About Diana Tang
I was born in Guangdong Province in China, moved to Hong Kong with my parents when I was very young and immigrated to Canada when I was a teenager. My great grandmother was British, so I am one-eighth British.
I found my passion in the four Arts of the Chinese scholar: guqin-playing, Chinese chess, calligraphy and painting, as well as Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese culture and history ever since I was very young.
When I was 19 years old, I was inspired by the story of Confucius learning “King Wen Playing the Guqin” and decided I would learn to play the guqin. However, I was unable to find a guqin teacher, so I started to study the guzheng, another Chinese traditional instrument, until I met Ms. Qiao Shan, the second-generation successor of the Jiuyi school’s master Guan Pinghu. I studied with Ms. Qiao for over a decade and further studied “King Wen Playing the Guqin” and “Clouds over the Xiang River” with masters Cheng Gongliang and Gong Yi. I was enchanted with the guqin’s special qualities of elegance, gentleness, quietude, subtleness, clarity, non-aggressiveness, lightness and far-reaching abilities.
I have come to understand that the art of guqin is extensive and profound. In recent years, I have learned that to be a perfect guqin player, I must master strict rhythm and accurate sound. More recently, I have been taught by the well-known composer, piano educator and performer Mr. Xie Tianji. He has made very strict demands of me working on “Flowing Water”, “Music of Guangling”, “Three Stanzas on Plum Blossoms”, “Lament on Losing Favour”, “Pu’an Mantra” and others, phrase by phrase and sometimes even note by note.
I truly understand that the guqin is good for cultivating one’s character and personality. It incorporates Confucian, Buddhist and Taoist ideals, as well as the natural harmony of heaven, earth and humanity, observing the rules of harmony and naturalness. It embodies ideology, artistry and philosophy, and it embraces rich cultural contents, giving it unique cultural characteristics as well as artistic charm.
I have tried my best to promote Chinese traditional culture while living in Vancouver, Canada for 40 years. I have taught guqin in English at the Institute of Asian Research in the University of British Columbia in 2005 and 2009.
On August 28, 2016, Stringless Guqin House was created, and an hour-long documentary was filmed in 2017. The objective is to show that the guqin and Buddhist meditation share the same charm, tea and meditation share the same taste, and incense and meditation share the same transcendent state. The pure and calm heart reveals the unstained purity of stringless music.
In 2020, I published my first book, The Way of the Guqin, the fruit of my 15-year effort in research and interpretation. Written in both English and Chinese, the book is a reflection of my personal understanding of the subject as well as the distillation of a vast quantity of writings of those experts in and lovers of guqin who came before me. It is also my way of expressing my profound love for this beautiful ancient musical instrument – by sharing with the world everything I know about the guqin and what it means to me.