Author Archive

Apr 04 2018

The Story of the Vietnamese Symphony

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The documentary Vietnam Symphony is about the Hanoi Conservatory of Music (now called the Vietnam National Academy of Music) during the Vietnam War. When the first bombing raid by the US occurred, the Vietnamese Government moved all of the schools in the country from the cities to the countryside where they were less susceptible to bombings. The conservatory was relocated to a small village called Xung Phu where students and teachers had to leave their family and friends for the duration of the war. They brought their own instruments, bringing larger instruments like pianos via trucks and trains, the teachers and students of the conservatory had to do all the moving. Along with this, they dug an underground campus with pathways between classrooms so they could stay underground at all times away from possible bombings. These efforts show how dedicated they were to continue to teach and learn music despite the war. The group lessons were taught in the underground classrooms but individual lessons were often taught above ground in villager’s houses because there was enough space to do so. The conservatory only had one piano for all of its students so it was used 24 hours per day every day and students would take shifts practicing. The generation of Vietnamese musicians that came from this era of the school is known for having extreme passion in their singing and musical play due to having to be relocated and fearing for their lives during the war.