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8. Nguyễn Văn Thương (1919-2002) from Huế was among the very earliest figures to write tân nhạc. Beginning at age nine, he taught himself guitar and music theory by studying French books and in 1936, the year of his graduation from high school, wrote the song "Trên Sông Huương" ("On the River Huương"; 1940s Polyphone recording performed by Minh Diệu). In 1939, while stranded in Hà Nội with no means of getting home for Tết; he wrote the song "Ðêm Ðông" ("Winter Night;" early performances by the cải lương opera star Kim Thoa). This is a fine, evocative piece, still widely performed. He traveled and studied in Rumania, Russia, and Germany after 1975 and served for a time as the director of the Hà Nội music conservatory.


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