Singapore, August 2015, the Southeast Asian Lion City-Nation seemed more romantic with the Asia Arts Festival (AAF). Music talents poured in from many countries for a music festival whose name had gone far beyond the continent boundaries. And the long-awaited moment came for the Festival jury to announce contest results. Although foreseeable to some extent, the fact that both Gold Prizes for Piano Solo and Piano Duet went to a 16.5 year-old Vietnamese drove many surprised. As for the winner, he was also partially amazed at the outcome although having cherished and dreamt for it before the contest, due to the presence of quite a few brilliant stars coming from many countries and their subsequent formidable challenges to any candidate. Moreover, he was partially amazed because once being “in”, seating himself at a piano, music was the only thing existing in life to him. Only concluding thundering applauses could wake him up, bring him back to normal and assure him of his win.


That Vietnamese youngster is Khuất Duy Minh.

Actually, his win did not come by chance. Born on January 19, 1999, Khuất Duy Minh finds it lucky to have a father who works as chief of Film Dissemination Office under the Vietnam Department of Cinematography and a mother a lecturer at the Vietnam National Academy of Music. More importantly, his mother has been the Head Representative for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) in charge of granting certificates for the Hanoi and North Vietnam Region, and at the same time Director of International Relations for SunMusic Center. Inheriting arts passion from his parents, Minh first played the piano at the age of 3. And it was his mother who discovered his talents when he revealed his ability to remember and play back pieces composed by famed musicians even after hearing them for only one time.

As he turned 7, he started with a secondary-level training program at the Piano Department of the Vietnam National Academy of Music, where he was directly guided, specifically mentored and wholeheartedly instructed by Prof., Dr. Trần Thu Hà. His education by this People’s Artiste and Teacher and other lecturers, his family’s care and attention, and his own industrious learning and business-like training combined had brought him one honorary title of “Student of Excellence” after another during all the years of his study at the Academy. And his path of regular learning witnessed a watershed hallmark: Becoming salutatorian in music production at Full Sail University in the United States in 2019.

And that was not all. His talents were put on trial through participating as a contestant at many piano competitions in Vietnam’s Capital City of Hanoi where he was born and grew up. Khuất Duy Minh always proudly recalls those sweet memories of the 4th Hanoi Piano Festival in 2005 where he won the 3rd Prize for Group A, the 5th Hanoi Piano Festival in 2006 where he won the 2nd Prize for Group A for both solo and concert, and the 6th Hanoi Piano Festival – Electone Yamaha in 2007 where he won Prize B for Group B.

It was those local trials that were highly productive in helping him improve performance, heighten confidence, and foster mettle in order to step into international rings. His registration as a candidate and achievement as a Silver Prize winner at the Asia International Piano Academy & Festival with Competition hosted in the Republic of Korea 3 years before he took part in and became a winner at Singapore’s Asia Arts Festival in August 2015 was just a vivid example. His systematic education, his distinctive learning records and the conditions allowing him to put his capacity on trial at challenging competitions that have yielded admirable achievements, all has constituted a solid foundation for him to embark upon a “career” at an early date. Vietnamese viewers having watched the movie “The first naïve love” would not believe it if told the music of the movie that was premiered in February 2019 was composed by musician Huỳnh Hiền Năng in cooperation with a Khuất Duy Minh only 20 years old. And the world’s movie lovers would be astonished to learn that this Vietnamese youngster Khuất Duy Minh is a contributor to the movie Mortal Kombat by Warner Bros to be premiered globally in the upcoming January 2021.

Khuat Duy Minh and music composer Duc Tri and Tran Manh Hung

A young novice in a career, Khuất Duy Minh sees the world-leading cinema industry in the United States as a fertile soil for his talents to be nursed. Upon decision to recruit this young guy being the first Vietnamese to work for their firm, Remote Control Productions’ “head-hunters” did not hide their satisfaction – their legendary composer Hans Zimmer has never been easy-going with colleagues, as this composer widely known for strict demands is the gentleman behind such Hollywood blockbusters as Pirates of the Caribbean, Inception, Kungfu Panda, Batman v Superman, Lion King, etc. His recruitment was not without a good reason! This young guy is also fortunate to be currently working under master composer Benjamin Wallfisch who has authored the music of Annabelle, IT (episodes 1 & 2), Lights Out, Blade Runner 2049, Shazam!, etc.

Not yet 22 years of age, Khuất Duy Minh can be said of as having recorded a certain level of “depth” in his learning and composing journey. He is a truly healthy bud, full of vitality and ambition. During these days, in the fresh atmosphere of Vietnam – U.S. relations created by the 25 years of normalization, development and comprehensive partnership, the working environment in the United States is a fertile soil for this Khuất Duy Minh bud to grow, mature and bear fragrant flowers and sweet fruits. May Khuất Duy Minh, a member of today’s Vietnamese young generation, younger even than the Vietnam – U.S. diplomatic relationship, enjoy continued success, contributing to cultivating the friendship and cooperation between Vietnamese and American peoples.

Tra Tram