A conversation between VNCMF's Executive Director Dr. Bui Cong Duy and http://vietnamnews.vn/:
As the festival’s organizer, do you bear any pressure?
Like most of other art shows, finance is always our permanent concern. How to present a quality concert without increasing the ticket price is always a very big issue. Since I nurtured the idea of an international classical music festival three years ago, I have foreseen many of the difficulties that I might have to cope with, including the affects of an economic downturn.
So far, we have been very lucky to get support from art foundations abroad, who have paid to bring all the international artists to Viet Nam as well as some other expenses inside the country.
In addition, all the artists have joined the festival for the major purpose of presenting the beauty of classical music to as much of the audience as possible, as well as to draw the audience closer to this music. None of the artists value the economic matters, otherwise they would have never agreed to join the festival.
However, we really need to study the beneficial aspects of the event because it reflects the audience’s interest in concerts, and if they are willing to pay for the tickets. Leaning on external sources of financial support is not our long-term plan.
While many other music festivals have received financial support from State-run organisations, your Vietnam Connection is among the very few self-funded festivals? Why you don’t seek support from those organisations?
I think self-funding is a popular trend given the current economic context, especially when the Culture Ministry has planned to tighten their subsidiary programs over the next five years. This requires artists to be more active and know how to promote the art form they are working within.
I think we had a breakthrough when we debuted the Vietnamese-American Music Festival (the former name of Vietnam Connection) last year. From organizing to promoting the event and accessing the audience, we did all that by ourselves and we were successful. All tickets were sold out early and many people couldn’t even find a ticket for themselves.
If we do not challenge ourselves by taking a new path, we will never know what we can get. So I think the festival is also to help us become what we can be, and show how active we are.
Why have you named this year’s festival Vietnam Connection?
We want to honor the connection between the artists, without whom the festival would never become a reality. The connection also refers to that between the artists and their audience, between the artists and students, who will be offered several master classes. I also called on every artist to connect with their own audience through their Facebook friend list. The main point is that the connection can bring an unexpected strength that helps to fulfill any task.
Do you want to turn the festival into an annual event?
Actually it is our wish to turn it into an annual event. However, it will depend on many other factors, including the most important one, which is how much the audience enjoys the festival. We will wait until this year’s festival wraps up, then we will review the results and decide if we can continue to organize the festival yearly or every two years. We will devote our minds, hearts, and labor, aiming to offer audiences all the best that we have.