Viet Nam News
Pianist Đặng Thái Sơn builds new music home at Oberlin Conservatory
Việt Nam’s world-renowned concert pianist Đặng Thái Sơn has confirmed that he will join the piano faculty at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio, United States this fall.
His teaching career spans 30 years, including positions at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo, Taipei National Normal University, Université de Montréal and, last but not least, his alma mater, the Việt Nam National Academy of Music in Hà Nội. In each of these posts, Đặng Thái Sơn chose to be a guest professor.
“I have only agreed to be a ‘guest’ professor, which speaks volumes about my love for independence," he told the Oberlin College and Conservatory website.
"This time is different: No more being an outsider! I have decided to change my life by joining the music family at the Oberlin Conservatory, which has truly welcomed me. I very much look forward to building our new house together.”
In March 2017, Đặng Thái Sơn gave master classes in a residency which was part of the Oberlin-Como Piano Academy, an exclusive partnership with Italy’s International Piano Academy Lake Como.
Well-travelled teacher: Đặng Thái Sơn gives a master class to Aimi Kobayashi of Japan during a 2017 residency at Oberlin. Photo by Dale Preston
As a member of the Oberlin piano faculty, Đặng Thái Sơn will mentor Oberlin-Como Fellows and have his own studio of undergraduate pianists.
"We are thrilled that the esteemed pianist Đặng Thái Sơn will be joining our faculty,” says Professor of Piano Alvin Chow, chair of Oberlin’s Piano Department. “He has such a distinguished international career not only as a superb performing artist, but also as a master teacher and jury member of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions. We are truly excited about the insights and passion he will bring to our already acclaimed piano faculty."
Đặng Thái Sơn made headlines around the world when he became the first Asian to win first prize and the gold medal at the X Warsaw International Chopin Piano Competition in 1980.
Born and raised in Viêt Nam, Đặng Thái Sơn began piano studies with his mother, Thái Thi Liên, co-founder of today’s Vietnam National Academy of Music. Growing up, he joined the music school and the rest of the residents evacuating cities for the countryside during the US war in Việt Nam.
Discovered during a visit to Việt Nam by Russian pianist Isaac Katz, Đặng Thái Sơn later took up studies at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory under Vladimir Natanson and Dmitri Bashkirov.
His discography — much of it devoted to the music of Chopin — includes a pair of 2017 releases: a recording of Schubert on JVC Kenwood and a collection of works by Paderewski that includes a concerto recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Ashkenazy.
In 2016, he won Canada’s Prix Opus for Concert of the Year, an award presented by the Fondation Arte Musica. He is a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Music Academy in Bydgoczsz, Poland, and is the subject of the biography A Pianist Loved by Chopin: The Dang Thai Son Story, published by Yamaha Music Media Corporation in 2003. — VNS