In collaboration with KU Musicians for an Anti-Racist College (MARC), the Midwest Music Research Collective (MMRC) presents the next Lunch Lecture of Spring 2022! 

James Alexander is a DMA candidate in cello performance at the University of Kansas with a cognate in orchestral conducting. His current research focuses on cello performance in the music of P. Q. Phan, Vân-Ánh Võ, and Nhật Minh Nguyễn and the relationship between traditional and concert music aesthetics. As a part of the interdisciplinary Amorphous Collective he seeks to understand and explore intersections of creativity. He will attend New Music on the Point as a performer and composer this summer. 

The musical history of Vietnam is indebted to the country’s fifty-four different ethnic groups as well as influences from countries near and far outside its current borders. Traditional Vietnamese music has changed immensely throughout centuries of existence. A specific kind of Vietnamese music, influenced by colonialism and war, is represented in the traditions created by Vietnamese musicians living outside of Vietnam. The music created by these musicians draws from traditional and contemporary styles of both Western and Vietnamese music. Their respective training and lives in Vietnam and the US have led to their different musical approaches. My research focuses on their approach to composition, their goals, their intended listening experience, and my suggested guidance for potential performers of their music. My goal is to describe this integration using three pieces that use cello written by PQ Phan, Vân-Ánh Võ, and Nhật Minh Nguyễn. Each of these composers was born in Vietnam and now lives in the United States. My document explores how the compositions of these three composers combine specific elements of Vietnamese traditional music with techniques of Western classical music and USAian concert music–the music studied in universities and performed at venues in the United States. 

  • Ailin Sarsenbayeva

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