their first concert tour to Vietnam, the Hafnia Chamber Orchestra
performed with nine of its members together with seven young talented
musicians of the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra. Accompanying the famous
flute soloist Le Thu Huong, the orchestra gave the audience three
wonderful concerts, presenting a programme inspired on “East meets
West”. They performed works of Bach, Mozart, Nielsen, Pärt and
Tchaikovsky in Hanoi (13/12), Hue (16/12) and Ho Chi Minh City (18/12)
and inspired by the success of the tour, the conductor of the Hafnia
Chamber Orchestra, Simon Casali-Krzentowski, engaged in a conversation.
Congratulations to you and the orchestra for such a successful tour in
Vietnam. The audience loved it! How did the project “East meets West”
Le Thu Huong and I studied together at the Danish Academy of Music in
Copenhagen from 2001 till 2005. Unfortunately, during these years we
didn’t find a chance to perform together, but our many common ideas
about music made us good friends. When we got the support from the
Danish Centre for Culture and Development the idea of making a joined
tour with Danish and Vietnamese musicians was quickly realized and what
could be nicer than finally perform together? Make music together.
What was your impression of the Vietnamese musicians through the
rehearsals and concerts?
are very enthusiastic and professional, so working with them was a real
pleasure. We had very friendly and constructive rehearsals together,
resulting in three successful concerts. Specially the first concert, in
the Hanoi Opera House, was fantastic, with a completely full hall.
classical music is somehow still new to people. Was it a “risk” to have
a classical concert there?
(Smiling) Before the performance in Hue, many people warned us of the
more “adventurous” conditions surrounding the concert. Mainly the bad
acoustic of the hall and the audience not appreciating classical music
due to a lack of knowledge and interest. But we took the risk, we wanted
to try it… We posted many concert posters at the different universities
and public places. We decided not to sell tickets, but to offer a free
concert instead. The result was amazing, almost 400 people came! For
many it was their first experience of classical music. Most of them were
chewing on sweets and seeds, which was clearly audible during the soft
passages in the concert. Anyway, they did respect our work and didn’t
leave until the concert was finished.
What do you think and feel about Vietnamese music life?
surprising to see two worlds come together on the other side of the
globe. From our arrival at the airport, in the taxi, hotel, etc, I only
heard rock and pop music, but when I arrived to the music academies of
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, I heard familiar classical music coming out
of every practice room. So fascinating to see how all this different
music finds its way… The Vietnamese musicians who joined us were very
Hafnia’s next activity in Vietnam?
success of this tour inspires us to repeat our collaboration in the near
future. We will try to come and play more often here. As part of our
recent experiences, we will invite the Vietnamese musicians to Denmark,
in a reversed project. When we come again to Vietnam, I would like to
explore and perform works of Vietnamese composers. This time we brought
European music here, next time we will be inspired by local music as
Thank you very much!
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