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Malaysian Traditional Orchestra (OTM)


The development of traditional music has led to the formation of Malaysian Traditional Orchestra (OTM). OTM bears the identity of the multiracial society of the country, both culturally and musically as its core, while maintaining the functionality and identity of indigenous music and heritage. The selection of genres and musical composition unifi es the different traditional music qualities into a formation rich in aesthetics and authentics.


The establishment of OTM is in line with the Ministry of Information Communication and Culture (KPKK) to unite all Malaysians of different races through the art of music. The establishment of OTM is an ongoing effort by KPKK through Istana Budaya, in restructuring the traditional musicians of various racial and ethnic backgrounds and also to raise the diversifi ed Malaysian traditional musical instruments to international and professional standard, on par with symphony orchestras in the west. This effort supports the 1Malaysia Concept which was conceived by Prime Minister of Malaysia, The Most Honourable Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, which is to foster racial harmony through various activities. OTM also collaborates with notable musicians from the Professional Cultural Center (PCC) and the Temple of Fine Arts (TOFA). This collaboration expresses the spirit of unity and fellowship among the different races.


OTM is seen as a catalyst for Malaysian music revolution of the 21st century. In its core are the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Orang Asli, Sabah and Sarawak indigenous and ethnic music. The combination of these different types of music serve as a platform for a new musical concept for the unifi ed Malaysians in the future.


OTM was officially launched by YB Dato’ Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim, Minister of Information Communication and Culture (KPKK) on February 6, 2010 at Istana Budaya’s Panggung Sari.


OTM’s Vision

•    To produce artistic identity on the unique Malaysian music.
•    To promote racial harmony among the multi cultural Malaysians through music.
•    To enhance unity among Malaysia’s multiracial society
•    To encourage communities to better appreciate the local traditional arts.
•    To improve KPKK’s image as a national cultural centre that is always aware of current trends.
•    To uphold the country’s artistic heritage, locally as well as internationally.



OTM has held several performances in and outside of the country of which, Titian Budaya Malaysia Singapore Programme at the Esplanade of Singapore (May 2008), the 50th Anniversary of the National Bank in conjunction with the Conference of Governors of the World Bank (January 2009), Chinese New Year Open House (7 February 2009), the ‘Simfoni Rakyat Malaysia’ Concert (2007) and ‘Konsert 100’ (2004). Six of the OTM musicians are also members of the ASEANKOREA Traditional Orchestra (AKTO) cooperative orchestra which performed in Korea for the fi rst time in May 2009. OTM’s conductor, Mohd Yazid Zakaria was also one of the composers and conductors involved in the AKTO.



OTM Musicians
Currently OTM comprises of 60 members but are expandable up to 86 musicians. OTM members are musicians who posseses the skills, expertise and experience in their fi eld of music. The selection of musicians are done through thorough and continuous auditions. The OTM’s traditional musical instruments can be classifi ed in several categories:-


Plugged Strings
• Yang Qin
• Mandolin
• Sape
• Zhong Ruan
• Sitar
• Pipa
• Gambus
Bowed String
• Rebab OTM
• Zhong Hu
• Erhu
• Cello
• Gaohu
• Double Bass
• Malay Percussion
• Kompang/Marwas
• Latin Percussion
• Tabla
• Bonang
• Gambang
• Saron Pekin
• Demung
• Saron Barong
• Greteh
• Gong Gamelan
• Seruling Bambu
• Dizi
• Bansuri
• Souna
• Serunai/Bansi/Saluang/Pupuik
Rhythm Section
• Keyboard
• Drum OTM
• Electric Bass
• Acoustic Guitar


The combination of these traditional instruments with their elasticity and fl exibility, can be added or expanded based on the needs of OTM. Other traditional musical instruments are still being tested for their suitability. Although currently still using some Western instruments, in the future, these musical instruments will be fully replaced by traditional Malaysian instruments.


Technical Specification 1

Technical Specification 2

Technical Specification 3


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