Saturday, August 19, 2017 - 6:54:38

Capital city to play with new sounds

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Hanoi will host its first experimental music festival from November 30 to December 8.

The Hanoi New Music Festival 2013 will feature more than 50 Vietnamese and international musicians from Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Scandinavia. They will perform at different venues in the city.

In addition to electro-acoustic music, a range of contemporary chamber music will be provided. Festival goers will also be able to watch inter-active music productions, improvisations, music installations and music theatre.

"It's not about importing Western aesthetics, but about cross-cultural exchanges," said Stefan Osterjo, guitarist from Sweden.

"During courses with young musicians and students in and outside the Vietnam National Academy of Music, I've said that experimental music is not fixed, but something that you can and should use for your own means," he said.

Festival founder and artistic director Kim Ngoc said experimental music is a "blind spot" in the country's general music scene, so we use the term as a title. She said "blind spot" is something that always exists, like in traffic.

"To the outside world, Vietnam's contemporary arts remains unknown, thus, the event is an opportunity for local musicians," said the founder of Dom Dom, the Hub for Experimental Music and Art.

"The festival offers ideal platforms for artists to exchange, share and even argue so that they can produce the best finished products. It's a new approach harmonising with or erasing the border between contemporary and classical music that originated in the West."

Dom Dom, which is organising the festival under the auspices of Goethe Institute Vietnam, hopes that the festival will help Vietnam's contemporary music grow stronger.

Ngoc said the festival will feature commissioned compositions by Vietnamese composers, a new form of music practice.

Ngoc herself will open the festival with a music and theatre performance "What Makes The Spider Spin Her Web," which has been performed throughout the world. The piece is a popular line from an old Vietnamese folk song and is both a question and a lament.

Duo Camusi from Italy will play contemporary improvisations using voice, electronics and drums on Monday night at Zone 9.

An evening of percussion on December 5 will feature Burkhard Beins (Germany) and SISU group (Norway) in the New Meets Old at Tuoi Tre (Youth) Theatre.

The highlight of the festival will be "Being Together" on December 8, a closing show featuring prominent music improvisers.

Addressing a recent press conference, head of the Goethe Institute, Almuth Meyer-Zollitsch, said the festival aims to build an audience for the new music genre.

According to Zollitsch, the new music genre has three major characteristics.

"Musical instruments are not only used in traditional way but also to create surprising sounds. For instance, a cello can become a percussion insturment," she said. "There will always be surprising things happening at the concert because experimentation plays an important role."

Organisers hope to place the event on Vietnam's annual festival agenda.-VNA
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