Pepperdine Magazine is the feature magazine for Pepperdine University and its growing community of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends.
Pierre Long-Tao Tang
The new conductor of the Pepperdine University Symphony and Wind Ensemble notes the most instrumental moments of his performing arts career
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Tang’s parents encouraged him to begin playing the piano at the age of five with the thought that it would help him get accepted into a good school.
“My hometown has a very strong affinity for cultural knowledge and diversity. We don’t learn music just because it’s fun.”
Tang was one of an elite 27 accepted to Chung Chi College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. While completing his studies, he served as a camp leader for a Christian wind band camp and used unconventional methods to instill the importance of music in his campers.
“On the second day of camp, we got up at 5 am and took a bus to the poorest neighborhood of Hong Kong. We went dumpster diving, tried to buy lunch with the money we earned from dumpster diving, and laid with the homeless to understand what it felt like to be looked down on.”
Fundamentally changed by his experience as a camp leader and the realization of how privileged he was, Tang felt a desire to lead musical groups in faith and service. In leading his students, Tang strives to help them remember that the essence of art is to connect and communicate.
“Music, at its core, connects one to something that is timeless. It transcends all barriers and language, and it arouses various feelings, memories, and sensations. The more you try to design an experience or become too concerned with the technical aspect of the performance, the less authentic it becomes.”
In his rookie year at Pepperdine, Tang led the Wind Ensemble in the performance of a variety of musical selections at President Jim Gash’s inauguration ceremony on September 25, 2019. Their first performance featured “Esprit de Corps” by Robert Jager.
No matter the performance, Tang seeks to create memorable moments for all who attend. “I’d like the audience to leave thinking, ‘I’m never going to forget this moment.’ I want them to experience something beyond words.”
Recognized in April 2019 as a First Forward institution by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators for its commitment to the success of first-generation students, Seaver College and its Student Success Center’s First Wave program offer resources and tools to help this unique population thrive throughout their academic journey.
The Pepperdine community shared their well wishes and warm thoughts as President Jim Gash began his new role on August 1, 2019.
MONICA BREWSTER ESKRIDGE
No one is more deserving of this position than Jim Gash. Jim was meant for this, and Pepperdine is so lucky to have him.
JESSICA GASH (’18)
Hey, I know him! So proud of you, dad!
Congrats President Gash! Excited to start the new school year with you!
Just when I think I can’t love this amazing place of learning any more than I already do . . . Go do great things for Him!
Explore a collection of some of the most notable moments from recent events held across the University.
From the Archives
The women of George Pepperdine College gather on campus during an event in the late 1940s.
Source: University Archives Photograph Collection