It is nearly thirty years since the Vietnam war ended and the country is emerging from political and economic isolation. Music, and particularly the story of the Vietnamese National Symphony orchestra (VNSO), reflect these changes from a cultural perspective. Like the country, the orchestra is in transition, helped by an exciting and surprising collaboration with Britain. The major question for the orchestra is, How to improve quality when there are few performance opportunities? Intensive periods of coaching and training are the way forward, provided by Colin Metters, Conducting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. The orchestra has also appointed Graham Sutcliffe a Brit who has been living in Vietnam for the past ten years as Resident Conductor. For the musicians, there are other more immediate questions. Surviving as a classical musician means having other sources of income; leading a circus band, running small businesses from home or operating a foundry for sports equipment. ...