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Hanoi to host concert and exhibition on Austrian composer Franz Liszt

The Austrian and Hungarian embassies will co-organise a piano concert and an exhibition on the life, cause and masterpieces of Austrian composer Franz Ferenc Liszt in Hanoi on November 4 to mark his 125th death anniversary.

Artist Martyn van den Hoek will perform the piano concert and organise a refresher course on the music of Liszt for piano students.

A photo exhibition on the Austrian composer’s lifetime will also be held, on this occasion. Both Hungary and Austria consider Liszt as a key figure that created important links between the two nations’ cultures.

A monochord virtuoso at 6

Six-year-old Ngo Thi Hoang Anh of the central province of Nghe An is a prodigy who expertly plays the dan bau, the traditional Vietnamese monochord.

Her parents Ngo Dinh Quy and Chu Thi Huyen say Anh often cried and sulked as a baby. One day, when she was crying on her mother’s shoulder, her grandfather took out a monochord and began to play. She immediately stopped crying and, instead, began to laugh with delight.

“Since then, every time she cried, I would play my monochord and she would be happy again,” Ngo Khac Duy, her grandfather, says.

Anh got many toys but reserved her love for a toy monochord.

When she turned six her grandfather decided to teach her how to play the instrument.

Playing a monochord involves plucking the string, touching it at specific harmonic positions, and controlling the sound with the right hand while holding the spout and varying the tension of the string with the left.

Anh learned quickly and began to perform two songs in less than a week, surprising her family and neighbors.

She not only hit the correct notes but also evoked emotion, managing to touch listeners’ hearts with her music.

As word of Anh’s talent spread, people began to travel hundreds of kilometers to see the six-year old girl perform.

Just three months after she began to learn Anh can now play 14 songs, some of which are considered difficult and often used in graduation exams at music schools -- like Vi Mien Nam (For Southern People), Len Ngan (Up to the Mountains), Xe Chi Luon Kim (Spinning Song).

When asked about developing Anh’s musical talent, her grandfather insisted that she had to study hard at school first.

“Now I only teach her during days off. It is more important to perform well at school.”

Fair in Belgium honours Vietnam’s cultural beauty

Vietnam has a total of 15 stalls at Charleroi Expo 2011 which opened at the international exhibition centre in Charleroi city, Belgium on October 31.

Present at the opening ceremony were Vietnamese ambassador to Belgium Pham Sanh Chau, and Belgian officials from Wallonie region, Hainaut province and Charlerio city.

In his speech, Vietnamese ambassador to Belgium Chau said the presence of Vietnam in the spotlight of the exhibition shows that relations between Vietnam and Belgium have continued to grow in all fields, especially in culture and trade.

The Vietnamese stalls cover an area of 1,200sq.m, displaying images, objects and models of One-Pillar Pagoda, Ha Long Bay, the former Hue imperial capital, Vietnamese craft villages, traditional clothes and products.

Visitors to the Vietnamese pavilion also have the chance to enjoy art performances.

Established 50 years ago, Charleroi Expo is the largest annual international event of its kind in Wallonie region, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.

This year’s exhibition will last until November 13.

Musician Nguyen Nam dies of cancer

Musician and producer Nguyen Nam passed away at 8 p.m. on Sunday at home after a long battle with cancer, reports Thanh Nien.

Nam was head of the music department of HCMC Television and vice general secretary of HCMC Music Association. He also created popular TV shows like Nhip cau am nhac (music link), Tieng hat truyen hinh TP.HCM (HCMC television voice), Ngoi sao tieng hat truyen hình (star of television voice) and Sai Gon tinh ca (Saigon, love song).

Although he didn’t compose many songs he penned some household favorites including Tinh ca cho em (love song for you), Xa roi mua dong (faraway winter), Dong song va tieng hat (the river and the voice), Con mai mua dong (forever winter) and Bay cao tieng hat uoc mo (fling high the voice of dream).

Diu dang sac xuan (sweet beauty of the spring) was awarded the golden apricot awards in 2000.

Nguyen Nam, whose real name was Pham Van Dong, was born in 1952 in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue. He wasn’t educated at a music school but he was active in music campaigns for students in Hue, Danang and Saigon in the 1970s and composed many songs for these campaigns.

There will be a night to commemorate the musician with the participation of musicians, singers and Nam’s close friends at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

Miss Ethnic Vietnam semifinal attracts 60 northern contestants

Sixty young women will be participating in the semifinals of the northern region Miss Ethnic Vietnam beauty pageant 2011 .

The contestants from 13 ethnic groups in the northern region are between the ages of 18 to 28, with a minimum height of 1.58 metres.

They will compete in three different categories including traditional costume, swimsuit and a question and answer round.

The semifinals for contestants from the South will take place from November 12 to 16 in Ho Chi Minh City.

The final night of the pageant will be held at the Hoa Binh Theatre in Ho Chi Minh City on December 10.

Mausoleum, Memorial Monument will re-open to public

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Memorial to Heroes and War Martyrs in Hanoi will re-open to the public on November 5 after closing temporarily for two months to undergo maintenance and repairs.

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum has welcomed over 40 million visitors, including seven million foreigners since it first opened 36 years ago on September 2, 1975. More than 70,000 people visited the mausoleum this year on the anniversary of the Liberation of South Vietnam (April 30).

Many ancient relics need restoration in Nghe An Province

The central province of Nghe An has nearly 1,300 ancient historical relics, which with passing of years are now in a state of disrepair, decay and disintegration.

Very little is known about the famous and priceless Con Diep Quynh Van archaeological relic in Quynh Van commune in Quynh Luu District, discovered in 1930 by a French archaeologist. Many artifacts dating back 6,000-7,000 years were found in excavations during the 1960s. Local people organize a market (Van market) on the site since 1974.

Luong Son Temple in Bac Son Commune in Do Luong District has not been preserved in its original state. The provincial People’s Committee has asked the Nghe An Relics and Beauty Spots Management Board to hand the temple restoration work to the government.

The historical area dedicated as memorial to patriot Phan Boi Chau in Nam Dan Town, the Vinh literature temple on Ngo Duc Ke Street in Hong Son Ward are but a few relics that have not been restored or preserved because of lack of capital.

Nguyen Van Thanh, Head of the Nghe An Relics and Beauty Spots Management Board, said that many of the relics were damaged during the two wars decades ago, and have degraded over time.

"In addition, we sometimes fail to recognize our own great cultural heritage. Only recently local authorities have begun to show an interest in restoring historical sites," he said.

Exhibition of Japanese animation opens

The Japan Foundation Centre for Culture Exchange in Viet Nam yesterday opened an exhibition of famous Japanese animation and cartoon characters at the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hue City.

The exhibition, titled Japan – Kingdom of Animation and Cartoon Characters, features characters who have become well-known around the world through several decades, including AstroBoy in the 1950s, Untraman in the 1960s, Hello Kitty in the 1970s, Doraemon in the 1980s, Tare Panda in the 1990s, and Pokemon in the following decade.

The exhibition, open to public from November 1-13, has videos, statues, effigies and photographs.

A similar exhibition will open in HCM City on November 25.

International Fashion Fair arrives in City

More than 100 textile and garment businesses are participating in the Viet Nam International Fashion Fair 2011 (VIFF 2011) that opened on Monday at the Tan Binh Exhibition and Convention Centre in HCM City.

Organised annually by Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Corporation (Vinatex), the fair offers domestic businesses opportunities to market their products to customers and importers in foreign countries.

The 250 stalls at the fair showcase many well-known brands like Phong Phu, Viet Tien, Nha Be and May 10. The fair will remain open until November 6.

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