Question: You recently won the prizes of “Finest Artist” and ‘Finest Organiser’ at the Hanoi Grapevine Finest 2020. Does it seem that your dream of becoming a versatile artist has been realised?
Pianist Luu Duc Anh: I always want to follow a career in classical music as a versatile artist, who not only delivers performances but also teaches and organises events.
Some artists love to be pure performers who practice hard every day to deliver classical music pieces on the stage and receive warm applause and appreciation from the public. However, they have to shoulder a heavy burden as they have hundreds of concerts every year. The others, including me, choose a more balanced direction by teaching and performing at the same time.
I have worked as a lecturer at the Vietnam National Academy of Music since 2018. I also founded the Inspirito School of Music with the hope that each teacher will become a direct source of inspiration to fuel the passion for art among students, true to its name “Inspirito”, which implies “inspiration”.
We have helped organise the concerts Evolution No.1 and Evolution No.2 in Hanoi, and the ‘Music of the 20th century’ music series, which were both parts of our journey to bring classical music closer to Vietnamese audiences.
In addition, I also like to work as an event organiser. Although I didn’t receive methodological training in this field, I have learnt from observation at events both at home and abroad that I have participated in. I joined three young colleagues, including Nguyen Phu Son, Nguyen Duc Anh and Duong Vu Minh to establish MAESTOSO, a start-up project organising classical concerts.
MAESTOSO has successful organised many programmes at the Hanoi Opera House, the Vietnam National Academy of Music, and the Cua Bac Church in Hanoi.
The acknowledgment of the Hanoi Grapevine Finest 2020 of my dual role as an artist and organiser once again affirmed that returning to Vietnam was the right decision.
Pianist Luu Duc Anh named Finest Artist at the Hanoi Grapevine Finest 2020 (Photo: baodautu.vn)
Many people questioned your decision to return Vietnam. You had an established reputation in the Europe, but you decided to return to Vietnam, which has never been considered a paradise of classical music. Can you tell us more about that?
I hadn’t thought of simply pursuing a career as a professional artist. I gained such good academic study results that my mother hoped that I would become a doctor and save people’ lives.
However, I did not pass the entrance exam to my dream high school. I was sad, but at the same time I realised that I would have more fun and enjoyment at the Vietnam National Academy of Music where I had more friends and could live in an interesting environment full of music. This motivated me to practice harder with the piano. I have chosen music as a destination for my life ever since.
I continued my studies in Belgium and Switzerland. Studying in a favourable environment I received training from talented artists, I even thought that Europe would be my second home. However, when I stayed longer, I realised it would be not easy to turn my dreams into reality there.
On the rare occasions I was back in Vietnam, I had the opportunity to perform at several small-scale programmes where the auditoriums were always filled with audiences, showing me classical music was still developing in Vietnam. It motivated me to return Vietnam in 2018.
The first days after MAESTOSO was established were not easy for us as we made no profit. It was then when we decided that we had to seek sponsors and have a stable income of our own in order to maintain our non-profit performance activities. Therefore, we opened the Inspirito School of Music, whose revenue facilitated MAESTOSO’s operations.
Running and managing MAESTOSO and the Inspirito School of Music at the same time, I found that many of my young colleagues have struggled to earn a living because of the lack of a true music environment which can keep their passion alive.
I think it is my responsibility to take on greater things, including nurturing and training future talent, organising concerts which help artists show off their talent to the public while narrowing the gap between the audience and academic music. All for a brighter future for Vietnamese classical music. By joining hands together, that dream will come true.
Have you ever experienced pressure from the fame of your father, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Luu Quang Minh, a leading master of accordion and jazz, and your brother – excellent pianist Luu Hong Quang?
When I decided to follow a musical career, I had examples to follow. My father was retired and my brother is now living and working abroad. My family members always support each other in their work.
Thank you so much for sharing!