break down texts, embrace the info and send it out better!


Marina Tan is a multilingual actor, director, writer and workshop facilitator. A member of the Voice Guild Malaysia, she has numerous voiceover, theatre, on-screen and motion-capture acting credits. Highlights from her voiceover/dubbing portfolio include the International Emmy-nominated Saladin the Animated Series, the landmark anime Sergeant Keroro (Keroro 軍曹), the global hit My Little Pony, and animated shows on Netflix. She has also worked on scripts and lyrics for various international animated series.

*For cancellation, please reach us at +6012 664 6251 or [email protected].


11 - 15 July 2022


10.00am - 10.00pm




*Pre-registration is required
*Refreshments will be served

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