Requiem for a Massacre: A Concert of Healing and Reconciliation with Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ & Screening of The Whistleblower of My Lai

Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ, Connie Field, Sally Chisholm, Nam C. Kim

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The Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium
@ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Requiem for a Massacre:
A Concert of Healing and Reconciliation
with Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ
and The Whistleblower of My Lai film

April 14, 2024
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium

Watch Emmy-winning musician and singer Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ perform on Vietnamese instruments and view a free screening of her film, The Whistleblower of My Lai. This astonishing, award-winning documentary shows how the Kronos Quartet produced a haunting opera, My Lai, that reveals the inside story of the tragic My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War.

This performance and film (63 mins) will be followed by complimentary food and an audience conversation with Ms. Võ and the film’s director, Connie Field, moderated by Professor Nam C. Kim.

~ Introduction by Pro Arte Quartet violist, Professor Sally Chisholm~

Performance by Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ

A fearless musical explorer, Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ is a world-renowned performer of the 16-string đàn tranh (zither) and an Emmy Award-winning composer who has collaborated with Kronos Quartet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Yo-Yo Ma. In addition to her mastery of the đàn tranh, she also uses the monochord (đàn bầu), bamboo xylophone (đàn t’rung), traditional drums (trống) and many other instruments to create music that blends the wonderfully unique sounds of Vietnamese instruments with other genres, and fuses deeply rooted Vietnamese musical traditions with fresh new structures and compositions.

The Whistleblower of My Lai film

The massacre of over 500 innocent civilians by American soldiers in the village of My Lai on March 16, 1968, was one of the darkest moments of the Vietnam War. The events of that day may well have gone unnoticed save for the actions of a young army helicopter pilot who, by happenstance, witnessed the killing in the course of a routine reconnaissance flight. Appalled by what he saw, Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson attempted to intercede. Aghast at his inability to stop the slaughter, he reported the massacre to military high command thus putting the incident firmly in army records. In November 1969, Seymour Hersh broke the story in his Pulitzer Prize-winning exposé, which shook the national conscience. Thompson’s refusal to remain silent about the massacre forced the military to conduct an inquiry and trial.

Among the generation that came of age during the 1960’s were four artists — David Harrington of the Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet, composer Jonathan Berger, novelist Harriet Scott Chessman, and singer Rinde Eckert — on whose lives the Vietnam War and its controversy left an indelible mark.

Out of this concern they created a new music opera, with musician Vân-Ánh Võ, that explores the tragedy of the My Lai Massacre through the perspective of Thompson’s naïve, heroically idealistic, ethical decision to act, and its consequences. The creativity of this artistic collaboration brings a whole new dimension to understanding the Vietnam War and Hugh Thompson that one cannot get from a traditional historical documentary. The intensity of the libretto, the power of the unique music, the focus of a haiku encapsulation of a specific story captures the essence of the tragedy of that war.

Winner of nine film awards!

Food and Conversation with Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ and Film Director Connie Field

This performance and film screening will be followed by complimentary catering and an audience conversation with Ms. Võ and the film’s director, Connie Field, moderated by Professor Nam C. Kim.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more on Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ, see:


Part of Waging Peace in Vietnam exhibit and events
at the Wisconsin State Historical Society from April 1-22, 2024.