Gifted kids attend music festival in Oslo
by Ha Nguyen
|Dedication and perseverance: Khanh Van has to practise about eight hours a day to become successful. — VNS Photos Hoang Khanh
Hoang Ho Khanh Van, 14, was among four young talented Vietnamese students invited to join the Valdres Festival in Oslo, Norway, last month.
The festival brought together young music enthusiasts for a short and intense period of workshops, private lessons, orchestra and chamber music, said Stephan Barratt-Due, principal and artistic director of the Barratt Due Institute of Music.
"Some of the finest performers are invited to teach and perform in the festival. Valdres is unique in the sense that it offers enthusiasts of all ages concerts and courses given by top international performers from 20 countries all over the world, including those from Viet Nam," Barratt-Due told Viet Nam News.
"The four Vietnamese musicians (the students) all had a high instrumental level and were selected for this reason for the final performance.
"Van is definitely gifted and we hope she will get every opportunity do develop further. She has obviously been taught very well," said Barratt-Due.
"Van should continue to work seriously and get the chance to perform in international settings like the Barratt Due and Valdres Festival," he said.
Van said she was lucky to be invited to play at the Valdres Festival which is part of a Transposition project founded to encourage the exchange of music between Norway and Viet Nam.
"During my five days in Oslo, I had a chance to study how to play solos and perform in a concert accompanied by an orchestra of Norwegian children thanks to famous Norwegian music teachers.
"We exchange views on music playing techniques and talk together about our countries," said Van.
She told Viet Nam News that she was very impressed with the Norwegians at the Barratt Due Institute of Music.
"They are very friendly and helpful," Van said, adding that she would never forget receptionist Cecilie for her effective help.
"While we were very confused about everything, Cecilie helped us to contact our parents and gave us sweets. She asked us about our needs. I would like very much to return to Norway to study violin and reunite with Cecilie and my Norwegian friends at the Barratt Due Institute of Music," said Van.
She expressed sincere thanks to her teacher Barratt-Due, whom she had a chance to work with in Ha Noi, for choosing her to join the festival.
Van's teacher, Bui Cong Duy who studied classical music at a Russian music school for 14 years, won several awards, and eventually joined the Viruous Moskva Chamber Orchestra, told Viet Nam News that Van is among very few young Vietnamese music students with promises of talent.
"She has an innate gift in playing violin of European standards because she has had been well-trained in Belarus music schools since age four.
"Van's independent thinking, self-consciousness and self-discipline help develop her studies," said Duy.
He said however that Van should work harder to prepare more works to be ready to join any international competition.
|In good company: Khanh Van and her Norwegian teacher, Geir Inge, during her stay in Oslo to attend the recent Valdres Festival.
Van began learning violin at the age of four when her family was living in the city of Minsk in Belarus, where Van was born.
She studied initially under Belarussian professor Vladimir Khazanov, who thought she had talent and a special memory, able to learn a piece without investing nearly as much time as his other pupils. Khazanov said she was able to play difficult tunes as a child by learning them step-by-step.
She won many prizes while in Belarus, including second prize in the 2004 Belarus National Violin Competition and first prize in the Minsk Violin Contest.
When Van's family returned to Viet Nam in 2005, she continued her studies at the National Academy of Music and won third prize at Viet Nam's Autumn Melodies in 2007 at the age of 10.
Van, at the age of 12, beat over 100 competitors from around Southeast Asia to take top honours at the third ASEAN International Concerto Competition held in 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia, where the jury called her a " musical prodigy".
Transposition was founded to encourage exchange in the field of music between Vietnamese and Norwegian music institutions. The aim is to contribute professionally to the development of symphony orchestras and music education, said Barratt-Due.
Today, Transposition has grown into a collaboration between five partner institutions in Viet Nam and seven in Norway. Transposition today is best described as a programme for many forms of musical collaboration between Norway and Viet Nam.
Additionally, the programme fosters an exchange of soloists, training of orchestra musicians, music pedagogy and training in arts management.
Asked about the criteria for selecting young music talent to train at the Barratt Due Institute, Barratt-Due said "We have annual auditions for our various levels: Young Talents Department (up to 19 years old), College Department (Bachelor and Master's degrees). On all levels, instrumental skills, artistic talent and understanding are the main areas of focus in the selection of students. Obviously the selection process is more thorough on the College level, including different theoretical areas and an interview."
Asked how many Vietnamese music students have benefited from the project so far, Barratt-Due said, "Today we have one full-time student following a three year Bachelor's degree. Five Vietnamese instrumental teachers have followed our college level programme in instrumental pedagogy, and will in a month's time conclude their exams. All together, about eight have come to Oslo and to the Valdres Festival. In addition we have received young talents for shorter visits during the year. I myself have had the pleasure to visit Ha Noi several times, giving master classes and playing concerts. In addition several of the professors at the Barratt Due Institute of Music have visited Ha Noi for lecturing, teaching or performing. So, in sum I hope quite a few Vietnamese students have benefited from the programme, one way or another."
Asked about plans for this year and next year in Viet Nam, Barratt-Due said:
"Personally I very much look forward to coming to Ha Noi in November, bringing with me a violist and a cellist to do much of the same as on my last visit, performing with students and teachers, as well as giving master classes."
Van is studying at the Ha Noi Music Academy.
She said apart from practising violin she likes reading Vietnamese and English books.
Van said she likes to write funny stories during her idle time. Her works have been published in several Vietnamese newspapers and magazines. — VNS