Flautist Le Thu Huong: I belong to Vietnam
Her accumulation of "multiculturalism" from her study abroad in Denmark and the US is expected to significantly contribute to the development of Vietnamese classical music.
Feet can leave but the heart always stays
Q: Returning home after six years of studying abroad for a doctorate in flute in the US, what are your preparations?
A: American poet Oliver Wendell Holmes said: ““Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”. There is always a special motivation in my mind to lead me towards my homeland. Whenever I had the opportunity, I tried to participate cultural and musical projects that were considered “bridges” connecting Vietnam and the world.
I am proud to have achieved certain results during my long journey. Working with American and international colleagues, I have never forgotten that I am Vietnamese and tried to become a worthy representative. I have always respected the things I learned in your country, especially the working spirit and dedication of each individual to the community.
Q: We are living in a flat world of freedom, connection and creation. Is that your spirit in your first CD?
A: In my opinion, the concept of creation is a serious exercise with great exploration and experimentation rather than a spontaneous affair. I faced challenges when I made the album “Le Parys Fantasies” with French romantic pieces, many of which are familiar and famous such as sweet melodies through the embodiment of a gypsy Carmen or harmonies imbued with the Eastern philosophy of Claude Debussy. I had to try to make my pieces not be like the styles of other artists. Fortunately, my project was recorded in the concert hall of the University of North Texas, a world-standard concert hall with standard sound effects and modern recording techniques. It achieved the effect closest to my desire.
After listening to the album, many artists and audiences offered me their enthusiastic support. They said that they had finally heard these classics from a Vietnamese artist who has been well-trained in Vietnam, Denmark and the US for many years. This made me very happy and I feel that I have received positive energy to conduct the next projects.
Dynamism, dedication and connection
Q: You shared that the release of the album on digital platforms with international standards has a significance of global connection. How will you position yourself in that flow with a Western flute?
A: The inevitable trend of the times is that multinational music is shared on digital media and platforms where all geographical boundaries are blurred. I cannot approach listeners as easily and efficiently as possible. My album was also released on CD for audiences who are familiar with the old method of enjoying music and on LP Vinyl for those who prefer to listened in a nostalgic style.
I feel fortunate to have studied and trained not only in Vietnam but also in Europe and the US, the great cradles of classical music. I am also very proud to be the first Vietnamese flute player to obtain a PhD as an affirmation of the long journey full of challenges that I have experienced. At my graduation ceremony at the University of North Texas in the US in May, I was very moved to hear my name called along with the name of the country because I was a representative from Vietnam listed in the golden board of honour for the flute. I considered it not only my own result but also a common achievement of the national music.
Q: The invitation of a talented pianist in this collaborative project once again confirmed the borderless intersection of music in the new era. What is its significance to you?
A: I collaborated with Polish-American pianist Marcin Parys for the first time in 2017 when I invited him to perform with me in my doctoral report. Marcin is a seasoned artist who has won many international prizes, especially at the 20th edition of International Chopin Piano Competition. Through that performance, we discovered that there are many similarities in our aesthetic and musical thinking. We share the same passion and interest in romantic music, so we created a good effect. When I made the album “Le Parys Fantasies”, the first pianist that I thought of was Marcin Parys and fortunately, he accepted my invitation. There were quite a few difficulties in scheduling. We had to take advantage of every hour and minute to practice together and build the programme as carefully as possible. International artist Marcin is a perfectionist who has always been meticulous with his musical products. He requires perfection in each note and sentence. With that spirit, we really worked hard to produce a product that could be said to be to the best of our abilities and the conditions at that time. I admire his creativity and strict requirements while working. I am also very grateful and have learnt a lot from him.
Q: There are more and more young artists who studied abroad and returned to the homeland to contribute to Vietnam’s classical music. Do you have any hope for brighter development?
A: This is not a new trend as many artists have studied abroad, gained certain successes, and returned to serve the homeland. Vietnam’s music has developed thanks to the contributions and efforts mad by the senior artists who have made efforts and joined hand for a brighter future. Violist Bui Cong Duy, a musical talent who has received love from audiences, is one of the concrete proofs. He is not only my colleague but also a relative; therefore, I understand more than anyone else his dedications to national music. I also admire him as he gave up his brilliant career abroad to return home and join hands with other colleagues to train the next generations in terms of string instruments.
There are also many overseas Vietnamese artists who have contributed to connecting Vietnam with international environments in the field of education, training and performance.
The younger generation now has more options and opportunities than their elders. They represent the future with the mindset and enthusiasm of a new generation and new approaches. In my opinion, dynamism, dedication and connection are necessary and indispensable in the integration process.
Thank you very much!