Chinese-American multi-instrumentalist Forrest Fang's first instrument was the violin. In 1980-1981 he studied electronic music, composition, and jazz improvisation at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. At the same time, he learned fiddling at regional fiddling festivals and gained an appreciation for stringed instruments such as the mandolin and mandola.
Fang's first records were rooted in electronic music and progressive rock. His study of Chinese classical music, with zheng (Chinese zither) player Zhang Yan from mainland China, led to a stylistic shift that was evident on his fourth release, The Wolf at the Ruins (1989).
After 1991, Fang studied gagaku (ancient Japanese court music) with imperial court musician Suenobu Togi and gamelan with Balinese composer I Wayan Sujana. In 1993, Fang composed music for a Balinese shadow theater production of In Zanadu, which was awarded a Citation of Excellence from the International Puppetry Association. Some of this material was rearranged and adapted for his sixth release, 1995's Folklore. He also appeared on Robert Rich's album Seven Veils. Fang's solo releases continued with The Blind Messenger in 1997 and Gongland in September 2000. ~ Jim Dorsch