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By Stephanie Chase for "Stay Thirsty Magazine" 
October, 2018

This past summer, it was my privilege to be invited to perform at the Vietnam Connection Music Festival, and I spent two weeks in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi rehearsing and playing concerts with an assortment of musicians from Vietnam, the United States and other countries including France, Switzerland and China. This invitation came fortuitously through a concert last March, in which I performed as soloist with the symphony orchestra of San Angelo, TX. The orchestra’s concertmaster, Dr. Chuong Vu, is an accomplished violinist originally from Vietnam, and he kindly extended the invitation following my Texas performance.


At first, I was a bit hesitant to accept the offer because my summer schedule was already full of concert commitments and the festival would end a matter of days before I had to resume teaching at NYU. I knew the travel would be demanding and I had little idea what the situation might be like for an American visitor some forty years after one of the most dreadful wars imaginable between our countries had ended. But Vu was gently persuasive and I had a strong interest in visiting Vietnam, so I accepted.


The first concert, which featured me as soloist in music by Bach and Vivaldi with a small string orchestra that I also led, was entitled “Stephanie Chase and Friends.” This originally struck me as quite optimistic as I knew only Vu, slightly, through a couple of rehearsals and the concert in Texas. By the time I left the festival, however, I felt that I had gained many friends.


The Vietnam Connection Festival was founded by Chuong Vũ and another well-established Vietnamese violinist, Bùi Công Duy, and it turned out to be a life-enhancing experience. Although I recognize that to spend two weeks in a country is, at best, a superficial exposure to a culture and its people, I found without exception a level of civility that was inspiring – especially in contrast to what we Americans are now experiencing in our own country – and the musicians of the festival were not only excellent players but also supportive and gracious colleagues. Our first concert was held in the Opera House of Ho Chi Minh City, which is a lovely albeit slightly decayed artefact of the French occupation (1887-1954). As I looked from the stage into the audience, I felt extremely moved to be there.


Chuong Vu was a co-soloist in Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four violins and my co-soloist in Bach’s Double Concerto for two violins was Bùi Công Duy. In demand as a soloist, chamber musician and professor at the Conservatory in Hanoi, he is, by all accounts, the premier violinist in Vietnam, but played the second violin part which was another generous gesture.


In addition to this concert, I performed Bottesini’s crazily virtuosic duo for violin and double bass with the American bassist Jeff Bradetich, who is on the faculty of the music school at the University of North Texas in Denton. We performed it twice – once in Ho Chi Minh City and then Hanoi – and were conducted by Maestro Honna Tetsuji, who is originally from Japan and has conducted the Vietnam Symphony since 2001. He, too, is an enthusiastic musician and kind individual. The program featured a variety of soloists and included music by Elgar and Bach. In between my own events, I attended terrific concerts by two guest string quartets – the Ulysses from the United States and the Quatuor Arod from France – and there were additional concerts featuring festival musicians. I also gave a master class to several talented students of the Vietnam National Academy of Music in Hanoi and participated in television interviews.


When the opportunity arose, I ate amazing local food, including several meals at the “Lunch Lady” street stall in Ho Chi Minh City. Her star rose in recent years thanks to the late Anthony Bourdain whose fascination with, and appreciation for, Vietnam and its people was an additional source of inspiration. The most unusual things that I ate there were probably fish maw – at least that’s what I think it was – pork intestine, blood sausage and a strongly fermented anchovy-derived condiment that is purple in appearance (that the locals seemed to avoid). I also took several extensive walks through the neighborhoods of Ho Chi Minh City and, especially, Hanoi, where – in addition to many fascinating sights and museums – I encountered children who were eager to practice speaking English with me. At the end of my stay, I visited Halong Bay, which is a World Heritage site and a strong tourist attraction for the bay and its limestone islands, where I went kayaking and found an amazing local cave. Understandably, Vietnam is encouraging tourism and commercial investment and I am hopeful that a balance can be struck so that places like Halong Bay do not become overly developed.


It was poignant to be in Hanoi the day that Senator John McCain died. My hotel was adjacent to the “Hanoi Hotel” (Hỏa Lò Prison) where he was held captive for more than five years, including two years in solitary confinement. Not far away was the Trúc Bạch Lake, where he was captured after being shot down. If it were not for the Vietnamese who rescued him from the lake – he was apparently unconscious from the ejection and being dragged underwater by his parachute – he likely would have died, although he was tortured while a prisoner and his physical health was permanently affected. It is notable that Senator McCain was among the Americans who sought a normalization of relations between our countries, which was officially recognized by the United States in 1995.


A final personal note: I think that all visitors to Ho Chi Minh City should spend some time in the War Remnants Museum. I went with a sense of dread, knowing that many of the exhibits would be immensely disturbing, but came away with a more profound awareness of the war and its toll on all sides, including the lingering and awful effects of Agent Orange, the dioxin used by American forces to defoliate the dense vegetation that is found in much of Vietnam, and the dehumanizing effects that war has on both soldiers and citizens. It was somewhat jolting to see a concert poster, with my face on it, amongst the horrors of the Museum, but perhaps this is indicative of Vietnamese philosophy; the past informs, but the present and future warrant optimism.


I am grateful to Chuong Vu and Bùi Công Duy for having brought me to Vietnam and for participating in this Conversation.



STEPHANIE CHASE: How did western classical music first come to Vietnam?

BÙI CÔNG DUY: Classical music and Western instruments first came to Vietnam during the 17th-century through the Catholic missionaries who brought with them the first violins and other instruments. Thanks to the missionaries’ effort, followed by French colonization, the Vietnamese people began to listen to as well as to study classical music. Since then, classical music has become more and more popular and been developed professionally in Vietnam.



STEPHANIE CHASE: I also noted the French influence that remains in some of the old architecture, as in the Opera House in Ho Chi Minh City and the French section of Hanoi. It has also left its mark on your cuisine, such as delicious bánh mì sandwiches and pastries.


What led you to study the violin, as opposed to another instrument?

CHUONG VU: When I was 6 years old, my father gave me a small violin and told me: “Son, here is a gift for you! I hope you will love it,” and the violin has become a part of my life since then.

BÙI CÔNG DUY: The violin is the first musical instrument that I have heard in my life. My parents introduced it to me and I have come to love it because of its expressive, heart-wrenching, unforgettable and gorgeous sound.


STEPHANIE CHASE: That’s a beautiful sentiment, and so telling that you describe the tonal quality – often it seems that virtuosi are looking to play impressively fast rather than with an emotional sound. 

Who were your first teachers?


BÙI CÔNG DUY: My father.

CHUONG VU: My father taught me for a very short time. Professor Bùi Công Thanh (Duy’s father) is my first principal teacher.



STEPHANIE CHASE: I began with my mother, who was a better violinist than my father! Did you also go abroad to study? What was it like for you?

CHUONG VU: I obtained my Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s degrees from the United States. The decision to come here to study to this day remains one of the best decisions I have ever made. I really appreciated all the education and the opportunity that I have been given by this country.

BÙI CÔNG DUY: Yes, I went to school in Russia for a period of 15 years, starting when I was 11 years old. It was a turning point for my life. During my time there, I grew musically and gained many successes, creating the basis for my career’s development to this day.


STEPHANIE CHASE: The Russian School has long been recognized as one of the great sources for outstanding violinists, perhaps most profoundly through the students of (Hungarian-born) Leopold Auer, and continuing throughout the 20thcentury with violinists like Leonid Kogan. But it also noted for being extremely rigorous, which is exactly what we need to develop a first-rate technique.

What have been your greatest inspirations – musical or otherwise?


BÙI CÔNG DUY: It is different depending on the time of my life. During my early years, I got my inspirations by the virtuosic, powerful, energetic and inspiring characters of Michael Jackson’s immortal music. Later, my inspirations came from listening to the piano and violin concertos or famous symphonies by Brahms, Rachmaninov, Bach, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius, among others. Sometimes the inspirations come from just by watching a soccer match or by reading interviews and articles by my favorite people.


CHUONG VU: I am inspired by so many things. When I was young, Dang Thai Son – the first Vietnamese pianist to win a gold medal at the prestigious Chopin International Piano Competition – was my greatest inspiration. As I grew older, I got my inspirations from reading about the great artists of the past and their lives and trying to find a connection with them. I am often inspired by a need to express myself in a way that I am not able to with words. It is when music comes to the rescue.



STEPHANIE CHASE: My early inspirations included the music of Motown – artists like Aretha Franklin, the Four Tops and the Temptations – alongside hearing some wonderful violinists, both live and in recording. Lately I am examining the connections between music and nature and find that it’s a subject without limitation – more a process without an expectation of finding all the answers.

What led you to create the Vietnam Connection Festival and what is your mission?


CHUONG VU: As a Vietnamese-born musician who has achieved certain success in the United States, I felt the needs of reconnecting with my roots and contributing to the country where I was first educated in classical music. The Vietnam Connection Music Festival (VNCMF), therefore, was given its birth in 2015. The festival brings distinguished international artists, as well as accomplished Vietnamese musicians living abroad, to Vietnam to collaborate with Vietnamese artists, to perform and teach classical music. Through meaningful cultural exchange activities, VNCMF aims to bring classical music closer the public.


BÙI CÔNG DUY: It is because of my great love for music and the love for my country. I am proud of Vietnam and want to introduce to international friends the country as well as the culture and the people of Vietnam. Our mission is to bring classical music to all audiences, irrespective of age or occupation. An important goal we aim for is to give our musicians the opportunities to work with and to learn from colleagues within Vietnam and abroad and from that they can get the motivation to improve themselves. The Festival has helped me to grow in many aspects.



STEPHANIE CHASE: This is so admirable, on so many levels, and I see that the Festival also hosts an international competition. Is there government support for the festival?


BÙI CÔNG DUY: The Vietnam Connection Music Festival is a private organization. As of now, there is no governmental support for the festival.



STEPHANIE CHASE: You are doing a beautiful job. To bring in so many artists from diverse parts of the world is expensive and complicated, and yet you both always seemed so calm even when problems arose, such as when a string quartet’s cellist badly sprained his wrist and had to be replaced on short notice!


I was very happy to see young children at the concerts, along with at least one parent – it reminds me of playing a Sunday concert in Mexico, when entire families attend while spending the day together – do you especially encourage children to attend the concerts?


BÙI CÔNG DUY: Yes, we would like to see many young faces to come to our concerts and we are very grateful to the parents who have bought tickets for their children to attend classical concerts rather than to go to the cinema. However, children are hyperactive and it’s difficult for them to sit still, so it is very important for the parents to help us by keeping them in order while watching the performances.



STEPHANIE CHASE: Not too long ago, I sat in the balcony following a concerto appearance with an orchestra and was near a very young girl – maybe five years old – who sat in her mother’s lap as the orchestra played a lengthy work by Elgar. She was amazingly well behaved – far better than many adults – and I think this had to do with her mother being a musician.


I am struck by, and appreciative of, the graciousness of the Vietnamese people towards Americans, especially in view of the tragic events of the Vietnam War and its unspeakable atrocities. Were your families directly affected by the war? Is there an official governmental attitude towards the United States?


BÙI CÔNG DUY: Our family was completely unaffected by the war thanks to the government's policy of investing in the arts at the time. Both of my parents were selected to attend music conservatories instead of having to carry guns. I was born five years after the war was over and it was a very difficult time for our country. I am happy that my parents had driven me into the music industry. History has shown that “Cultural Exchange” is one of the shortest paths to connect people with each other, helping them to understand each other more as well as to bring peace to the world.


CHUONG VU: The U.S. and Vietnam have built strong diplomatic and economic ties since the war’s end. Most Vietnamese people, especially young people, consider the war is the past already and do not talk about it. Friendliness is one of the typical characteristics of our people. I am not surprised by the welcoming attitude of the Vietnamese people towards Americans.



STEPHANIE CHASE: I, for one, was happily surprised by the friendliness towards me throughout my visit, even from people I encountered on the street.

Through the Vietnam Connection Festival, you have created an extraordinary entity that, through great music and camaraderie, deserves to be a destination for people throughout the world who wish to visit and learn about Vietnam. Thank you for bringing me to your beautiful country and for the many new friendships that have resulted. 


Stephanie Chase is internationally recognized as “one of the violin greats of our era” (Newhouse Newspapers) through solo appearances with over 170 orchestras that include the New York and Hong Kong Philharmonics and the Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and London Symphony Orchestras. Her interpretations are acclaimed for their “elegance, dexterity, rhythmic vitality and great imagination” (Boston Globe), “stunning power” (Louisville Courier-Journal), “matchless technique” (BBC Music Magazine), and “virtuosity galore” (Gramophone), and she is a top medalist of the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In the Summer of 2018 she was featured at music festivals in Newport, RI, Mt. Desert, ME, and Martha's Vineyard, MA, and made her debut in Vietnam, where she performed in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

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An excerpt from "South Asian Film Festival to debut in Plano on Feb. 27" - The Dallas Morning News

By dallasnews Administrator

10:57 PM on Feb 18, 2015

Vietnam native Chuong Vu is studying for a doctorate in violin performance at the University of North Texas. Last year, he worked on a plan to share the talents of his fellow students and professors with aspiring Vietnamese musicians. That led to a trip last May by UNT faculty and students to Vietnam for a series of concerts and master classes. A collaboration was born.

This month, six Vietnamese musicians and Korean-Vietnamese pianist Eun-Young Joo, a professor at the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music, will visit UNT. The students will attend classes and concerts, and Joo will give a free concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Voertman Hall, 415 Ave. C in Denton. Performing with her will be Vu, fellow graduate student Kyungseu Dominic Na and UNT faculty members Felix Olschofka and Daphne Gerling.

The UNT musicians will return to Vietnam this summer. The collaboration is part of the College of Music’s ongoing effort to foster international relationships between conservatories and faculty and student musicians. To learn more, visit

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The 15-year-old began playing the violin in first grade.

By Brandi Addison - The Dallas Morning News

11:33 AM on Mar 22, 2021

A 15-year-old violinist has earned a chance to perform at the renowned Carnegie Hall in New York City in June 2022.

Ananya Nair, a freshman at Reedy High School in Frisco, outperformed hundreds of violinists from around the world and received a third-place honor in the prestigious American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition.

She was one of six young musicians in North Texas to be honored in the competition.

Inspired by her dad, who played the Indian classical violin, Ananya began playing with a rented western violin when she was 7 years old. Nine years later, she practices one to two hours every day.

While she said she does not plan to pursue a musical career, she hopes to continue playing “as a very serious hobby” for the rest of her life.

Ananya said she would have never imagined being able to play at the Carnegie — a dream she has always had since picking up the instrument. She’s excited to visit New York City for the first time, she said.

“During the start of the pandemic, I was basically living in social isolation, as the rest of the country was, so I turned to music to give me positivity and happiness during this difficult period,” Ananya said. “I spent more and more time practicing, and now, I get to achieve this dream of mine.”

Like many high school students, she said she spends most of her time listening to current pop culture artists, such as Lauv and Taylor Swift, though she does still enjoy listening to classical music.

Ananya also plans to perform in her high school orchestra throughout her high school career. Ananya has learned under the renowned violinists Szemoke Jobbagy and Chuong Vu.

Other North Texas students recognized in the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition include Amelia Bauernschmitt, 10, of Dallas, Mana Asaka, 11, of Frisco, Maanas Sharm, 16, of Coppell, Neha Singaravelan, 15, of Dallas and Elaine Chiu, 16, of Frisco.

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Each of the five concert series will feature the fifth symphony by a celebrated composer.

Written By: John Lamb | InForum

May 6th 2020 - 4pm.

FARGO — The Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra is inviting music fans to take five during the 2020-21 season. Each of the five concert series will feature the fifth symphony by a celebrated composer.

The season opens on Sept. 26 and 27 with the violin duo Bùi Công Duy and Chuong Vu performing works by Antonio Vivaldi and Alfred Schnittke before the show ends with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony.

Audiences get the last word for the second second set in the series, Nov. 21 and 22, as they will vote for one of three overtures to be played. The featured soloist, cellist Inbal Segev, will give the regional premiere of Anna Clyne’s cello concerto, “Dance,” and the show will wrap up with some of Ludwig van Beethoven’s most notable symphonies, including his signature first movement of his Fifth Symphony.

Pianist Sofya Gulyak stars in the Jan. 30 and 31 concerts, performing Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto. These dates also feature members of the FM Area Youth Symphonies playing with the FMSO on Mikhail Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila. The program ends with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

Gustav Mahler’s sweeping Symphony No. 5 is the sole piece of the March 20 and 21 concerts.

The NDSU Concert Choir and the Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists lend their voices to the season’s finale on April 17 and 18 with performances of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony and William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast.

The FMSO’s Chamber Music Series will be announced in June.

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By Bradley Winterton for The Saigon Times

Monday,  Oct 22, 2018,16:02 (GMT+7)

Ho Chi Minh City - Last Friday’s HBSO concert in the Saigon Opera House was mounted in cooperation with the HCMC Union of Friendship Organization and the HCMC Vietnam – U.S. Friendship Association. It was consequently unsurprising that it featured an American conductor, a work by US composer George Gershwin, and, most strikingly perhaps, as guest concertmaster the San Angelo Symphony Orchestra, Texas’s concertmaster Chuong Vu.

In addition to Gershwin’s Piano Concerto, however, the program included the Introduction and Allegro for Strings by English composer Edward Elgar and Sheherazade by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

This was a stunning evening, and the large audience was proof of the appropriateness of the program-making.

The Elgar item opened the event. It is written for a string orchestra plus string quartet, and it was instructive to see this line-up on stage because the quartet’s contribution isn’t always apparent in recordings.

As it was, the HBSO’s regular concertmaster, Tang Thanh Nam, made up for his temporary replacement in the string orchestra, and later the full orchestra, by playing first violin in the quartet. He was joined by Le Minh Hien as second violin, celebrity viola player Pham Vu Thien Bao, and Meritorious Artist Nguyen Tan Anh on cello.

Then came the Gershwin concerto. Nguyen Bich Tra, better known as Tra Nguyen, is a much loved pianist currently resident in London. Her return to her native Vietnam for this concert was much appreciated.

She played Gershwin’s work with what the English friend from Taiwan who joined me at the event called “fleet” feeling (as in the phrase “fleet of foot”, though in this case it was “fleet of hands”). And he was right. There was no tub-thumping here, nor any cavorting in the various styles of jazz Gershwin had recourse to. Instead we had sensitivity plus an undoubted brilliance of technique.

But the highlight of the evening was always going to be Sheherazade. This is Rimsky-Korsakov’s most popular work, but it is in no sense superficially melodic and rhythmical. It is both these things, of course, but as my guest also noted it displayed brilliant orchestral coloring as well.

Rimsky-Korsakov is always credited with this attribute, but I had never been sure quite what it meant. Friday’s concert showed me, however. It often consists in combinations of two very different instruments playing alone, but together. Most often, however, one of these instruments is the concertmaster’s first violin.

And this was where Chuong Vu came into his element. Invariably with a smile on his face, this engaging musician dominated the work, as the composer indeed intended the first violin to do. I don’t know any other classical work that isn’t a violin concerto that gives such prominence to this, or indeed any other, solo instrument.

Chuong Vu is an instrumentalist to treasure. Not only does he play with exquisite tone and superb technical virtuosity, but he also clearly loves the music, and loves playing it. This affection was very clearly conveyed to last Friday’s audience.

Conductor Christopher Zimmerman presided over proceedings with a passionate commitment. This, then, was altogether most certainly an event to remember.

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By Samantha McDonald / Senior Staff Writer

North Texas Daily

Feb. 23, 2015, 23:33

As a young musician in Vietnam, Chuong Vu had a dream.

His violin teacher had just returned after graduating from the Moscow Conservatory of Music, widely considered one of the most prestigious music universities in the world, and Vu increasingly found himself yearning for the same experience.

Years later, the doctoral student in violin performance has started a collaboration between Vietnamese and UNT faculty and students. While a May 2014 event invited UNT musicians to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Wednesday night’s 8 p.m. chamber concert will bring Korean-Vietnamese pianist Eun Young Joo to Voertman Hall.

“I was very inspired by my own experience, and I would like for younger generations of classical musicians in Vietnam to have a chance to see and experience these things,” Vu said.

Joo will be accompanied by six students from the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music, where she is a piano professor. They are scheduled to participate in classes taught by UNT piano faculty members and attend College of Music concerts.


Eun Young Joo lectures on Heinrich Neuhaus’ book, The Art of Piano Playing. Joo considers Neuhaus’ text to be her musical Bible.

The performance will include Vu, fellow doctoral student and cellist Kyungseu Dominic Na and faculty members Felix Olschofka and Daphne Gerling. Vu said getting Vietnamese musicians to visit and play alongside College of Music professors and students can boost the university’s international reputation.

“For UNT, it’s good for recruitment because we expose our name to other countries so we can attract more students,” Vu said. “They will [also] have a chance to see the ways UNT faculty teach and perform.”

Making connections

When Vu first approached Gerling almost two years ago, he invited her to Vietnam to show him his country. She initially thought, like most students, his proposal would be simply that – a proposal – and didn’t expect more than just words.

A few months later, Gerling was in Vietnam playing a concert tour with other UNT faculty members and students.

“He’s an incredibly enterprising person,” Gerling said. “He has a really remarkable ability to create these big projects and really bring them together.”

Joo, who remembers Vu attending one of her past concerts, said he has many musician friends in Ho Chi Minh City, so when he contacted her about his plan to bring Vietnamese performers to UNT, she immediately understood the importance of the event and accepted the invitation.

“We want to make friends and for students, they can broaden their horizons,” Joo said. “I hope to continue this project. I want students to come here and experience these circumstances.”

A young prodigy

When Vu was five years old, his father brought home a violin.

Vu said this marked the beginning of his academic career in violin, with which he said he fell in love through constant practice. His aspiration, like most young musicians, was to win a competition similar to Vietnamese classical pianist Dang Thai Son, who became the first Asian pianist to earn the gold medal at the 1980 International Chopin Piano Competition.

Vu was one step closer to his goal when he was accepted to the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music at the age of seven. He said he saw a future at the Moscow Conservatory of Music but received troubling news in 1989 when the Soviet Union was approaching its collapse.

“I was about to be picked [for the Moscow Conservatory], but the Soviet Union broke up and didn’t honor those contracts with Vietnam anymore,” Vu said. “My family decided that since I wouldn’t be able to go to the Soviet Union, they were going to go to the States.”

After finishing high school in Vietnam, Vu left for the U.S. He completed his bachelor’s and master’s degree at the University of Houston and moved to UNT under the tutelage of violinist Emanuel Borok, the former concertmaster for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

This spring marks Vu’s final semester as a doctoral student. Although he plans to continue performing after his studies, Vu said teaching is another personal ambition.

“My dream would be to come back to Vietnam every year – maybe once or twice – to give master classes at the conservatories,” he said. “I would like to educate the classical musicians there, particularly violinists.”

The impact on learning

Wednesday’s concert will focus on the intersection of cultures from around the world. Vu is a Vietnamese violinist, Olschofka is a German violinist and Gurling is a Brazilian violist. On the other hand, Joo and Na, both of whom are originally from Korea, live in Vietnam and the U.S., respectively.

“It’s a very specific collaboration because we have so many different nations in this event,” Olschofka said. “There are so many languages and so many countries involved, but the nice thing is we have one universal language, which is music.”

Last year, Olschofka, Gerling and two doctoral students spent 18 days in the summer teaching and performing in the Vietnam National Academy of Music in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory and Ho Chi Minh City Opera House. This year, Joo and her students will devote 10 days to master classes and lectures at UNT.

“It was really a lot of work,” Joo said. “They are all stuck in Vietnam with no chance to see the developed country. For them, this is a really amazing opportunity to see what’s going on here.”

Joo said the concert will enhance the already established connection between Vietnamese and U.S. musicians. This relationship will see more support in August when Vu and the early music faculty are scheduled to perform as one of the main acts at the 2015 Autumn Melodies Music Festival in Vietnam.

“The nice thing about these trips is that it shrinks our musical world. It brings us all closer,” Gerling said. “It’s so meaningful as an artistic legacy that we’re willing to travel to other countries to interact about it.”

Vu said he hopes to make the collaboration an ongoing opportunity and has already arranged a tour with UNT Concert Orchestra conductor Clay Couturiaux in May. The two will perform with the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra, Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra and Saigon Philharmonic Orchestra – three of the four top orchestras in Vietnam.

“We learn so much just from being in a different country,” Gerling said. “You start learning all the details of the culture, and it becomes so much more real to you how rich the world is.”

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