It is always a joy to get to interview Vanthan, the music alumni from the Performing Arts School of Phare Ponleu Selpak

Vanthan is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, record producer, and instrumentalist. The well-known singer of “Khmer Gentleman” at Baramey Production and also the music performer from Phare, The Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap, Vanthan worked hard to achieve his dream of musical stardom, and he continues to make it shine!

To celebrate the 30th, we asked Vanthan to share his reflections and memories about our beautiful arts school in Battambang, Cambodia.

Watch the video below (in Khmer) or read a transcript of his talk in English further down.

Can you introduce yourself?

Hi there to all of you. My name is LY Vanthan, but I go by just Vanthan.

I am thirty-three years old this year. Although my family and I moved to Battambang, we are originally from Kampong Chhnang Province. Because of my job, I now reside in Phnom Penh.

What do you do now?

I once was a music student at Phare Ponleu Selpak before becoming a musician at Phare, The Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap. In the Phare music school, I studied both traditional Khmer music and modern music.

Today, I am a music artist and songwriter at Baramey Production.

Find out about the Vanthan’s favorite memories and experiences while studying music at Phare Ponleu Selpak

When did you attend in Phare Ponleu Selpak?

I attended Phare Performing Arts School as a music student starting in 2001.

What does Phare mean to you?

Phare Ponleu Selpak means so much to me. It is my second home since it gives the community’s underprivileged pupils access to all kinds of arts education and other skills, particularly creative ones. Overall, Phare has assisted numerous students in becoming as well-known artists like me.

What do you think of first when you think about Phare?

When I heard about Phare for the first time, I remembered the smile of everyone at Phare. What I mean is whenever I walk on campus, I can see everyone such as teachers, students, and Phare staff’s beautiful smiles. They come to​ this campus full of passion​ and support for the community.

How did Phare Ponleu Selpak help you succeed in your field?

Even though I’m now an artist at Baramey Production, Phare has been supporting me since 2021. From the time I began working with Phare in 2021 until I became the person I am today, Phare taught me how to succeed as an artist. I could never have imagined myself in that role.

Find out about the Vanthan’s favorite memories and experiences while studying music at Phare Ponleu Selpak

photo credit: Jasmine-រដ្ឋ

What is your favorite memory of studying at Phare?

I do have a lot of memories with this school, my teachers, my friends, and my elders. What I will never forget​​ is during 2003, when we didn’t have a proper performance stage, and we had to perform outside of the school, in our old art school building, or even put a tent outside just for our performances. After we finished our performance, I remembered that I had received a packet of cookies, and​​ we were eating it together as friends.

If you had to introduce Phare to someone new, what would you describe about it?

When I introduce Phare to someone new, I always admire every skill, especially art skills,​ which all are good disciplines. I always encourage kids and people with their young children to join Phare because the teachers here are all the best.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

For me, I don’t have anything else to say besides the word “thank you” to Phare and the teachers who have always helped me. Also, I’d like to thank my father especially because he has helped a lot of students here and me, helping me become who I am today. Especially, I’d like to send this message to newbies:

“Student shouldn’t waste time learning only to give up. They need to consider what coming here will give to them in the long run.”

Also to everyone, even if you haven’t studied Phare yet, I would like you to help promote Phare. Show others the rich educational resources that this organization provides for us as students and the artistic abilities its students have acquired.

Contribute to Phare Ponleu Selpak and change the lives of Cambodian children and youth through the power of the arts. 


Chiern Piseth Samphallyka, Communications Assistant at Phare Ponleu Selpak
CHIERN Piseth Samphallyka
Chiern Piseth Samphallyka works as the Communications Assistant at Phare Ponleu Selpak. She believes life is like the beauty of art. Currently she is a university student and wants to develop her SEO skills. She loves to read novels and listen to music in her free time.