Penpa Tsering

Preferred Name
Penpa Tsering
Penpa Tsering is a master of the music of his native Tibet. He sings, dances, and plays 16 of Tibet's traditional musical instruments. Born in Chamdo, Tibet in 1963, music filled his life from an early age. His mother and grandfather taught him to sing traditional Tibetan songs, including the healing songs of his family, who, for generations, have been nomadic farmers. He claims to know over 70 Tibetan traditional songs, which are not well documented and at risk of being lost.

Eventually, like many ethnic Tibetans, he fled Chinese-governed Tibet to Nepal, and then India, by undertaking an arduous, 27-day trek across the Himalayas in 1989. On his arrival in India, Tsering was invited to join the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) in Dharamsala, an agency created by the Dalai Lama to preserve Tibetan culture. As a TIPA teacher and artist, he toured the world performing Tibetan music. He moved to the United States in 2001 and became a US citizen in 2006.

Although his primary instrument is the flute tyling (flute), Penpa Tsering has mastered the folk music styles and instruments of Tibet's three regions: his native Kham (eastern Tibet) which features the flute and the sound of the long-necked, two-stringed piwang; U-Tsang (western Tibet, roughly corresponding to the current Tibet Autonomous Region within China), whose music is based around the dramnyen, or lute; and Amdo (northern Tibet), where the dalang (Tibetan mandolin) predominates. Although the traditional Tibetan vocal repertoire was passed on to him by his mother, Tsering is primarily self-taught on these and many other traditional instruments.

Penpa Tsering taught apprentices from the Tibetan community in Connecticut sevral instruments as well as songs, in the Southern New England Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, Year 17, 2014-2015 and Year 18 2015-2016

Objects related to Individual