Each year, young musicians from another part of the world are invited to perform at Bonn’s leading music festival. This year’s partners for the so-called orchestra campus organized by the Deutsche Welle and the Beethovenfest came from Hanoi.
The students from Hanoi performing in Bonn
Young musicians from Vietnam, performing Ludwig van Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture: The orchestra of the National Academy of Music Hanoi was in Bonn for a week for the Beethovenfest, a yearly music festival dedicated to the famous German composer who was born here.
Their two concerts were a special experience for the students -- like French horn player Vong Ngoc Long, who is only 20 years old. "I love the audience", said Long. "The way they clap, the way they listen to the music and the critiques after the concert! So, so nice! It’s a very professional hall to play, so I really loved to play here. Maybe I was a little bit too nervous, because I played Beethoven’s music. Germans know it very well, so I was very nervous. But I think we did our best and had a lot of fun."
An exotic choice
In the so-called orchestra campus, the young Vietnamese worked with European conductors to prepare their concerts. They stayed with host families.
Western music, including jazz, is becoming more and more popular in Vietnam. But it still remains somewhat exotic. For many of the young musicians, classical music wasn’t the obvious choice. "No one in my family plays classical music," said 26-year-old Quang, who plays the clarinet. "They love music, but they didn’t have many chances to listen to classical music earlier. But after I started to learn clarinet, they started to love classical music with me!"
Dreaming of a career abroad
For horn player Long, classical music has become the passion of his life. "I want to become a professional horn player," he said. "And I really want to work abroad and study abroad and then play music – especially for Germans!"
No wonder that Long was euphoric: Last Sunday’s concert at Bonn’s Beethovenhalle was packed – although it was the same evening when the results of Germany’s general elections were announced. Many Germans in the audience were particularly impressed by the works of two Vietnamese composers that the students also played – among them a composition commissioned by Deutsche Welle for the occasion, Tran Manh Hung’s "Poem Symphony".
Author: Thomas Bärthlein
Editor: Disha Uppal