August 3, 2004 Phong Nguyen to Perform Vietnamese Music on August 18

Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: (202) 707-5510

Phong Nguyen, noted Vietnamese musician and scholar, will perform a free concert at noon on Aug. 18 in Madison Hall, off the foyer of the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The concert is part of the American Folklife Center's concert series "Homegrown 2004: The Music of America."

Appearing at the Library with Nguyen will be a six-piece ensemble of musicians performing a wide range of regional instrumental and vocal styles.

The Homegrown concert series presents the very best of traditional music and dance from a variety of folk cultures thriving in the United States. The series is co-sponsored by the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington.

Homegrown concerts are held once a month from April through December. The concerts are all free of charge and are presented from noon to 1 p.m. The closest Metro stops are Capitol South (blue and orange lines) and Union Station (red line).

Phong Nguyen, who teaches ethnomusicology at Kent State University in Ohio, was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1997 for his role in preserving traditional Vietnamese music and culture. Born in a Mekong Delta village to rice-farming parents, Nguyen began learning to play instruments and sing traditional songs at the age of 5 under the tutelage of his father and other relatives and neighbors, as war raged throughout the region. When Nguyen was 10, he was sent to study music under a traditional master and eventually received a degree in Vietnamese philosophy and literature from the University of Saigon.

While Nguyen was in Japan on an educational exchange visit, South Vietnam fell to advancing forces from the North, and Nguyen became stateless. He was able to emigrate to France, and he eventually earned a doctorate in musicology from the Sorbonne.

Nguyen came to the United States in 1984, where he held teaching positions at several universities, including Pittsburgh, Washington and, most recently, Kent State. He also performed concerts throughout the United States as well as Europe, and he developed a reputation as one of the world's leading exponents and practitioners of Vietnamese music.

Four concerts remain this year in the American Folklife Center's "Homegrown: 2004" series.

Sept. 28 on Neptune Plaza, Jefferson Building: Anjani Ambegaokar, 2004 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow, North Indian Kathak dance from California

Oct. 20 in Coolidge Auditorium, Jefferson Building: Nadeem Dlaikan, Arabic music from Michigan

Nov. 17 in Coolidge Auditorium: American Indian Music and Dance Troupe from Oklahoma; co-sponsored with the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian

Dec. 8 in Coolidge Auditorium: Jerry Grcevich with Tamburitza Orchestra, Tambura music from Pennsylvania

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Library in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. Visit the center's Web site at

Part of the Kennedy Center's Performing Arts for Everyone initiative, the Millennium Stage helps fulfill the center's mission to make performing arts widely accessible. The Millennium Stage introduces the performing arts to the local community and to millions of people who visit the center each year. These free, 6 p.m. performances are offered 365 days a year. For a schedule and information on how to access the daily broadcasts, visit the Kennedy Center Web site at

The Folklore Society of Greater Washington was founded in 1964 to further the understanding, investigation, appreciation and performance of the traditional folk music and folklore of the American people. The FSGW presents more than 200 folk events in the Washington area each year.

Established in 1989 by Congress, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The museum includes the George Gustav Heye Center, a permanent exhibition and education facility in New York City, and the Cultural Resources Center, a research and collections facility in Suitland, Md., and a new museum, which opens on the National Mall on Sept. 21. For more information, visit the museum's Web site at


PR 04-141
ISSN 0731-3527