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Veteran musicologist Tran Van Khe dies at 94

Update: June, 24/2015 - 15:10
Professor Tran Van Khe, known as the master of traditional Vietnamese music, died at the age of 94 early today. — Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — Professor Tran Van Khe, known as the master of traditional Vietnamese music, died at the age of 94 early on Wednesday.

He fought for his life for nearly a month in a hospital in HCM City.

Professor Khe, a veteran musicologist, academician, writer and teacher, as well as performer of traditional music, died at Gia Dinh People's Hospital. He was suffering from various illnesses of the lungs, heart and kidney, doctors said.

His friends said the legendary musicologist had been well-prepared for his death, and had left a will describing in detail how he would like his funeral to be organised.

In the will, he said he wanted to be laid to rest following Buddhism funeral rites. He also wanted a band, consisting of his friends and students, to perform special traditional Vietnamese music at the funeral.

As per Vietnamese tradition, friends and relatives often bring offerings for a deceased person at a funeral. Professor Khe wanted the money for this to be used for setting up a fund or an award in his name for outstanding researchers of traditional Vietnamese music.

The professor said his home should be used as a commemorative house, where people could come to read all the books and documents he had collected.

Outstanding career

Professor Khe was born in 1921 in My Tho City in southern Viet Nam.

The researcher fulfilled his childhood passion for the music of his country by working his way through college in France in the early 1950s.

He lived in Paris for more than 50 years and nurtured his love for Viet Nam's traditional music since a young age.

He was the first Vietnamese person to get a doctoral degree in musicology in France.

He became a professor at Sorbonne University in Paris, where he researched and taught traditional music, and was a honorary member of the International Music Council (UNESCO), and a corresponding member of the European Academy of the Sciences, Letters and Arts.

While living in France, he performed only traditional Vietnamese music on traditional instruments. His music melted the hearts of many, including his French audience.

He dedicated himself to researching, promoting and honouring his country's music around the globe.

He came back to live in Viet Nam in 2004. All the documents that he collected during his numerous years of research of traditional music were packed into 460 parcels and shipped from France to Viet Nam. The documents are being preserved at the HCM City National Museum. — VNS

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