Music by Van Cao (1923-95), one of Vietnam's greatest contemporary composers, will be performed in downtown Hanoi on November 22.

Co-organised at the Hanoi Friendship Culture Palace by the Vietnam Musicians' Association and the composer's family, the concert celebrates what would be Van Cao's 90th birthday (15/11/1923).

Leading singers including Quang Tho, Anh Tuyet, Dang Duong and Lan Anh will perform a selection of the composer's work, including two never-before published songs.

The original version of "Tien Quan Ca" (Marching Song), chosen by President Ho Chi Minh to be the national anthem and edited by the National Assembly in 1955, will be performed by a choir for the first time.

Born in the northern coastal city of Hai Phong, Van Cao initially composed romantic ballads like Thu Co Lieu (Lonely Autumn), Suoi Mo (Dream Spring) and Cung Dan Xua (Old Melody).

In 1942, he started to follow the revolutionary movement and composed patriotic marching songs, followed by songs like "Truong Ca Song Lo" (Lo River Epic), "Lang Toi" (My Village), "Ngay Mua" (Harvest Day) and "Tien Ve Hanoi" (Marching to Hanoi), which reflected how enthusiastic Vietnamese people were to fight the French invaders.

Earlier this month, the Vietnam Writers' Association published a poetry collection by Van Cao and organised a workshop on the book.

At an exhibition titled "Van Cao of 18 Years Ago", those who are too young to be familiar with the artist can see 27 photos of Van Cao and his friends by photographer Nguyen Dinh Toan. The exhibit will be held at Vietnamese Culture Space from November 15-17.

Toan, who works at Xua & Nay (Then & Now) magazine, specialises in taking photos of celebrities. He started taking photos of the composer in 1987. "I went to his house every day between 9am and 3pm," Toan recalls. "He never asked to see the photos, just sat silently, thought deeply and drank wine while I worked."

Many musicians, painters, poets, fans attended a ceremony in Hanoi on November 12 to mark the 90th birth anniversary of late musician Van Cao who was not only an outstanding representative of Vietnamese music but also a great poet and painter.-VNA