Great master of Vietnamese traditional music Tran Van Khe passed away

Professor Tran Van Khe, the grand old master of Vietnamese traditional music passed away on June 24 in Gia Dinh Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City at the ripe old age of 94.

                              Professor Tran Van Khe

In an announcement, the professor died at Gia Dinh People's Hospital after fighting for illnesses, including the lungs, heart and kidney, at the hospital since May 27.

Professor Tran Van Khe was born in 1921 in My Tho City in the southern Vietnam. He was introduced to music at a young age of 6. He is able to play many Vietnamese traditional instruments, such as  dan kim or dan nguyet (moon-shaped lute), dan tranh (sixteen stringed zither), dan co or dan nhi (two-stringed fiddle), dan ty ba (pear-shaped, four stringed lute) and the trong nhac, ceremonial drum. He knows how to recite poems and sings in traditional styles of the North and the South.

Professor Tran Van Khe is known as the greatest masters of traditional Vietnamese music. He had previously been offered the post of director of research at CNRS; Professorship at the University of Sorbonne in Paris; Honorary Member of the International Music Council (UNESCO); and Corresponding Member of the European Academy of Science, Letters and Arts.

Having lived in Paris for about 50 years and traveled worldwide, lecturing and performing, he has played a key role in introducing Asian music to the Western world. During the past 50 years, he has taught thousands of students all over the world.

His body is being kept at his private home at 32 Huynh Dinh Hai Street in Binh Thanh District in Ho Chi Minh City. The house is also a place where many performances on Vietnamese traditional music were held every month by the professor and musicians and artists.

The house includes a library containing many valuable documents, newspaper and magazine articles, videos, and handwritings on Vietnamese traditional music that Professor Tran Van Khe has collected during his illustrious career. The library serves as a centre for visitors to learn more about Vietnamese traditional music.

By Minh An – Translated by Kim Khanh

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