Vietnamese composer to premiere piece in Berlin

Vietnamese composer and pianist Ton That An’s first orchestral piece, The Legend of Thanh Giong, will receive its premiere performance by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra at Philharmonie Hall here this Sunday.

The Berlin Symphony Orchestra will perform the Vietnamese composer and pianist Ton That An’s first orchestral piece, The Legend of Thanh Giong at Philharmonie Hall this Sunday. —Photo

Now based in Chinese Taiwan, An is better known by his stage name of Aaken. A French-born Vietnamese, he is also an accomplished singer and songwriter who has made two albums, Circlesong (2005) and Hyperbody (2010), the latter recorded in Paris, Taipei, and Chicago.

The new composition was inspired by a famous Vietnamese fairy tale about Saint Giong who, at just three years of age, fought Chinese invaders to save his country and suffering people.

Sunday's performance will include Vietnamese zither artist Nguyen Hien Nang and acrobatic duo Huynh Dinh and Van Anh, who won a gold medal at the Circus Festival in France.

Hanoi to host New Year Gala concert

A New Year Gala concert will be held by the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra at Hanoi Opera House on January 21-22.

The concert will start with the La gazza ladra symphonic overture in two acts by Italia’s Gioachino Rossini and the L’arlesienne Suite by France’s Georges Bizet’s.

Bizet had achieved a few successes before his final work Carmen became one of the most popular performance in the opera repertory.

The third piece will be the Concerto for Guitar and Ochestra by Spain’s Joaquin Rodrigo and the final will be the Bolero by France’s Maurice Ravel.

Korean artists help popularise Vietnam’s beauty

A group of famous artists from the Republic of Korea (RoK) has visited Vietnam to record the country’s images and culture to introduce to Korean viewers.

In serving the reality TV show - Running Man, the artists, including Kim Jong Kook, Yoo Jae Suk and Ha Dong Hoon, explored Vietnam’s rich culture at such sites of interest as the Old Quarter, water puppetry theatre, and Keangnam Shopping Center in Hanoi, and the Trang An-Hoa Lu cultural heritage site in northern Ninh Binh province.

The Running Man group and its partner KeangnamVina in Vietnam also recorded stunning panorama of Hanoi and Ninh Binh for introducing to the viewers part of Vietnam’s hidden charm.
The programme on Vietnam will be broadcast on the RoK’s television on February 24 and March 3.

Yen Tu Buddhist site named special relic

The northern coastal province of Quang Ninh on February 18 held a ceremony to receive a special national relic certificate for the Yen Tu relic complex honouring Vietnam’s Zen Buddhism.

The complex, that houses a number of pagodas, is associated with King Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308) who gave up the royal life and went to Yen Tu Mountain to practice as a Buddhist monk and found Zen Buddhism in Vietnam in 1299.

At the event, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan praised Quang Ninh’s efforts in protecting, restoring and promoting the cultural and historical values of the relic complex in recent times.

He revealed that the Prime Minister has approved a plan to expand and develop the complex with a total investment of VND1,800 billion.

The investment will offer a chance for Quang Ninh to preserve and refurbish the heritage site, Nhan noted.

The ceremony also marked the start of the Yen Tu Spring Festival 2013 which will last three months and is expected to attract 2.5-2.7 million pilgrims.

Hue tackles moss intrusion to protect relics

The Hue Monuments Preservation Centre had done a good job improving the environment surrounding the city’s relics, according to Phan Thanh Hai, director of the centre.

The centre last year carried out various projects to preserve some of the former royal capital’s most treasured monuments, he said.

Through co-operation with the Hue Sciences University, moss had been removed from many sites, helping to protect both the structures and tourists at the same time.

“Hue is typically wet and humid which makes it an ideal environment for moss to flourish on the old stone buildings,” Hai explained.

“This damaged the relics and made the floor slippery.”

The centre has applied various methods in the past such as getting local people to sweep away the moss, but that was rather time-consuming and not particularly effective, he said.

The Hue Science University’s project to use nano technology involves active substances to ward off moss without polluting the environment.

The solution has been applied at relics like The Mieu and Dai Cung Mon to offer safer paths for tourists.

Also last year, the centre planted 60,000 plants in the Inner Citadel Area, and would focus on caring for 5,000 bonsai and other decorative plants at heritage sites this year, he said.

Contemporary dance brings cultures together

The Europe Meets Asia in Contemporary Dance festival will take place in September in Ha Noi.

The show’s highlights include a dance piece called On Edge. Under the leadership of the German choreographer Anna Konjetzky, the dance will be developed specially for six German and six Vietnamese dancers from the Viet Nam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB) to perform.

In preparation for this dance project, Konjetzky and ballet master Sahra Huby are giving a one-week workshop in Ha Noi from February 18-22 at the VNOB to rehearse their concept with the Vietnamese dancers.

They will then be joined by the German dancers to work together on the project in the summer. The piece will be publicly performed at the end of September as part of the Europe Meets Asia in Contemporary Dance 2013 festival. The festival is being held in Viet Nam for the third time.