Audience’s Profile and Perception Towards Contemporary Classical Music:

An Exploratory Case Study of an Online International Composers’ Symposium in Malaysia


  • Dr. Poon Chiew Hwa University of Malaya
  • Dr. Wang I Ta University of Malaya



audience perception, audience profile, contemporary classical music, music consumption, music sociology, musical taste


Contemporary Classical Music (CCM) emerged from Classical Music (CM) in the early 20th century; however, it has received mixed reception from both audiences and institutions. Due to its low acceptance among the mainstream CM audience, CCM composers need to take their own initiative to boost the visibility and exposure of their creative output. In addition, more musicians in recent decades have gradually specialised in this genre and perceived it as a potential career path, in addition to the competitive CM performing market. However, there is limited research on the CCM audience, both globally and locally. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the audience profile and their perceptions towards specific styles of CCM based on social status, educational level, musical background, and interest. An exploratory case study was employed to investigate the audience profile of the first International Composers' Symposium 2021 (ICS2021), which was a collaboration between Universiti Malaya, the National Band Directors Association of Malaysia and funded by the Japan Foundation of Kuala Lumpur. An online survey was distributed to the participants at the end of the webinars. Following the analysis of the 73 surveys, it was found that respondents consisted mostly of students and young working professionals. Although many were encouraged to participate due to teacher-student relationships and other social connections, they generally held a positive and open-minded view towards CCM and viewed the event as an opportunity to experience CCM and learn new knowledge about it. The study also informed possible factors that attract the CCM audience.


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Author Biographies

Dr. Poon Chiew Hwa , University of Malaya

Poon Chiew Hwa is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Malaya and she holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the University of Arizona under the tutelage of Professor Tannis Gibson. She has also recently achieved the Applied Credential in Dalcroze Education at the Longy School of Music, Boston. Dr. Poon conducted music and movement sessions for dementia patients, senior citizens, children, and high school bands. Her research interest in music and movements was evident in her recent article publications both locally and internationally.

Dr. Wang I Ta, University of Malaya

Wang I Ta is a senior lecturer at the University of Malaya. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Music in Piano Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. He has an interest in mindfulness and has been applying the concept and practice of it in teaching and research. His recent interdisciplinary research projects encompass music, sociology, and mental well-being.


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How to Cite

Poon , C. H., & Wang, I. T. (2023). Audience’s Profile and Perception Towards Contemporary Classical Music: : An Exploratory Case Study of an Online International Composers’ Symposium in Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Music, 12(1), 1–16.