Foreign Experts Applaud Vibrant Guitarist Hub in Vietnam

Many artists, music experts, and instrument makers who attended the 5th Hanoi International Guitar Festival 2023 were amazed by the remarkable transformations happening in Vietnam's music scene.


The 5th Hanoi International Guitar Festival was successfully held on October 19 – 22 at the Hanoi College of Art. The theme “Manuel Adalid” was named after the famous Spanish guitar maker Manuel Adalid.

Preserving traditional heritage through music

Foreign guests at the 5th Hanoi International Guitar Festival 2023 claimed that the event was a good opportunity for guitar players and guitar makers from all over the world to learn more about the guitarist hub in Vietnam. The country offers a large number of good guitar players, regardless of their ages and years of training. Also, there is a vibrant music scene where the charms of traditional and modern guitar music combine.

According to the Japanese guitar maker So Kimishima, the event also showed that there is a connection between music from Asian countries even from ancient times.

Foreign Experts Praise The Vibrant Guitarist Hub in Vietnam
So Kimishima (Japan) participated in The 5th Hanoi International Guitar Festival 2023 as a judge and a guitar-making instructor (Photo: So Kimishima’s Facebook).

He was amazed by Vietnamese artist’s performances at the festival. Their love for music transformed into passionate recitals. Their recreation of traditional music touched the hearts of audiences from different cultures.

So Kimishima is the grandson of the legendary Japanese guitar maker Masaru Kohno. He has been a disciple of Japanese guitar maker Masaki Sakurai for 16 years.

Also, he was deeply impressed when assisting in the guitar-making workshops.

“[In our workshop] we learned from Spanish makers and succeeded in creating guitars that are resistant to breakage even in a country like Japan, where the climate changes rapidly. We hope that projects like this one will give both sides [Vietnam and Japan] a chance to experience the art of other countries and to find the good qualities of their own countries,” said So Kimishima.

Building a playground for young talents

One of the highlights of the festival is the young talent competition. The tournament lasted for three days, welcoming a total of about 50 amateur guitar players to compete in 4 different categories.

Foreign Experts Praise The Vibrant Guitarist Hub in Vietnam
American-Vietnamese musician An Tran gave masterclass lessons to young players at the Hanoi International Guitar Festival 2023 (Photo: Bui Xuan Truong)

American-Vietnamese musician An Tran shared that he gained a new perspective on the music scene in Vietnam thanks to participating in the event as a member of the jury board, an instructor, and a performer.

Dr. An Tran is on the faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) and Northern Illinois University (NIU). He also serves as a board member of the Chicago Classical Guitar Society.

“This is my first time [participating in this festival.] I am most impressed by the contestants’ talents. There is much improvement in the Vietnamese players, however, it is still very important to pay attention to studying the pieces, not just the techniques. So that they can fully understand what the recitals are about,” exclaimed An Tran.

The professor explained that there are many factors determining the quality of guitar recitals. While musicians sharpen their skills through working with instructors, they must attempt to become one with the music pieces. This will help them find their own identity as musicians. The more analyzing and studying they do, the easier they will level up and stand out.

Zoey Nguyễn