A Requiem for Cambodia: Bangsokol

World Premiere

Fri 13—Sat 14 Oct

Arts Centre Melbourne


From a time of colossal horror springs a work of immense compassion.

It has been almost four decades since the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge. Bangsokol is the first major symphonic work to address this legacy of pain and will premiere at Melbourne Festival before performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Philharmonie de Paris.

The 1970s saw an entire generation of Cambodian artists torn from the world, but in the years since a growing community has formed to bring new expression to a culture still devastated by unimaginable events. The tradition of the requiem is proof that some of the greatest and most uplifting works of art have been born of the darkest events, and Bangsokol joins their number as an extraordinary new work spanning song, film, dance and speech.

Acclaimed filmmaker Rithy Panh and renowned composer Him Sophy are both survivors of the years of massacre, and have gathered an international host of collaborators to produce a work that fuses the traditional bangsokol—a Buddhist rite bringing peace to the dead—with the Western requiem. The result is an unprecedented work that transforms tragedy into hope and carves out a new space in which to heal.

It is a ritual tribute to the more than two million Cambodians murdered, created by an unprecedented team of international collaborators including childhood survivors of the regime.

Learn more about the show before you go. Browse the house program →



The Missing Picture by Rithy Panh
Sun 08 October, 4.45PM


Tue 10 October, 6PM
Sidney Myer Asia Centre (Building 158), 761 Swanston St, The University of Melbourne, Parkville 

Panel Discussion hosted by the University of Melbourne.

Panelists— Director Rithy Panh, Phloeun Prim (Executive Director, Cambodian Living Arts) and Professor Margaret Kartomi (musicologist of southeast Asia, Monash University) in conversation with Rachel Hughes (Research Fellow, The University of Melbourne)

more info 


Sat 14 October, 6.30PM
Hamer Hall, Stalls Foyer—pre-show

Join director Rithy Panh and Composer Him Sophy in conversation with AsiaTOPA Creative Director Stephen Armstrong as they discuss A Requiem for Cambodia: Bangsokol.

Artists in Conversation

Sat 14 October 12.30PM

Rithy Panh will discuss cross-genre collaboration at a free artist talk. More info and registration →

Rithy Panh—ACADEMY AWARD® Nominee
Him Sophy
Trent Walker
Stage Director
Gideon Obarzanek
Music Direction & Conducting
Andrew Cyr
Costume Design
Romyda Keth
Lighting Design
Benjamin 'Bosco' Shaw
Co-commissioned by
Cambodian Living Arts
The Office performing arts + film
Original Idea
Charley Todd
Vocal soloists
Chhorn Sam Ath & Him Savy
Cambodian Ensemble
Keo Dorivan, Keo Sonankavei, Keo Sophy, Pov Reaksmeymony, Say Tola and Sngoun Kavei Serey Roth
Taipei Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Performer & Assistant to the Director of Staging
Chumvan 'Belle' Sodhachivy
  • Presented with
  • Presenting Partner
  • Media Partner
  • With support from
  • Australia ASEAN-Council

Additional commissioning support provided by The Rainbow Initiative, Ministry of Culture Taiwan (R.O.C.), Taipei Philharmonic Foundation, Ford Foundation & Institute of International Education, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Australian Embassy in Cambodia, Arts Centre Melbourne, and BAM 2017 Next Wave Festival.

Cambodian Living Arts would like to thank Metropolis Ensemble and Andrew CYR for their ongoing support and commitment to the development of the work.

PHOTO | Tey Tat Keng