My Awarded Projects
Songs of Protest
Empowering voices and elevating roles for women of color to address social issues through innovative lens of Vietnamese traditional musicCreated By: Van-Anh Vo
Van-Anh VoFremont, CA
Vân-Ánh Võ devotes her life-long passion and mastery of the dan tranh zither to the creation of distinctive music blended with a cultural essence that can only come from this unique Vietnamese instrument. Among her accomplishments are the 2009 Emmy® Award-winning soundtrack for the documentary “Bolinao 52”, which she co-composed and recorded, and the soundtrack for the Sundance best documentary and 2003 Academy Awards® nominee “Daughter from Danang”. Van-Anh also co-composed and recorded for the recent documentary “A Village Called Versailles”, winner of the New Orleans Film Festival Audience Award.
Beside the Kronos Quartet, she has also been collaborator and guest soloist with such artists as Southwest Chamber Music, Grand Houston Opera, and international jazz artist including Nguyên Lê, Paul McCandless, and Ali Ryerson. In addition to touring internationally, Vân-Ánh has presented her music at Carnegie Hall, Zellerback Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and as a guest artist for the Kronos Quartet at the Olympic Games 2012 Music Festival. In 2002, Vân-Ánh released her first CD, Twelve Months, Four Seasons; and in 2009, she released She’s Not She with award-winning composer Do Bao. Recently, she released her third CD Three-Mountain Pass with the Kronos Quartet as her guest artist.
Vo’s “Three Mountain Pass,” which includes her music and traditional Vietnamese pieces played on a number of Vietnamese instruments interestingly begs the question of what is American music, especially since a knockout on the disc is her transcription of French composer Erik Satie’s “Gnossienne No. 3.” – Mark Swed; Los Angeles Times
The dramatic interest, unusual instruments and playing techniques coupled with stellar musicianship, keen visual interest and a stage presence to die for all contributed to its status as a masterpiece. – Johnathon Bakan; SF Asian Music Examiner
The music is rhythmically compelling – it weaves a story through the notes; a walk in mysterious woods or whatever the imagination can conjure up. The music is quite hypnotic in nature, the notes of the stringed instruments in particular so malleable they can express a range of emotion in a single wavering note. – Anya Wassenberg; Art & Culture Maven
Vân-Ánh Võ is a mesmerisingly awesome, and Emmy award winning zither player (among other instruments), and someone who is not only fascinating to hear, but fun to watch. My entire exposure to zithers up to this point was the soundtrack to The Third Man, so I associated zithers with laid-back cool. Vân-Ánh takes it to a whole other level. She moves about that zither with the crazy self-confidence of someone who’s completely mastered an instrument, it’s pretty inspiring stuff … Vân-Ánh, on the other hand is energetic, striking poses behind them [Kronos Quartet], focused, iconic looking and always giving it her all. – London City Night Review, 2012 London Olympic
Her appearance was dramatic in stunning costume and headdress, her music was riveting, her stage presence theatrical, and her contribution to Vietnamese musical culture outstanding. – Heather Morris; Peninsula Review
In fact, the visuals [of All Clear] were so well incorporated into the rich and diverse sonic landscape that I felt like I was experiencing temporary synesthesia. My senses of sight and hearing merged into one. – Chloe Veltman; ArtsJournal
Vân-Ánh dedicates her life to creating music on the đàn tranh and fusing Vietnamese musical tradition with fresh new structures and compositions. Since settling in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2001, Vân-Ánh’s has focused on collaborating with musicians across different music genres to create new works, bringing Vietnamese traditional music to a wider audience, and preserving her cultural legacy through teaching.
In addition to đàn tranh, Vân-Ánh also performs as soloist on the monochord (đàn bầu), the 36-string hammered dulcimer (đàn tam thập lục), the bamboo xylophone (đàn t’rung), the open-ended bamboo tubes (đàn K’lông pút), traditional drums (trống), and Chinese zither (guzheng). She lives and teaches đàn tranh and other Vietnamese traditional instruments in Fremont, California. For more information, please go to www.vananhvo.com