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Concerts Highlight Four-Day Conference on Music and Ritual Music in China and East Asia, October 16–19

Bard Hosts Two Concerts Featuring
Contemporary and Traditional Music from China and Vitenam

Darren O'Sullivan
Phong Nguyen and musicans perform "Traditional Music from Vietnam" at Bard College on Friday, October 17.

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—From October 16–19, Bard College will host the 13th annual CHIME (European Foundation for Chinese Music Research) conference. The four-day conference investigates the complex and diverse intersections between music and ritual in Chinese and other East Asian contexts, and brings together international scholars to discuss and explore the relationship of music and ritual in this region, historically as well as in the present. As part of the conference, Bard is hosting two concerts. The first, “Traditional Music from Vietnam,” is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday, October 17, in the Campus Center Multipurpose Room, and features some of the world’s foremost performers of traditional Vietnamese music. The second concert will be at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 18, in Olin Hall,  with Bard Conservatory of Music students performing an hour-long program of solo and chamber music by contemporary Chinese composers. Both are open to the public. There is a $10 fee for Friday’s performance and $5 fee for Saturday’s concert. Both are free to those with Bard ID.  

The CHIME conference is presented by the Bard College Music Program and CHIME, with additional support from the Asian Studies, Religion, and Anthropology Programs, as well as Bard in China. It takes place in the Multipurpose Room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center. The conference will open Thursday, October 16, at 1:30 p.m. There will be chanting and prayers at 2:30 p.m. by Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery in Woodstock. Ter Ellingson, an expert on music in Tibetan Buddhism and a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, will deliver the keynote address at 4 p.m. Other conference speakers come from a variety of universities and research institutes in Europe, China, Hong Kong, Canada, and the United States. Sessions run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Sunday. The conference will explore, among many topics, how folk and traditional musics have been affected by the radical social and political transformations in China and other East Asian countries during the 20th century, and the ritual function that traditional musics serve today in an age marked by intense capitalism and increasing globalization.

Preregistration for the conference and a fee are required. CHIME members receive a reduced fee, and Bard students, faculty, and staff may participate without charge. For more information on the conference or concerts or to register for the conference, contact Mercedes Dujunco at 845-758-6822 ext. 6294,, or go to 

The October 17 concert features a panorama of traditional vocal, music, and theatrical music genres from the three river deltas in Vietnam (the Red River Delta of the north, Perfume River area of the central part of the country, and Mekong Delta of the south). Featured performers are Vietnamese musicians based in the United States and two guest artists from Vietnam, assisted by American musician David Badagnani and directed by master musician and ethnomusicology professor Phong Nguyen, a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship. 

Phong Nguyen (Nguyen Thuyet Phong), music director, is one of the world’s foremost performers and scholars of Vietnamese traditional music. Raised in the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam, he comes from a family of musicians and is a traditionally trained musician who studied with a village master from the age of five. He sings a large repertoire of dân ca (rural folk songs) and is a master of đieu, the complex modal systems of Vietnam, a more formal tradition. Nguyen is accomplished on many Vietnamese instruments, but often focuses on the 17-string đàn tranh zither and the two-string đàn nguyệt (long-necked “moon” lute). Over the past 20 years, he has given countless lectures and workshops throughout North America on the musical culture of Vietnam and Vietnamese communities in the United States. He received his doctoral degree from the Sorbonne University and has been on the faculty of Kent State University, University of Washington, UCLA, University of Michigan, and others. Currently, he is president of the College Education Research Academy and visiting professor of ethnomusicology at the Conservatory of Music in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

 CHIME (European Foundation for Chinese Music Research) is a foundation for the promotion of Chinese music research, based in Leiden, the Netherlands. It was founded in 1990 by European music scholars from four different countries. CHIME serves as an active worldwide network of researchers of Chinese music. For more information, visit

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This event was last updated on 10-27-2008