PEA Musicians Wow Concertgoers in Vietnam on ”Peace and Innovation” Tour

'I have never heard a group of teenagers reach such a standard,' writes a concertgoer. 'It was of London concert hall standard.'

By
Nicole Pellaton
March 17, 2015

Over spring break PEA’s two premier ensembles – Concert Choir and Chamber Orchestra – traveled the length of Vietnam, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, performing concerts of classical Western music and Vietnamese folk songs.

Their first concert, held at the Hanoi Cheo Theatre on March 10, garnered rave reviews:

”The Vietnamese music was a revelation, and the Phillips Exeter Academy pupils were performing at a level – both orchestrally and vocally –  that was beyond imagination, not only for its disciplined skill but its completely sensitive engagement with the music,” writes a concertgoer. ”I have never heard a group of teenagers reach such a standard. It was of London concert hall standard.”

 

During the 14-day tour, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Vietnam, the ensembles partnered with musicians and vocalists from the Vietnam National Academy of Music and from the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music.

 

 

The 28-voice Concert Choir, under the direction of Kristofer Johnson, and the 24-person Chamber Orchestra, with conductors Peter Schultz and Rohan Smith, performed American and European selections by: Leonard Bernstein, John Philip Sousa, Scott Joplin, Dolly Parton, Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Francis Poulenc, Gabriel Fauré, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Arcangelo Corelli, William Billings and more. They also prepared two Vietnamese folk songs, Trong Com and Lý Kéo Chài, arranged especially for the tour by Vietnamese musician and composer Vân-Ánh Võ.

 

 

PEA’s ensembles performed from the repertoire at these locations: 

March 10, 2015
Hanoi Cheo Theatre, Hanoi
– Concert includes performances by actors and musicians of the esteemed Hanoi Cheo Theatre, and ends with a joint performance by PEA and Cheo musicians of Duong Truong Duyen Phan and He Moi-That Lung Xanh.

March 11, 2015
Vietnam National Academy of Music, Hanoi
– Concert includes traditional Vietnamese music performed by students from VNAM, and concludes with joint performances by the Concert Choir and 10 singers from VNAM of three songs from Bernstein’s Candide and Trong Com.

March 14, 2015
Hue Academy of Music, Hue

March 16, 2015
Center for Culture and Sports, Hoi An

March 19, 2015
Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music, Ho Chi Minh City
 – Concert includes joint performances by the Concert Choir and singers from the HCMC Conservatory of Music of three songs from Bernstein’s Candide, Trong Com and Lý Kéo Chài.

March 21, 2015
Diocesan Boys’ School, Hong Kong

We’d like to thank the many who have supported this tour, including:
Richard Rodgers Music Fund
Dr. Herbert Zipper Fund
Embassy of the United States, Hanoi
U.S. Consulate, Ho Chi Minh City
Nguyen Anh Tuan, The Boston Global Forum
Vietnam National Academy of Music
National Favored Artist Thanh Ngoan, Director of Hanoi Cheo Theatre
Hue Academy of Music, Hue 
Center for Culture and Sports, Hoi An
Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music
Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
Gayle Tsien, vice chairman, Central Trading & Development Group
The Concert Choir and Chamber Orchestra Parents