A Creative Karma? The Fall of Ayutthaya and Mozart’s Flute Music. A Talk by Stephen Martin



Stephen Martin’s chance finding of a cheap, dirty portrait in England in 2015 led to an astonishing story of a German surgeon’s survival in southeast Asia in the late 18th-Century. This was Dr Ferdinand Dejean, who grew up in Bonn with Beethoven’s father. He returned to Holland after 10 years away with the Dutch East India Company, met Mozart and commissioned the bulk of the great composer’s flute works. Dejean’s departure from Batavia was influenced by the fall of Ayutthaya. The story is unfolded in a richly-illustrated talk.  Prof Martin performs extracts from Mozart’s flute music. He explores the meaning of codes from religion and Freemasonry in Dejean’s painting. The research says a lot about the interplay of Europe and Southeast Asia in the 1750’s and sheds light on the thinking of a true polymath of the enlightenment. The mind-boggling argument is made that, but for the fall of Ayutthaya, the Mozart flute concerti would never have been written.

Professor Stephen Martin is a British doctor with life-long passions for art, music and Thai history.
As a schoolboy he corresponded with His Majesty the late King Bhumibol, and broadcast flute solos on the BBC. Amongst several professorships, he went on to become Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Chiang Mai University Medical School. After semi-retirement from academic medicine in the UK, in 2016, he obtained the LTCL licentiate performance diploma on the concert flute and did a sabbatical as Professor of Music in Mahasarakham. He recently co-founded the Baan Dong Bang Museum and Education Centre. In over 200 of his books, papers and international conference presentations are works on Thailand, medicine and the arts.

Date: Thursday, 14 February 2019
Time: 7.00 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

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The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2018-2019 Lecture Series.