OAC
Phong Nguyen

Biography:
One of the United States’ most respected performers and scholars in the field of traditional Vietnamese music, PHONG NGUYEN has traveled a long road to his Ohio Heritage Fellowship. Born in 1946 in a village in the Mekong River delta in southern Vietnam, Nguyen began playing both string and percussion instruments at an early age and was playing at a professional level by the age of 10. Educated at the University of Saigon and the Sorbonne in Paris, where he earned a doctorate in ethnomusicology, Nguyen has lived in the U.S. since the 1980s and is now an American citizen. Well-known within Vietnamese communities from Ohio to California, Nguyen is a Renaissance man within the traditional music world. As a performing musician, Nguyen has appeared at festivals and universities throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia and has recorded several albums, both as a soloist and with the Phong Nguyen Ensemble. Nguyen is particularly known for his expertise on the dan tranh (17-string zither) and the dan nguyet (two-string lute). He’s a prominent educator who has taught at UCLA, Kent State and the University of Washington. A respected scholar, he’s founded an academic journal, done extensive fieldwork and collecting, contributed essays to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, and written or co-written numerous articles and books, including From Rice Paddies and Temple Yards: Traditional Music of Vietnam. The Cleveland Heights resident was previously honored for his contributions with a National Heritage Fellowship in 1997.

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