Linh Doan’s story: The secret behind “The Dance of the universal pieces”

11. August 2020 Scholars
Stipendiatin am Klavier
Linh Doan is a passionate pianist, she was born in Vietnam travelled around the world during the last 10 years, and has witnessed racism towards Asians in the field of classical music. Hence she decided to choose pieces for her graduation concert at the University of Melbourne based on these experiences. Linh has a burning desire to deliver a message of her ideal world –a peaceful place with non-violence and non-racism.

Linh Doan came to Austria as an OeAD scholarship holder to research the memorey types in music performance at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts Mozarteum Salzburg. J. S. Bach's compositions are considered as the most difficult works for a pianist to memorize because of its counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organization, and his adaption of rhythims forms and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France.

Linh graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2019 while working remotely at the Vietnam National Academy of Music, the country’s leading think-tank in the field of music since 2013. She is a award-winning piano teacher receiving Trinity College Awards for preparing students in Trinity exams to receive High Distinction in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Linh also has received a teacher’s award from Carnegie Hall where her students also placed 1st and 2nd in the America Protege Competition at Carnegie Hall.

Linh Doan's experience with racism as an Asian pianist

Born in Vietnam and travelled around the world during the last 10 years, Linh has witnessed how blatantly racist classical music can be towards Asians. Once in Melbourne, Linh saw an advertisement for a piano teacher job which was only open to Australians. Linh decided to send her CV to the director of the studio without indicating her nationality. Being a curious person, Linh sought to learn the reason why only Australians were eligible for the position. At the interview, the director was hesitant to tell her the real reason behind. Later on, he revealed how Asian teachers were less favoured by local students. Linh was so determined that she was able to convince the director to allow her to trial for 2 weeks. She took over the students from the previous Australian teacher who left the studio. Within 2 weeks, Linh received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both the students and their parents. Consequently, the director had made an unprecedented decision to offer a teaching job to Linh – the first-ever Asian piano teacher in his music studio!

The Dance of the universal piece

As entering the professional young artist world during her study, Linh again felt she was in the familiar racial landscape. During her training course for the Master of Music Performance in Debrecen, Hungary in 2017, Linh was often called as “alien” for being the only Asian in the class. Hence, in 2019, she decided to choose pieces for her last concert at the University of Melbourne based on her experiences with racism. The final recital was organized in Melba Hall (The University of Melbourne – Parkville campus) under the theme of “The Dance of the universal piece”, which composited of four pieces: Partita No. 2 (J.S Bach), Pollichinelle (Rachmaninov), Rice Drum Dance (Huu Phuc Dang), Polonaise in C sharp minor (Chopin). Those pieces represented different dance movements from various countries around the world such as Germany, Vietnam, and Poland. Linh has a burning desire to deliver a message of her ideal world –a peaceful place with non-violence and non-racism. The place that only consits happiness, joy and love.

Listen to her performance here.

Linh Doan currently works with Prof. Tanski at Mozarteum Salzburg and presents the logical thinking based on the music structure and the methodologies pianists should take out the element from Bach’s composition to memorize the pieces effectively. The project can be viewed on youtube.

Additionally, Linh is also preparing for her Ph.D. study in Canada. Under Prof. Tanski’s instruction, she has done 60’ recording for her audition for the entrance exam titled “Discovery the different touches in the various musical periods from Baroque to 20th century”. The performance includes 5 pieces represented 5 musical periods: “Partita No. 2” Bach (Baroque), “Sonata No. 27 Op. 90” Beethoven (Classical), “Polonaise No. 2” Chopin (Romanticism), “Estampes” Debussy (Impressionism), and “Rice Drum Dance” Phuc Dang (20th century).