The Kennedy Center

Vanessa Vo


Vân-Ánh Võ comes from a family of musicians and began studying ?àn tranh (16-string zither) from the age of four. She graduated with distinction from the Vietnam Academy of Music, where she later taught. In 1995, Vân-Ánh won the championship title in the Vietnam National ?àn Tranh Competition, along with the first prize for best solo performance of modern folk music. In Hanoi, Vân-Ánh was an ensemble member of Vietnam National Music Theatre as well as a member of the traditional music group ??ng N?i Ensemble, which she founded and directed. She has since performed in more than fourteen countries and recorded many broadcast programs in and outside of Vietnam.

In addition to touring internationally, Vân-Ánh has presented her music at Carnegie Hall, Zellerback Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and as a guest artist for the Kronos Quartet at the Olympic Games 2012 Music Festival. In 2002, Vân-Ánh released her first CD, Twelve Months, Four Seasons; and in 2009, she released She’s Not She with award-winning composer Do Bao. Recently, she released her third CD, Three-Mountain Pass with the Kronos Quartet as her guest artist.

Vân-Ánh dedicates her life to creating music on the ?àn tranh and fusing Vietnamese musical tradition with fresh new structures and compositions. Since settling in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2001, Vân-Ánh has focused on collaborating with musicians across different music genres to create new works, bringing Vietnamese traditional music to a wider audience, and preserving her cultural legacy through teaching.

In addition to ?àn tranh, Vân-Ánh also performs as soloist on the monochord (?àn b?u), the 36-string hammered dulcimer (?àn tam th?p l?c), the bamboo xylophone (?àn t’rung), the open-ended bamboo tubes (?àn K'lông pút), traditional drums (tr?ng), and Chinese zither (guzheng). She lives and teaches ?àn tranh and other Vietnamese traditional instruments in Fremont, California. For more information, please go to

Watch Past Performances

Video 10/9/2013: Vanessa Vo

In town to record an NPR Tiny Desk Concert, this Emmy Award–winning and Academy Award–nominated multi-instrumentalist highlights her passion and mastery of the dan tranh zither, a Vietnamese stringed instrument.

Vanessa Vo