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Tuan Nguyen | Violin of the Unknown | Graduating Student Recital

Saturday, April 13, 2024   |   8:00 pm

Free – $20.00
Longy’s performance are free and open to the public, but please register in advance.

All Longy students present full recitals as part of their education and ongoing evolution as artists. They are charged with thinking critically about what stories they tell, whose voices to amplify, and who’s in the room for their event while also considering how to use performance spaces in innovative ways and how to truly engage audiences and create interactive music experiences.

Tuan Nguyen is a student of Anna Williams.

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Program Notes

In Classical music, we have always heard of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and works from many other types of composers, yet, when we hear of composers like Amy Beach, only few will know of her due to recent discovery. Composers like Svetlanov, despite being a famous conductor, will have his works completely unknown.

To start off with, Piazzolla was someone who was not so popular during his younger years. He had been pressured to leave an orchestra due to his ideas, concerned that he would disrupt their style. It took a long while before he was able to gain popularity and respect. Among the known names like Tchaikovsky or Beethoven, he was someone who had bridged the line between Tango, Jazz, and Classical.

Amy Beach is an interesting composer that deserves much more attention. She was the first American woman to have her symphony performed yet her works are barely performed, if not, her name is barely known. From personal experiences, when asking others, many of my peers have never heard of Amy Beach, and those that have, have not listened to any of her pieces. Fortunately, her name is spreading more and more, this piece, Romance for Violin and Piano being one that a good amount of people know about along with her Violin Sonata.

My piece, Fantasy Bakery, is one that spawned from an idea of balancing Pop and Classical. The idea of a catchy simple melody balanced with what I knew about Classical music. What influenced the piece was the idea of a young girl opening a bakery in a fantasy world. She has dreams of starting a bakery, once she does, fear creeps onto her. The idea of starting something new creeps onto her but upon her first few successes, she realizes how fun it can be and lets go of that fear.

Gabriela Lena Frank is a living composer with a very interesting modern style. Her compositions, especially her Suite Mestiza, is inspired by life in Peru. Her Suite Mestiza is divided into 7 different movements, different from the usual 3 or 4 movements. Her first movement is inspired by the lyrical religious songs with Quechua texts, the native non-Spanish language of Peruvians. Her second, is about an Indian woman outside at the market. The third is about an elderly playing a Charango, a high-pitched guitar. I will be playing her last movement, the 7th, inspired by Fireflies. A very chaotic piece that constantly changes directions, different from what most perceive from fireflies.

Svetlanov is someone who was popular as a conductor in Russia. However, despite his fame, his compositions went unnoticed. A lot of his compositions are lost, with only some surviving with sheet music. We know how a lot of his music sounds only through recordings on places like youtube where people have posted the recordings that they had from long ago. This Violin Sonata was among those recordings as there was no sheet music. There are only two recordings of the sonata, both by the composer himself and violinist, Alexander Labko, and Eduard Grach. The only reason I am able to play this is by a fan-transcription and any interpretation, phrasing, and the like is an educated guess.


A Bostonian musician that explores various fields like Classical and Jazz with his violin, Tuan Nguyen believes in the idea that being a jack of trades will help bridge distant ideologies. To him, you can not have an eclipse without the sun and moon, two objects that usually have opposing sides in history and culture. The idea sprouted when his eyes shone with light as he started to practice in highschool. His interest was not there, but with time, he started to realize that there are bridges, or could be bridges that connect the different islands together. His hands were conservative at first, touching the viola, composing but never showing, but soon he reached out into different fields, applying the study of music to literature, using it to understand finances, understanding the way his body moves during exercise, his awareness and connections became more steep. If there’s a distance, a bridge can be built.


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Saturday, April 13, 2024
8:00 pm
Free – $20.00
Event Category:


Recital Room N1
33 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
Thanks to our partnership with the Massachusetts Cultural Council and their “Card to Culture” program, Longy School of Music of Bard College can offer free tickets to many of our diverse and innovative performance offerings. See the full list of participating “Card to Culture” organizations offering EBT, WIC, and ConnectorCare discounts.