An Tran

Born and raised in Hanoi, Vietnam, An Tran is considered a “Vietnamese guitar virtuoso” by the Austin Classical Guitar. After winning the 1st prize of the Vietnam National Guitar Competition at the age of 12, the internationally acclaimed guitarist has performed throughout North America and Asia. Deeply connected to his native country of Vietnam, An is bringing the traditional music of Vietnam to international concert stages. The 2017-2018 season brought An to different parts of the world, including his Texas debut in Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth as well as his Asia tour with destinations such as Hanoi and Bangkok in Fall 2018. An is the first prize winner of 2018 New Orleans International Guitar Competition and 2018 University of Rhode Island Guitar Competition, among many others.

Quotes

 

Classical Guitar Magazine:  “An Tran’s just-released Stay, My Beloved (Vietnamese Guitar Music) is sure to make the year-end Top Ten list of my favorite classical guitar albums of the year. Still undeniably a classical-guitar album, with reference points Western audiences will recognize–highly virtuosic passages  that display what a gifted guitarist An Tran truly is, whether effortlessly flying through dazzlingly speedy runs, or complex rhythmic shifts, unusual harmonies, or the many “effects” he employs.”


Tonebase: “The album itself is structured in a way that brings the listener on a journey through Vietnam.”

Six String Journal: “There is perhaps no better way to experience a culture than to listen to its folk music. It evokes myth, stories, history, and landscape. An Tran’s magical playing does all of this…”

Review

Video Pick of the Week: An Tran Plays the Traditional Vietnamese Tune ‘Stay, My Beloved’; Plus A Review of His Great New Album

APRIL 25, 2020

Classical Guitar 

Stay, My Beloved (Vietnamese Guitar Music)
An Tran
(Frameworks Records)

 

I know it’s only late April as I write this, but I can already tell that An Tran’s just-released Stay, My Beloved (Vietnamese Guitar Music) is sure to make the year-end Top Ten list of my favorite classical guitar albums of the year. Although An Tran has spent much of his still-young life studying and playing in the U.S. (he earned his master’s degree under Ben Verdery at Yale), he is still very much a product of his native Vietnam, where he started playing guitar at the age of 8, tutored by a guitarist named Nguyen Hai Thoai, and later attended the Vietnam National Academy of Music, where he studied with Vu Viet Cuong. Though his guitar education in the U.S., years of participating (successfully) in competitions, and also teaching have given him a thorough grounding in the classical guitar repertoire of every era and style, it’s clear he’s never forgotten his roots in Vietnam.

The proof is in every minute of his Stay, My Beloved album, which contains seven solo guitar pieces written by or arranged from traditional songs by  a pair of contemporary Vietnamese composers, Nguyen The-An and Dang Ngoc Long. Now, I am an unabashed fan of many Asian music forms, from traditional Chinese and Japanese instrumental music, to Javanese gamelan, to Indian ragas and other folk forms. I’ve had relatively little exposure to the music of Vietnam, but I can still recognize in it elements that I’ve heard and loved in the folk music of other Asian countries, particularly China. And though many of the traditional instruments of Vietnamese folk music are unique to that region, they have analogs in other countries—zithers; fiddles; flutes; all sorts of stringed instruments of varying numbers of strings, some akin to banjos, others more lute-like; etc. Vietnamese music also employs various modal scales and particular intervals that give the music much of its character. I don’t have the knowledge or vocabulary to describe what’s going on musically to create the skipping quality of some melodic lines, or the spare, deliberate approach to others, where the combination of notes and the way they fall together, perhaps encased in an irregular rhythmic thrumming, is so distinctively compelling. But I appreciate its haunting beauty and also its power.

Stay, My Beloved is filled with those moments (including ones where An Tran is clearly mimicking the sounds of traditional instruments), and yet is still undeniably a classical-guitar album, with reference points Western audiences will recognize–highly virtuosic passages  that display what a gifted guitarist An Tran truly is, whether effortlessly flying through dazzlingly speedy runs, or complex rhythmic shifts, unusual harmonies, or the many “effects” he employs: damping and snapping strings, bending notes, percussive strumming up and down the neck, fluttering cascades of notes; his uniquely Asian tremolo. It’s an amazing potpourri of styles and approaches, but they all hang together marvelously, and coalesce into a sort of  enormous impressionist watercolor that depicts landscapes and the sounds of nature, and tell stories and talk about human emotions. (An Tran’s descriptive liner notes about each tune are very illuminating in this regard.)

This album can purchased and/or streamed through Amazon, and iTunes/Apple Music, bought on An Tran’s website, and streamed on Spotify and YouTube.

Videos

Photos

Click photo to download

Sample Program

Mauro Giuliani
Gran Sonata Eroica, Op. 150

Domenico Scarlatti
3 Keyboard Sonatas    
I. Sonata in G Major, K.146   
II. Sonata in A Major, K.208 
III. Sonata in D Major, K.178

William Walton
5 Bagatelles for Guitar
No. 1. Allegro
No. 2. Lento
No. 5. Con slancio

Alberto Ginastera
Guitar Sonata, Op. 47
I. Esordio
II. Scherzo
III. Canto
IV. Finale

Heitor Villa-Lobos
3 Preludes for Guitar
Prelude 1 (Homage to the Brazilian sertanejo)
Prelude 3 (Homage to Bach)
Prelude 4 (Homage to the Brazilian Indian)

Dang Ngoc Long
Beo Dat May Troi (Vietnamese Folk Song)
Rain
Central Highlands of Vietnam

Nguyen The An
Nguoi Oi Nguoi O Dung Ve (Vietnamese Folk Song)

Roland Dyens
Libra Sonatine
I. India 
II. Largo 
III. Fuoco

Bio

An Tran
 

Guitar

Praised for his “gorgeous playing” with “flawless technique” by the KnoxTNToday and considered as a “Vietnamese guitar virtuoso” by Austin Classical Guitar, guitarist An Tran has captivated audiences throughout North America and Asia. Most recent seasons brought An to different parts of the world, including recitals for Bangkok Guitar Society, Austin Classical Guitar, Toronto International Guitar Series and many more. Upcoming 2019-20 season highlight include An’s solo concert at the prestigious Segovia Classical Guitar Series in Chicago, USA in May 2020.

Deeply connected to his native country of Vietnam, the internationally acclaimed guitarist is committed to bring Vietnamese music to the international concert halls. An is working with Vietnamese composers to create new compositions for the guitar. Most recent work, Ru Con (Lullaby), was written for An by composer/guitarist Nguyễn Thế An in February 2019 (World Premiered in Toronto, March 2019). A debut album is to be released in late 2019 as well as an all-Vietnamese recording in 2020.

An has been invited to various guitar festivals to teach, perform and judge such as New Orleans International Guitar Festival, Hamilton International Guitar Festival (Canada), Lone Star Guitar Festival (Texas), among others. He has won over 13 international guitar competitions and music awards, including top prizes from Berlin International Guitar Competition, University of Rhode Island Guitar Competition and Society of American Musicians Guitar Competition, to name a few.

An Tran has studied in masterclasses with world-renowned guitarists, including Oscar Ghiglia, David Russell, Eliot Fisk, Alvaro Pierri, Raphaella Smits, Hopkinson Smith, Marcin Dylla, Shin-Ichi Fukuda and SoloDuo.  After receiving his initial musical training at the Vietnam National Academy of Music, An completed his B.A in Music from North Park University studying with Dr. Julie Goldberg and Dr. Tom Zelle. He received his Master of Music from Yale University under the guidance of Benjamin Verdery. At Yale, An was awarded the Southeast Asia Studies Fellowship. Currently, he is a Dorothy and Carl Johnson endowed Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at Northwestern University, where he studies with Anne Waller.

An Tran is an exclusive artist of Classics Alive Artists in Los Angeles, USA. An performs on guitars made by Stephan Connor in Boston, USA. Follow An on Instagram/Facebook @antranguitar. Dates and more information can be found at www.antran.org.

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