Grammy Award-winner Jeff Von Der Schmidtto conduct Xưa – Mới concert

November 23, 2022 - 08:16
The concert is a storytelling of Vietnamese music, from the heritage of traditional music to contemporary music creativity.
Conductor Jeff Von Der Schmidt enjoys a cup of coffee in a cafe in Hà Nội. The American will conduct a music concert in the Old Quarter on November 23. Photos courtesy of Jeff Von Der Schmidt

HÀ NỘI — Grammy Award-winning conductor Jeff Von Der Schmidt will take part in a concert entitled Xưa – Mới (Ancient – New) on November 23 in Hà Nội.

The concert is a storytelling of Vietnamese music, from the heritage of traditional music to contemporary music creativity.

The traditional music stage will see performances of many leading artists with different Vietnamese instruments. In addition, musicians from the Việt Nam National Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra will perform contemporary works by three famous composers, Nguyễn Thiện Đạo, Tôn Thất Tiết and Vũ Nhật Tân, who received noble awards in their careers.

The most highlighted repertoires of the programme are the UNESCO-recognised nhã nhạc (Huế royal court music) and ca trù (ceremonial singing).

The quintessence of music from two ancient imperial lands will be performed by artisans who are heirs of famed nhã nhạc musicians and ca trù artists in the past.

The concert is one of the events of the Việt Nam Cultural Heritage Day, organised by the Management Board of Hoàn Kiếm Lake and Hà Nội Old Quarter in collaboration with other music groups.

The concert will be held at the Arts and Culture Centre, 22 Hàng Buồm Street.

American conductor Schmidt will participate as an honoured guest. His wife, violinist Karlin Jan Marsha, also joins the show as a music consultant.

Conductor Jeff Von Der Schmidt and his wife in Vietnamese áo dài (traditional long dress) in Huế earlier this month.

The concert will also see honorary guest Nguyễn Thị Khiếu. The 97-year-old singer from Chanh Village Ca Trù Club will perform her unique, beautiful voice and skilful and delicate technique in the ceremonial singing.

"A prestigious group of Vietnamese musicians and poets will come together to celebrate composers Vũ Nhật Tân, Nguyễn Thiên Đạo and Tôn Thất Tiết, centring their music with masters of dynastic Vietnamese music and poetry," Schmidt wrote on his Facebook.

"I am honoured to direct the Hà Nội New Music Ensemble, the Đông Kinh Cổ Nhạc, Phú Xuân Royal Court Music, Chanh Thôn and Thái Hà clubs and my friend poet Nguyễn Duy for this truly auspicious evening celebrating the many new directions that are now possible!"

Schmidt was born in 1955 in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the University of Southern California.

He is the conductor and founding Artistic Director of Southwest Chamber Music, the Los Angeles International New Music Festival, and the Summer Festival at The Huntington.

He won two Grammy Awards in 2003 and 2004 for Conductor of Best Small Ensemble in his total nine nominations for the Grammy Awards and the Latin Grammy for 30 compact disc recordings.

He was appointed Artistic Advisor to the Hà Nội New Music Ensemble and the Hà Nội Philharmonic Orchestra in 2015. VNS