Guitarist takes third in US contest

Published: 27/04/2011 05:00



Vietnamese student has taken third prize at the Northwest Guitar Festival held
at Eastern Washington University in Washington.

Finger-pickin’ good
: Nguyen Thai
Minh performs at the Northwest Guitar Festival in Washington, where he won third
prize. — Photo courtesy

Nguyen Thai Minh, 23, is the first
Vietnamese participant in one of the largest guitar contests in the US.

The annual festival was created in
1991 by James Reid, director of the guitar programme at the University of Idaho.
It was founded to bring students and professionals together for three days of
concerts, master class lectures and a competition for young talents. The
festival always features mostly guitarists from the region and allows only those
living and studying in the region to participate in the competition.

This year, 22 students from
northwestern universities and Canada participated.

The jury board gathered prestigious
guitarists, including Michael Partington from Washington University, Marc
Techolz from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Lynn McGrath from the
Guitar Foundation of America.

Minh started learning guitar at age
14 as an extracurricular activity because he loved it. Minh became known in the
music world after winning the top prize at the National Guitar Festival in 2002.

Minh studied international business
in the US, but thanks to the flexibility of his institution, he was able to
pursue a Bachelors of Art in Music at Puget Sound University as well. In recent
years, Minh has played professionally.

“All the performers were received
well; all did a fantastic job,” said Eastern Washington University guitar
professor and member of the organising board, Michael Millham.

This was the first time Minh joined
the festival.

“No contestant wins a top prize the
first time he participates,” Millham said.

Throughout the festival, Minh was
able to meet and perform with other young talents, as well as learn from
professionals. He said the festival helped him figure out his strengths and
weaknesses as a musician.

Learning two disciplines – business
and music – at the same time is not easy, Minh said. He is working to finish his
studies and participate in contests to improve his playing.

Once he finishes school, Minh plans
to return to Viet Nam to promote classical guitar and bring the instrument to
more students.

Nam News

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