In Sunday’s (2/14) Los Angeles Times, My-Thuan Tran writes, “When Southwest Chamber Music became the first American ensemble since the Vietnam War to set up a musical residency in Vietnam in 2006, artistic director Jeff von der Schmidt had high hopes that the two countries—forever tied through history and war—would forge lasting bonds in music. Now the Pasadena-based group is cementing its position to help guide Vietnam’s musical future. With a highly competitive grant from the U.S. State Department, Southwest will soon embark on a six-week exchange with Vietnam’s two premier music institutions. Concerts in both countries will feature works from up-and-coming Vietnamese and American composers as well as pieces from the older generation of composers. … Southwest’s partnership will focus on contemporary classical music. … The Ascending Dragon Music Festival kicks off with a Feb. 27 performance at the Armory Center featuring works by four American and Vietnamese ‘composers-in-residence.’ It’s followed by a March 1 performance with pieces by Olivier Messiaen and Vietnamese-French composers Nguyen Thien Dao and Ton That Tiet, whom Von der Schmid calls the ‘founding fathers of contemporary classical music in Vietnam.’ ”

Posted February 18, 2010