Classical delights in concert

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The Vienna Chamber Orchestra is bringing its world-famous romantic repertoire to the Toyota Classics classical music concert in Hanoi this year.

The annual concert held is a one-night only event at the Hanoi Opera House this Sunday, November 4.

In a first-time collaboration with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Vietnamese violinist Le Hoai Nam will perform alongside the European group this year.

Nam, who plays with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta Orchestra and lectures at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts (HKAPA), will perform two works: "Melody" by Tchaikovsky and "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso" by Saint-Saëns.

For the event's 23rd edition in the Asia Pacific region and the 15th edition in Vietnam, Toyota Classics organizers said the Vienna Chamber Orchestra will play under the baton of Japanese maestro Joji Hattori, featuring Japanese guitarist Soichi Muraji, one of the most prominent guitarists in classical music.

A press release described Hattori as "one of the leading Japanese musicians of his generation" with a "unique Vienna-flavored musical style."

From the ground up

Born in 1980 in Hanoi, Le Hoai Nam was initially taught the violin at the age of five by his father, who is also a violist at the Vietnam Opera Ballet Theater. He continued studying at the Vietnam National Academy of Music in 1987 until he got a scholarship to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2000.

Nam has appeared as a soloist with the Vietnam National Opera Ballet Orchestra, the Hanoi Strings Chamber Orchestra, and Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra. He was the first Vietnamese to be appointed by Maestro Sergiu Comissiona to lead the Asian Youth Orchestra during its 1999 tour to the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. He was invited to lead the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra in 2005. He also appears frequently as a chamber musician and recitalist in Hong Kong and Hanoi.

He finished his studies in 2006 and has been working with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta Orchestra ever since, currently serving as Acting Principal Second Violin.

He began lecturing on the violin at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts in 2008.

"The challenging studying and working atmosphere in Hong Kong has helped me improve a lot," he said.

The young violinist said that he is happy to have a chance to perform with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and the talented maestro Joji Hattori, as well as Soichi Muraji, the great guitarist from Japan.

Foreign flavors

Joji Hattori, one of the leading Japanese musicians of his generation, has enjoyed a varied career as a musician, firstly as a concert violinist, which led to directing chamber orchestras, conducting symphony orchestras and finally operas.

He has been Associate Guest Conductor of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra since 2004 and in 2007-08 served as Principal Resident Conductor of the Opera House in Erfurt, Germany. Joji Hattori is also Music Director of the Tokyo Ensemble, a project-based chamber orchestra in Japan. He is also Music Director of the open-air Summer Festival at Schloss Kittsee in Austria.

He was born in Japan and spent his childhood in Vienna where regularly attending the opera house and concert halls formed his musical development. Influenced by both cultures, Hattori is today one of the very few musicians of Asian heritage who is respected internationally for his interpretations of the Viennese Classics.

He started playing the violin at the age of five and studied at the Vienna Academy of Music, followed by further studies with Yehudi Menuhin and Vladimir Spivakov. In 1989 he won the International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition in England. After a decade of international activities as a violin soloist, he turned to conducting and in 2002 participated at the inaugural Maazel-Vilar Conductor's Competition where he was given a major award. Lorin Maazel enabled him to give his conducting debut at New York's Carnegie Hall and continues to support his career.

Tickets for this year's concert cost from VND500,000 to VND1 million and are available at the Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien Street, or Toyota Motor Vietnam's Hanoi branch on the 8th Floor, Viglacera Building, 1 Thang Long Boulevard, Tu Liem District.

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