Young orchestra aims to inspire a nation and beyond

September 20, 2023 - 10:06
VYO is an initiative of Vietnam Youth Music Institute (VYMI), with the vision to create a vibrant youth orchestra where all young people, regardless of genders or nationalities are welcome to gather every Sunday morning to enjoy making beautiful music together.
Cellist and conductor of Việt Nam Youth Orchestra Phan Đỗ Phúc. — Photo courtesy of the artist

Vietnam Youth Orchestra is an orchestra for teenagers and young people to discover the lifelong joy of playing music while becoming global citizens with a deep appreciation for the arts. Việt Nam News reporter Nguyễn Bình spoke to conductor Phan Đỗ Phúc about the activities and the development of the orchestra.

What has the Vietnam Youth Orchestra done over the past year?

VYO is an initiative of Vietnam Youth Music Institute (VYMI), with the vision to create a vibrant youth orchestra where all young people, regardless of genders or nationalities are welcome to gather every Sunday morning to enjoy making beautiful music together.

Besides weekly rehearsals, VYO has a series of concerts each year: up to two major concerts at prestigious concert halls, and a series of community concerts in which VYO performs at various public spaces, such as local cultural centres, art spaces, even shopping mall and outdoor spaces.

As VYO members enjoy making music together each week, we hope to inspire the community to explore the beautiful art forms of classical music and orchestral music, to enjoy, even try playing instruments, which will greatly enrich both social and individual lives.

During the past year and a half of activities, we have done two concerts at the Hà Nội Opera House, one of which we shared stage with the prestigious Việt Nam National Symphony Orchestra (VNSO) and Maestro Honna Tetsuji.

As part of our community concert series, we visited the Bắc Từ Liêm Cultural Centre, the Green Space 65 Cẩm Hội, 22 Hàng Buồm Art Centre and Aeon Mall Hà Đông.

What is the difference between VYO and other orchestras in Việt Nam?

I think VYO has some unique characteristics. Our young members are diverse and come from different countries such as Japan, South Korea and Germany.

We also have a mixture of both amateur and professional young musicians. We are thrilled to be able to create this shared environment where youth from so many different backgrounds can come together and enjoy creating beauty.

What are the challenges running the VYO?

Running a full symphony orchestra is not a simple task, from both logistical and professional perspectives. We are also pioneering in creating this sort of programme so it is inevitable to run into challenges.

However, we have a wonderful network of partners and supporters who provide invaluable support along the way.

We are incredibly lucky to have the generous support from our patron, VPS Securities, our supporter Sojitz, our strategic partner, the VNSO, and many other individuals and companies who believe in our values and provide us constant support.

Why was VYO established and what are the orchestra's future development plans?

Our desire is to inspire the community to explore the beauty of classical music and we will strive to bring our beautiful music to even more places, not only in Hà Nội but nationwide, and perhaps other countries as well in the near future.

We also hope to meet and collaborate with even more partners who share our values, to create even more impactful social programmes.

Why did you become the VYO conductor?

I’ve been pursuing the path of a professional cellist for more than 22 years now, and it is still very much my passion.

I enjoy performing not only as a soloist, but also as a chamber musician and orchestra musician as well. But I am incredibly grateful for Maestro Honna Tetsuji to invite me to be the conductor of VYO.

It was something I never imagined myself doing just a few years ago, but I’m so thankful that I have been given the opportunity. I have learned so much from working with VYO coaches, staffs and especially the VYO young musicians.

Working with them weekly has brought me such pure joy and energy that I believe it has helped me grow tremendously as a musician, and more importantly, as a person.

What are your thoughts on the relationship between music and education and the role of music in community development?

Artists are the ones who have been incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to live and breathe with good, truth and beauty on a daily basis.

A prosperous and healthy society needs to aim towards such good, truth and beauty that are embedded in good art. Therefore, I believe the mission of artists, via their work, is to inspire and to guide this overall trajectory of social development. — VNS

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