|Enthralling: Tran Manh Tuan on stage with singer Coco York. — VNS File Photo
HCM CITY (VNS)— When Tran Manh Tuan says "music has given me everything", he means it both literally and figuratively.
"Music gave me a chance to shake hands with US President Bill Clinton, win a joint Grammy Award and bring Trinh Cong Son's music to people.
"It is music that took me to 40 countries, brought me a nice house, a good car and a happy family.
So, despite several "disasters" that befallen to "test my love for life, I feel I am lucky because I have music."
Tuan will be the star of the show today, September 7, at the landmark event called Dau An (Milestone) launched by the Thanh Nien Media Corporation and Viet Nam Television.
The show, which will feature live performances by the nation's leading artists at the Nguyen Du Sports Stadium on the first Saturday of every month, has received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike after it debuted last month with famous singer Thu Minh.
Easily Viet Nam's most famous and accomplished saxophone artist, Tuan's artistry has enthralled both jazz lovers and fans of contemporary Vietnamese music.
He is a lecturer at the Ha Noi Arts College, the HCM City Conservatory of Music and the Military University of Culture and Arts.
Somewhat aptly, given the event's name, the upcoming concert will mark a milestone in Tuan music and his career with several unique items including his original compositions being performed for the first time.
Accompanying Tuan on the stage will be the Saigon Bigband and three famous singers –jazz queen Tuyet Loan, Tung Duong and diva Thanh Lam.
It will be the first time that Tung Duong and Tuan perform together.
Fated to live
Born in 1972, Tuan came into contact with music very early because his parents and sister were cai luong (renovated opera) artists.
Just a year after he got his first sax at the age of eight, Tuan had become proficient enough to given responsibility for playing the "modern" parts of the music performed by the troupe. He went everywhere with the troupe and his parents, performing for a living.
Tuan started to put in solo performances when he was 11. At 13, he played for the Viet Nam Administration of Tourism at luxury establishments for international audiences.
Also at 13, he began to have eye pains.
"The doctor diagnosed that I had normal blepharitis, but three days later, I lost sight in one eye. The doctor had to inject me with a strong medicine to save the other eye.
At that time, I thought my life had ended. I played the saxophone like crazy, and music saved my life."
After many successes in his career, Tuan is now known beyond Viet Nam's borders. He has performed with world-famous artists like Herbie Hancook, Wayne Shorter, Derek Nash, Lillian Boutte, Charlie Bisharat, Unit Asia, and performed at several jazz festivals in Europe, Asia and America.
But just when his career was at its top, another disaster struck. He found out that he had nephritis when he was performing in Germany.
"Five surgeries, living with one eye and two spoilt kidneys, music saved me again.
"The saxophone was by my side during the three months in hospital. When I could not play, I listened to music. Music helped me and patients around me to be optimistic." Tuan said.
After his recovery, Tuan has started spending more of his free time at pagodas. He has not only performed at pagodas, he has brought the sound of the pagoda bell into his jazz music.
Tuan said he considers each second the last second of his life.
When he plays now, it is the sound of life that he seeks to breathe into the heart of the music lover. — VNS