We continue our Immigrant Voicesseries with Vietnamese music virtuoso
Vân-Ánh, VANESSA VÕ
An award-winning performer and virtuoso on 16-string dan tranh (zither), voice and other traditional instruments, Vân-Ánh, Vanessa Võ is also an Emmy Award-winning composer who has performed internationally with ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet(most recently at SF Jazz). In this performance Võ will take the audience on a journey to Vietnam through music — and the culture behind it. This performance of traditional sounds of North, Central, and South Vietnam will blend with modern Western soundscapes as Võ presents solo works and collaborative performances.
Fusing her traditional Vietnamese foundation with new structures and compositions, she has been a collaborator and solo artist with performers such as Nguyen Le, Paul McCandless, Ali Ryerson, Charles Loos, and SOMEI Taiko Ensemble. Vanessa has presented her music at Carnegie Hall, Zellerbach Hall,Lincoln Center and the Olympic Games 2012 Music Festival. She was composer and arranger for the Oscar® nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning documentary Daughter from Danang.
At the Kennedy Center, she presented The Odyssey: From Vietnam to America, a piece using music, spoken word, live media and more to explore the journeys of the boat people escaping war and abandoning their lives in search of freedom.
A multi-instrumentalist, she also performs on the dan Bau. “This instrument has a single string, but by bending it with a kind of whammy bar made from buffalo horn, Vo creates a haunting landscape of growls, hushed vibrato and graceful slides, all with the exquisite phrasing of an opera singer. Her composition “Three-Mountain Pass”(also the title of her recent album), for voice and Hang drum, is based on the sensuously evocative texts of Ho Xuan Huong, a groundbreaking female poet (and concubine) from the 18th century. And with “Go Hunting,”Vo introduces another traditional instrument, the dan T’rung, a bamboo xylophone from Vietnam’s south highlands. In her work with orchestras and Japanese taiko drum ensembles, Võ reveals the great breadth and flexibility of the traditional styles she spent decades perfecting with master musicians and at the conservatory in Hanoi. Võ pushes the envelope of the past, engaging sounds and complex, multi-layered concepts to unfurl new spaces for the music she loves.” Tom Huizenga, NPR
Coming from a family of musicians, Võ began studying đàn tranh (16-string zither) from the age of four. She graduated with distinction from the Vietnam Academy of Music, where she later taught. In Hanoi, she was an ensemble member of Vietnam National Music Theatre as well as founder and director of the traditional music group Đồng Nội Ensemble. She also plays the 36-string hammered dulcimer (dan tam thap luc), the bamboo xylophone (dan t’rung), the k’longput, traditional drums (trong), and Chinese guzheng.
“Võ’s energy and enthusiasm for musical creativity seems to transcend any particular instrument and instead feed off a fundamental sonic curiosity, as well as a desire to reflect on hercultural heritage and share those sounds with new ears.”—Molly Sheridan, New Music Box
We’re pleased to present Vanessa Võ as part of our Immigrant Voicesseries, which features internationally renowned performers who have immigrated to the US.