Meet the Musicians

We arrived in Hanoi in September 2016 to begin the second season of the Hanoi New Music Ensemble. Jeff and I were hopeful that the enthusiasm and accomplishments of the inaugural season would keep the ensemble moving forward — all signs were good!

However, there are challenges forming any new group throughout the globe. Which players are a good match for the demands of new music? How will we prepare and rehearse within players’ busy teaching and orchestra schedules? Where will the concerts be held and how will we find an audience? Who will organize the rehearsals, percussion, and piano?

One step at a time

After the inaugural 2012 LA International New Music Festival in Los Angeles, composer-in-residence Vu Nhat Tan turned to Jeff and me, remarking that “Once is not enough!” He was wrapping up six weeks in Los Angeles, courtesy of the Asian Cultural Council in New York City, and we had spent much time dreaming of next steps for contemporary music in his hometown of Hanoi, Vietnam.

Southwest Chamber Music’s historic Ascending Dragon Music Festival in 2010, the largest cultural exchange between Vietnam and the U.S., had left us with many questions about the U.S. Department of State’s goal of identifying a new generation of cultural leaders. Had we accomplished this goal?

Inspiration and Language

Every morning we wake up to the newest perversion of our language – right is left, news is fake, pop is art – all now acceptable and beyond most people’s comprehension. How did it become so out of control?

As I begin my first blog, I find that the topics I wish to write about cannot be divorced from the current state of U.S. and world affairs. I have made my life in the arts, which has taken me on unexpected and wonderful paths. Many musicians travel, meet colleagues from other countries, represent their country artistically, and are unofficial ambassadors of their nation’s cultural life.