Experimental music has its time to shine
HA NOI — In a country concerned with preserving tradition, a contest rewarding the production of innovative contemporary music should pique the interest of Viet Nam’s amateur musicians.
Denmark’s Cultural and Development Exchange Fund (CDEF) last Friday launched a competition to reward talented Vietnamese composers producing contemporary music, particularly experimental works.
The competition, centred in Ha Noi under the leadership of Danish Ambassador Peter Lysholt Hansen, aims to encourage young artists to produce and perform contemporary music in Viet Nam.
As commercial pop music continues to dominate the music industry in Viet Nam and in other countries, alternative musical voices are being heard less and less often.
By entering the competition, amateur Vietnamese composers writing contemporary or experimental music have the opportunity to gain national recognition for their talents.
The competition focuses on quality and performance, two elements often missing from contemporary music.
While Viet Nam’s mainstream music education schools train students to reach high standards of music performance, this competition is based upon a foundation of creativity and originality of approach, thereby rounding out the education provided by music education schools, according to Hansen.
The judges, Vietnamese contemporary female musician Kim Ngoc and British artist Paul Zetters will review the entries, narrowing them down to 10 and then to three finalists.
“The experimental music must be creative and innovative, two elements that are inseparable,” Zetters said.
He says experimental composers often use a mix of standard and non-standard instrumentation, unique musical structures and styles of music from around the world. In addition, experimental music tends to deal with modern themes.
The three finalists’ pieces will be submitted to the CDEF board, which will select the winner. First prize is an educational trip to Denmark for at least one week.
The winner and the two runners-up will also have the chance to perform their pieces at a gala organised by the Embassy of Denmark at the Ha Noi Opera House on December 8, on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Denmark and Viet Nam. — VNS
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