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Meet VYO conduction Phan Đỗ Phúc

Dreaming of the day when Vietnamese children have their own orchestras to participate in, appearing as VYO conductor this time, he and all the artists will focus all their energy to make that dream come true, spread the fire of enthusiasm to the young and with them, live with their passion.

Vietnamese cellist Phan Đỗ Phúc has enjoyed success in different parts of the world as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician. He has been appointed to be the guest principal cellist of many reputable orchestras, including the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, New York Classical Players Orchestra, Napa Valley Institute Orchestra, Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, and Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra. Phúc has collaborated with artists such as cellist Colin Carr, violinists Philip Setzer and Eugene Drucker, violist Larry Dutton of the Emerson String Quartet (one of the world premier chamber ensembles with 9 Grammy awards), bassoonist Frank Morelli (from Orpheus Chamber Orchestra) and flutist Carol Wincenc (from the Juilliard School).

In 2020, after finishing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree with honor, Phuc returned to his hometown of Hanoi to join the Sun Symphony Orchestra as the Principal Cellist.

With a special passion for education, Phuc was on the faculty of the Stony Brook Adult Chamber Music Program, the Long Island Tutoring Academy and the Herald School of Music and Arts where he was also the assistant conductor. Most recently, his cello and piano students won first and second prizes at the New York International Young Performing Artists 2019 and performed at the Carnegie Hall, New York.

“I still remember the feeling of sitting in an orchestra for the first time. I was probably 13-14 years old at that time, having studied cello for 2-3 years; the teachers felt that I was competent enough to sit and not mess up the orchestra… I can’t remember what pieces we played at that time, but the feeling of utmost joy as a teenager hanging out with his buddies and making music together is still quite vivid in my mind. But such rehearsals happened only occasionally, when there was a concert coming up. Later on, when I was a little older, I had the chance to participate in various summer orchestra festivals, practice, and travel around for 1-2 months. Those were undoubtedly fun times, but again only lasted during the summer months.

After having lived in America for years, I noticed there were orchestras everywhere, from university, all the way down to elementary school! Each school has not only its own orchestra, but often also its own choir, brass band, and marching band. It brought me great joy to see 12-13-year-old kids dressing up in tuxedos, black gowns, looking so excited to play in school concerts. But then a deep sense of pity overwhelmed me when my thoughts turned to Vietnamese children. They virtually have no chance to participate in orchestras; unless they pursue music professionally and have attended the National Academy long enough to be able to participate in Academy concerts.

I’ve been dreaming of the day when Vietnamese children have their own orchestras, each district has a few choirs, and brass teams. The vision of hearing the sound of kids rehearsing in bands or orchestras when I stop my bike at a random red light warms my heart. And finally today, the birth of the Vietnam Youth Orchestra (VYO) has marked the beginning of the realization of such a wild dream - an orchestra for all young people, aged 12-22, without having to attend any particular school. All they need to participate is a passion for classical music with enough determination to complete a very simple audition program.

I sincerely hope that young children and their parents who love music will quickly seize this very special opportunity." - Thoughts about VYO from VYO Conductor, Phan Đỗ Phúc

On his path to explore the connections between classical music and other art forms, Schubert in a Mug (SiaM), Phúc’s spiritual child was born in the summer of 2020, to realize his vision of creating an experimental space for classical musicians and their audiences. In deciphering this rather unique harmony between the performers and listeners, one of SiaM’s important goals is to create a wholesome concert-going experience that touches both the listeners’ emotion and the intellect.


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