Preserver of ‘nanguan’ music Zhang passes away

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Jul 30, 2013 - Page 4

Musician Zhang Hongming (詹永明), an important figure in the “nanguan” music scene regarded as a “living national treasure,” died on Friday at the age of 94.

Zhang, who was designated by the Ministry of Culture as a preserver of the “important traditional art of nanguan music” in 2010, died of colorectal cancer in Greater Tainan, the city’s bureau for cultural affairs said on Saturday.

Nanguan is a Chinese classical music style that originated in Fujian Province in southern China. The instruments often used in nanguan include the dongxiao, a Chinese bamboo flute, the erxian, a bowed string instrument and the pipa, a four-stringed lute.

Born in 1919 in Fujian, Zhang received training in nanguan music in his childhood. He moved to Taiwan in the 1940s and served at Tainan air base until his retirement in 1971, the bureau said.

After his retirement, Zhang served as master teacher at Tainan Nansheng She Ensemble for more than 30 years, performing in countries including South Korea, Japan, France, Germany and Belgium. He was skilled at playing various instruments, including the pipa and erxian.

In a statement released on Friday, Stanley Wang (王壽來), director of the ministry’s bureau of cultural heritage, emphasized the importance of preserving nanguan music, and said his bureau will continue to document the lives and works of nanguan artists in Taiwan.