Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ

dan tranh zither

Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ is one of the finest performers of Vietnamese traditional instruments in the world and a rapidly emerging composer. She dedicates her life to creating music by blending the wonderfully unique sounds of Vietnamese instruments with other music genres, and fusing deeply rooted Vietnamese musical traditions with fresh new structures and compositions.

In 1995, Vân-Ánh won the championship title in the Vietnamese National Đàn Tranh (Zither) Competition. Since settling in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2001, Vân-Ánh has focused on collaborating with musicians across different music genres to create new works, bringing Vietnamese traditional music to a wider audience and preserving her cultural legacy through teaching. In 2002, Vân-Ánh released her first CD, Twelve Months, Four Seasons. In 2009, she released She’s Not She with award-winning composer Bảo Đỗ. In 2013, she released her third CD, Three-Mountain Pass, with the Kronos Quartet as her guest artist. This work has brought positive reviews and high praises by the NPR, BBC “The World,” L.A. Times and others.

Vân-Ánh has also been collaborator and guest soloist with the Kronos Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Southwest Chamber Music, Oakland Symphony, Jazz artists, Rap artists, and other World Music artists. Additionally, she has been co-composer and arranger for the Oscar® nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner for Best Documentary, Daughter from Danang (2002), the Emmy® Awards winning film and soundtrack for Bolinao 52 (2008), and the winner of multiple “Best Documentary” and “Audience Favorite” awards, A Village Called Versailles (2009). She has presented her music at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, NPR, Houston Grand Opera, Yerba Buena Performing Arts Center, many World Music festivals throughout the U.S., and London Olympic Games 2012 Music Festival. She has been invited and participated as a screening judge in the World Music category for both the 2015 & 2016 Grammy® Awards. In addition to the zither (đàn Tranh), Vân-Ánh also performs as soloist on the monochord (đàn Bầu), the bamboo xylophone (đàn T’rung), traditional drums (trống) and many other traditional instruments.

Recently, in collaboration with Asian American for Community Involvement, a NGO who serves refugees for 40 years in Santa Clara County, Vân-Ánh has awarded $40,000 from Creative Work Fund to work on her next coming production which is scheduled to premier at Kennedy Center in March 2016. The Odyssey – from Vietnam to America aims to highlight the incredible power of the human spirit, the value of freedom and the will to survive of the Vietnamese Boat People. Beyond that, The Odyssey also wants to deliver the message of Forgiveness, Peace and Unity.

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