Appreciation of Vietnamese Culture through Traditional Music:
- Music is a lens through which we can visit another time or place. Music can tell us about the people and society of a particular time. Traditional music especially spans many generations and reflects the traditions and customs from many different regions.
- Vanessa Vân-Ánh Võ, Vietnamese national champion, Emmy Award winner, Oscar nominee, composer, vocalist, and educator, will use traditional music to showcase Vietnam’s 4000-year-old cultural heritage. The sounds of the traditional instruments and folk songs will offer insights into the different traditions and customs of Vietnam’s three main regions-North, Central, and South.
- Under her guidance, the audience will join Vanessa Vân-Ánh in playing some traditional instruments to create their own music. This hands-on experience will help the audience appreciate and understand more about the Vietnamese cultural history and traditions.
Harp Composition and Improvisation Techniques from around the World:
- As one of the oldest instruments still existing, harps are represented all over the world in many forms, such as the dan Tranh of Vietnam. Each culture approaches harp composition and improvisation in its own unique way. Many of these techniques are especially powerful as they spring from the harp itself rather than being influenced by other instruments such as the keyboard.
- Celtic harpist Diana Rowan’s PhD dissertation documents these fascinating harp techniques, and Diana is excited to share these concepts during this hands-on presentation to explore:
- The melodic embellishment of Middle Eastern music (where the oldest harps have been found)
- The kinesthetic orientation of African kora (bridge harp) playing
- The upward hand stance of Latin American harp music which facilitates distinct textures
- And more as time permits
- This is a very practical lecture-demonstration-workshop, focusing on how to incorporate these techniques into your own harp arranging and composition.
- Non-harpists and even non-musicians will also find this workshop interesting from historical and aesthetic viewpoints. Feel free to bring your instrument!
VANESSA VÂN-ÁNH VÕ is one of the finest performers of Vietnamese instruments in the world and a rapidly emerging composer. In 1995, Vanessa Vân-Ánh won the championship title in the Vietnamese National Đàn Tranh Competition. Since settling in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2001, Vanessa Vân-Ánh has focused on collaborating with musicians across different music genres to create new works, bringing Vietnamese traditional music to a wider audience, and preserving her cultural legacy through teaching. In 2002, Vanessa Vân-Ánh released her first CD, Twelve Months, Four Seasons. In 2009, she released She’s Not She with award-winning composer Bao Do. In 2013, she released her third CD Three-Mountain Pass with the Kronos Quartet as her guest artist. This work has brought positive reviews and high praises by the NPR, BBC “The World,” L.A. Times and others. Vanessa Vân-Ánh has also been collaborator and guest soloist with such artists as SOMEI Taiko Ensemble, Southwest Chamber Music, Nguyên Lê, Paul McCandless, Ali Ryerson, and Charles Loos. Additionally, she has been co-composer and arranger for the Oscar® nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner for Best Documentary, Daughter from Danang (2002), the Emmy®Award-winning film and soundtrack for Bolinao 52 (2008), and the winner of multiple “Best Documentary” and “Audience Favorite” awards, A Village Called Versailles (2009). She has presented her music at Carnegie Hall, Zellerback Hall, Kennedy Center, NPR, Houston Grand Opera, the Yerba Buena Performing Arts Center, and as a guest artist for the Kronos Quartet at the Olympic Games 2012 Music Festival. In addition to đàn Tranh, Vanessa Vân-Ánh also performs as soloist on the monochord (đàn Bầu), the 36-string hammered dulcimer (đàn Tam thập lục), the bamboo xylophone (đàn T’rung), the open-ended bamboo tubes (đàn K’lông pút), traditional drums (trống), and Chinese zither (guzheng). She lives and teaches Vietnamese traditional instruments in Fremont, California, and consistently lends her abilities to several non-profit organizations. www.vananhvo.com
Harpist DIANA ROWAN is currently performing worldwide and recording both as a solo artist and collaborator. Her playing and compositions have “unusual power and beauty.” Her upcoming album “As Above, So Below” reflects recent travels in Southeast Asia plus PhD research into the unusual harps of Ethiopia and Persia – some of the oldest harps. Combining both virtuosic technique from classical training and soulfulness from immersion in folk traditions, Diana explores the borders of the harp’s voice. Born in Ireland, Diana lived, performed and studied on the East Coast, in Europe and the Middle East before choosing Berkeley, California, where she received her Master of Music (MM) degree. Each country left a strong impression on Diana’s music, which interweaves Celtic, Eastern European, Near Eastern and classical arts and mythology. Besides performing everywhere from the Australian Harp Festival to Washington DC’s Smithsonian to Eastern European cathedrals, Diana teaches to advanced level and can be heard on many CDs and soundtracks for film and TV, including her three solo albums Panta Rhei, The Bright Knowledge, and upcoming As Above, So Below. She splits her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and Eastern Europe, pursuing a PhD in harp composition at the National Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria. Diana believes strongly in the healing power of music and plays often in hospitals and healing centers via her company Sage Harpists. www.dianarowan.com