An Tran is an internationally acclaimed Vietnamese Classical Guitarist and winner of over 13 international competitions and awards. An has been praised for his “gorgeous playing” and “flawless technique” by the KnoxTNToday and received many accolades for his dynamic artistry including being hailed as a “Vietnamese guitar virtuoso” by Austin Classical Guitar. Deeply connected to his native country of Vietnam, An is bringing the traditional music of Vietnam to international concert stages. His newest and highly anticipated solo album entitled “Stay, My Beloved” was included in the "Recordings of the Year" by Chicago Tribune and was described by Classical Guitar Magazine as "to make the year-end Top Ten classical guitar albums of the year". An Tran is on the faculty of Northern Illinois University and is an exclusive artist of D’Addario.
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…”
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
Stay, My Beloved (Vietnamese Guitar Music)
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.)
Click photo to download
Gran Sonata Eroica, Op. 150
3 Keyboard Sonatas
I. Sonata in G Major, K.146
II. Sonata in A Major, K.208
III. Sonata in D Major, K.178
5 Bagatelles for Guitar
No. 1. Allegro
No. 2. Lento
No. 5. Con slancio
Guitar Sonata, Op. 47
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)
Central Highlands of Vietnam
Nguyen The An
Nguoi Oi Nguoi O Dung Ve (Vietnamese Folk Song)
An Tran is an internationally acclaimed Vietnamese Classical Guitarist and winner of over 13 international competitions and awards. Based in Chicago, USA, An has been praised for his “gorgeous playing” and “flawless technique” by the KnoxTNToday, and received many accolades for his dynamic artistry including being hailed as a “Vietnamese guitar virtuoso” by Austin Classical Guitar. Crafting his signature style by merging world cultures with Vietnamese classical music he, was invited to teach, perform and judge at various festivals including the Milwaukee Latino Arts Guitar Festival, Latin American International Guitar Festival, New Orleans International Guitar Festival, Hamilton International Guitar Festival (Canada), and Lone Star Guitar Festival (Texas), to name a few.
Building on the momentum of his many successes, An collaborated with Vietnamese composers Nguyen The-An and Dang Ngoc Long for his latest 7-track solo album entitled “Stay, My Beloved”, which was included in the "Recordings of the Year" by Chicago Tribune and was described by Classical Guitar Magazine as “to make the year-end Top Ten list of my favorite classical guitar albums of the year”. Released on Frameworks Records in April 2020, the album portrays varying elements of traditional instruments expressed by An’s virtuosic guitar playing. Taking listeners on an emotional journey through the rich soundscapes of Vietnam, An is set to grace the stages in Germany, France and Spain on his upcoming European CD release tour in 2021.
An has captivated audiences throughout North America and Asia, including concerts for Bangkok Guitar Society, Toronto International Guitar Series and will be performing at the prestigious Segovia Classical Guitar Series in Chicago. He won several International Guitar Competitions in Berlin, New Orleans, Rhode Island and the Society of American Musicians in Chicago, among many others. Gaining inspiration from the interconnectedness of music, cultures and people, An developed and refined his skills and techniques for over two decades and studied in masterclasses with many world-renowned guitarists.
An Tran is on the faculty at Northern Illinois University. He received his B.A in Music and the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from North Park University, studying with Julie Goldberg and Tom Zelle. An received his Master of Music along with the Southeast Asia Studies Fellowship from Yale University, studying with Benjamin Verdery. Currently a Dorothy and Carl Johnson endowed Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at Northwestern University studying with Anne Waller, An continues to transcend boundaries with his music.
An Tran is an exclusive artist of D’Addario and managed by Jean Schreiber Management/Classics Alive Artists in Los Angeles, USA. An performs on guitars made by Stephan Connor in Boston, USA. Follow An on Instagram/Facebook @antranguitar. Concert dates and more information can be found at www.antran.org.