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Music is the meaning of life

Meeting the musician Do Hong Quan, one will always see him busy with numbers of works. He evidently is a busy person and dedicated to his work. But one undeniable thing, hidden behind that busy person, is his sensitive and romantic soul, an inspirationally musical soul. It seems that music has been flowing in the veins of the musician who has been attached to music for all his life while having many other responsibilities.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Musician Do Hong Quan

Musician Do Hong Quan was born on 1st August 1956 in Hanoi. His hometown is in Thai Hoc, Binh Giang, Hai Duong province. Since 8 years old, with the guidance of the music teacher Thai Thi Lien, he had learnt to play the piano. Graduated Intermediate Level in Piano and Composition, he continued his undergraduate studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Moscow, former Soviet Union) under the training of Professor A. Leman from 1976 to 1981. He graduated in excellence with the Concerto for violin and the symphony orchestra, and was one of very few Vietnamese musicians who was proposed to transfer straight to graduate level (from 1982 to 1985). Returning to Vietnam in 1986, he has been teaching Music Composition and Arrangement in Vietnam National Academy of Music for 25 years continuously until now, while at the same time composes, arranges and conducts many largescale concerts. He also completed course on Composing and Conducting at Paris Conservatory (from 1990 to 1991).

In the past years, Musician Do Hong Quan has written instrumental works soundtracks, stage music… including: Vietnam Rhapsodie, Hong Hoang ballet performance, Tieng Vong (The Echo) nocturne, Mo dat (Breaking land) fantasy-symphonie, the Trio for Flute, Toccata for Piano Concerto for violin and the orchestra, Variations for Piano, the Four Pictures for oboe, percussions and Piano, String Quartet, Five basic elements for Percussions, and the most recent is The color of Spring for monochord zither and the traditional symphony orchestra, Tro Mot for the symphony orchestra (2007), Image of flying dragon (2010), Stone’s Words, the First Leaf, Rice Flower, Notes to Luc River and Huyen Mountain. His instrumental works has been performed in many countries such as: France, Russia, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Uzbekistan, Latvia; published in Russia and the US (2002). In vocal field, he is the musical composer for two new theater work: New Love Story (based on the Love Story novel, 1989) and Miss Silami (1991) that has been performed at Vietnam Youth Theater…, and the author of dozens of songs. He also published the Audio Album of The First Leaf (1996). He is the composer of Vietnam ASEAN song, Song of the Labor Union, Goodbye Seagames, The common blue roof… He was also given many awards: the Award of Vietnam Musician Association in 1993, 1994, 1995, 2008; several awards for Music in National Film Festivals; First Prize in the Composing for Environment Competition organized by the UNEF (UNESCO) with the song The common blue roof (2001). At the National Representative Congress of Vietnam Musician Association in July 2010, he was re-elected as the President of the 8th term of Vietnam Musician Association. Musician Do Hong Quan was also given the National Award on Literature – Art in 2012.

Mentioning the musician Do Hong Quan, people often talk about him acting in the “Thang Cuoi” (The shepherd on the moon) movie in 1989 as a charming encouragement. This predestination also brought him a record that no one has had before, 6 musical awards in Film Festivals in 19861990-1993-1995-2000-2004. Those are the works written for the following movies: The scent of burning grass; Wharf of widows; Course de nuit; The sawyers; My sweetheart is getting married…

Musician Do Hong Quan said that, composing music for movie or theater is very similar to composing instrumental music for an orchestra with a fixed theme. The composer must have a true passion and strong feeling to attract listeners. Not only music in movie, any genre of music requires devotion and melodies created with thinking, besides gifted talent. Music also must not surrender tradition, must not separate from tradition. That is an eternal academic philosophy that modern music must originate from tradition. From tradition going forward with creative passion, that is the true music. Musician Do Hong Quan imbues with musical philosophy of a teacher and has been pursuing his music career, on the principle of absorbing the quintessence of traditional music, to create novel musical works. That also create a trustworthy music brand under the name of Do Hong Quan when he was elected as the President of the Music Association from 2005 up to now, through three continuous terms with the most recent one from 2015 – 2020.

Musician Do Hong Quan said that, music to him is as his whole world. Besides, his family, including his famous and beautiful Chieu Xuan and two angelic daughters, and his current job in Vietnam Musician Association, Musician Do Hong Quan has also been working as a teacher in the Vietnam National Academy of Music for the last few decades. It was also the place where he had been nurtured from the earliest days on his way in building music career. Acquiring the Associate Professor is an important achievement in his training career for the new, young and modern musical talents. Many of his students has grown up and contributed significant creation in different types of music. Those include famous musicians such as Vu Thiet, Vu Thao, Luong Minh, Tran Nhat Duong… or the younger ones such as Pham Minh Thanh, Do Bao, Luu Ha An… Mentioning about this, sometimes he himself said that teaching and training are actually most suitable for him. It is the joy besides his passion in composing musical works. His musical philosophy has been spread and became the launching pad for the successive generations, and they have also been recognized in the contemporary music market.

Besides being a talented artist, the musical community also spread about the cooking talent of Musician Do Hong Quan. He himself also admit, cooking in the kitchen is his enjoyment. That talent was potential since his childhood, when he was only 8 years old evacuating to Xuan Phu, Yen Dung, Ha Bac (now belong to Bac Giang province) under the Vietnam Musical School. One time his mother sent him sausages and pork floss, and the boy of that day already knew how to cut the sausages, mix it with pork floss and eggs, put in a tin and borrow the public stove for heating. Those are culinary memories marked with the time of this talented musician. He considers culinary very close to music. To start cooking, we have to imagine how the outcome could be; in the process we also have to know what and when to add, or how to add spices, and just a little false adjustment, that dish can become a bad food. Music is the same, there are slow, fast, climax and quite parts. The nature of music is creation, and so is culinary, that is experimentations.

At the moment, Musician Do Hong Quan said that he is still spending much time for general works, but then still have to have a corner to sit quietly for composing. To him, the music career is a one-way path with full of passion. It is the meaning of his life, therefore no matter in which position and time, he will always create beautiful and remarkable works in the flow of Vietnamese music!

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