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Travels with Music

Donna Stoering

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Listen for Life's Featured Artist:

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo

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Van-Anh Vanessa Vo dedicates her life to creating music on the dan Tranh (16-string zither) and other traditional instruments of her culture, fusing her traditional Vietnamese foundation with a freshness of new structures and compositions.

Since settling in California, she has been a collaborator and solo artist with such musicians and groups as Kronos Quartet, Nguyen Le, Paul McCandless, Ali Ryerson, Charles Loos, SOMEI Taiko Ensemble, Wobbly World, Winnie Wong and the China Spirit Music Ensemble as well as lending her talents to fundraising events for several non- profit organizations. Continually cultivating the beauty and versatility of the dan Tranh to feature her beloved instrument in an international music genre, Van-Anh has been co-composer and arranger for the film Daughter from Danang (2002) which was nominated for an Oscar® and won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary. She has also been a co-composer and performer on the soundtrack for the Emmy® Award-winning program Bolinao 52 (2008), and the multiple award-winning film A Village Called Versailles (2009).

Recently, Van-Anh released her newest CD “She’s Not She” with award-winning composer Do. Ms Van-Anh began studying the dan tranh from the age of four, and graduated with distinction from the Vietnam Academy of Music. In 1995, Van-Anh won the championship in the Vietnam National Dan Tranh Competition along with the first prize for best solo performance of modern folk music. She has since performed in more than fourteen countries and recorded in many broadcast programs inside and outside of Vietnam. Her first CD “Twelve Months, Four Seasons” was released in 2002.  She lives in California where she teaches dan tranh and other Vietnamese traditional instruments, and has been chosen to be a speaker and performer at the TEDx conference held there in October 2011.

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo has been a highly valued member of the Listen for Life family since 2010, when she was one of 120 international musicians who generously donated their cultural gifts to perform in Listen for Life’s annual UN International Peace Day ( music events that we held in the United States, UK, and Eastern Europe. She has been helping to plan and prepare this special program for Carnegie Hall and beyond, as she is excited to represent her Vietnamese culture and instruments in other locations and venues.