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June 17, 2009

NovaSite! Archive

NovaSite! Recognition Plaque Chopin: The Poet of The Piano

Ole Sam and Spook love poetry, music and lovers of both as you might have gathered from some of our previous NovaSite selections.  Now let us introduce Anh L. Tran, who is the author of Chopin: The Poet of the Piano.  In Anh's own words...

I am originally from Vietnam.

People are often surprised that I am not a music major or a professional piano player. I actually asked my parents to take me to piano lessons after I saw some nuns playing the piano at a church near my home.

That happened when I was 6. I had private piano lessons until 15 and after that just self practiced at home.

I had a business undergraduate degree and I used to work as an actuarial analyst for Prudential. I will be a researcher and professor at a university when I graduate.


Chopin: The Poet of The Piano

I became interested in Chopin when I was 15. Actually my private piano teachers did not teach my any Chopin until then.  Initially I just wanted to make the website a place to gather and exchange information and resources about Chopin because I had very limited access to any hard copy of his work to practice.

Through the website, I was getting to know more friends and could obtain more CDs and music sheets. One of the first friends I met was Minh Khoa, who actually lived a little close to my home, owned many score editions of Chopin's music, and later created the questions for quizzes 4 and 6 on my website. Over years, I sent CD prizes to winners of the quizzes and contests, kept the website updated, and maintained interactions among visitors. I also had a chance to keep in touch with Angela Lear, a classical pianist and Chopin scholar from the U.K. who had undertaken extensive research into Chopinís manuscripts to provide an interpretation of Chopin's works as the Master intended.

I first hosted my website at the free yahoo-geocities server Since I did not have any programming or computer graphic design experience, I used Frontpage to build a very simple website (with a similar structure as the current one). At that time people did not care much about how pretty a website looks but how much content it has.

Through time, I realized that the website needed a face lift. So I taught myself Photoshop and flash, and was able to make it look better than the primitive version. In 2006, I moved my website to the current domain. Since then, I keep updating my website with more and more information on Chopinís life and work. One of the most ambitious project I have been working on and I hope to finish by 2010 is the analyses of all Chopinís works. It now seems impossible since I am doing this by myself and at the same time I also have a doctoral dissertation to write.

I actually paid attention to applying for awards since 2008. The award programs were very helpful in improving the design, navigation, and compliance. I was very happy that my website is the recipient of "Website of the year 2008" award by two World's Top Awards: O.N.Z.C.D.A. and Internet Beacon Award in January 2009. My website has always been at the top of the list in the Open Directory Project, even before I became the editor for the Chopin category in November 2008.

Paying homage to Chopin, I have visited several historic sites related to the composer in Warsaw and Paris during my European conference travels. It has been a worthwhile experience for me as I feel closer to Chopin and more appreciative of his creation.

You may find some other information (some old) and my Chopin travel photos

The Brothers Grinn
(Denny Lancaster and Bernie Howe)

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