Musician Trong Dai
In an interview granted to Nhan Dan Weekly, musician Trong Dai shared his memories on the unforgettable days in Russia as well as his impressions on the country.
Question: You were one of the Vietnamese students who were sent to study in Russia. Can you share with us your period of lifetime in the country?
Musician Trong Dai: After graduating from the Vietnam School of Music (now the Vietnam National Academy of Music), I was chosen to study in Russia at the Faculty of Theory of Music Composition and Conducting at the Tchaikovsky School of Music. I was among the last generation of Vietnamese student who were sent to Russia before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Those seven years in Russia were the most beautiful years of my youth when I was lucky enough to live and study in such a great country. I remembered that when a Russian teacher once asked me what I did on the weekend, I said I played music, read musical books and listened to music. My life at that time was only about music. I passionately lived in the world of knowledge, of music, cinema, and cultures.
When I first arrived in Russia, I was overwhelmed by the way they taught and trained music. There were tonnes of things to learn and explore. After completing secondary certificate programmes, Russian musical students have equipped themselves with adequate basic knowledge about music, which helped them figure out their own trait and characteristics in music and establish who they really are in music. We can learn a lot from Russia’s training.
One of my strongest impressions of my school was its big concert hall, where students had opportunities to come and watch major artists’ perform. People had to wait for months to earn a ticket to a concert at the hall, but the school’s students were always prioritised, which showed Russia’s attention to education.
How did your learning from such a professional training environment facilitate your arts career now?
Musician Trong Dai: What I have learnt from those days has laid a firm foundation for my working career. The way Russia trained students in music was methodical, requiring students to understand and self explore the world of music. It wasn’t until I came to Russia that I was enlightened about the music of China, India and other countries around the world.
Our lecturers always kept telling us that no matter what we would do and where we would go in the future, we were not allowed to forget our indigenous culture and our roots. These roots will define and establish who you are and how your music is. This teaching has posed huge impacts on my work today, from composing music to organising musical events.
Could you please tell us about the deepest impression that Russia has left on you so far?
Musician Trong Dai: I am impressed about how huge and beautiful Russia is with its rich culture. Someone has said that you are lucky to spend your youth experiencing different cultures. I am one of those few lucky guys.
I have a lot of memories about Russia. Every year when Tet (lunar New Year festival) comes, I joined other Overseas Vietnamese students in Russia for a warm celebration. Many Russian friends were surprised when Vietnamese men gathered together and cooked for a banquet for Tet.
You are famous for movies soundtracks for many popular films. What brought you to become a musician for movies?
Musician Trong Dai: When I was in Russia, I watched many world-famous films from different cinemas around the globe. I was very fascinated. Maybe that fascination led me to composing songs for films when I came back to Vietnam. I am blessed that my movie songs have been appreciated and applauded by the audience.
What I learnt in Russia 30 years ago is still useful for me even to this day. It has laid a solid basis for my work and allowed me to compose music following my heart.
Nowadays, we have kept safeguarding national identities in music, but I think that the key is encouraging songwriters to write down what they really want to share with the audience from the bottom of their heart. With sincere hearts, we can explore the colourful beauty and root of our culture.
Thank you so much for your sharing!