2017 A TRIBUTE TO SIR DAVID TANG KBE

Sir David Tang, LBS President

Sir David Tang KBE (2 August 1954 - 29 August 2017)

It is with deepest sadness that we announce the death of the President of the London Bach Society Sir David Tang KBE on the 29 August 2017.   In writing this tribute it is difficult to know exactly where to start, such is the eclecticism of David’s life, his circle and the projects in which he was involved.

Businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, socialite, bon vivant: these are all epithets that are usually applied when describing this energetic, imaginative, networker supreme with a gift for friendship like no other person I know. There will be many across the globe today and in Hong Kong in particular who will not only be deeply shocked at his passing, but for whom his loss will create a very large gap indeed in their lives. Warm tributes will rightly abound.  So how did he become, President of the London Bach Society and Friend then?

It was 1998 and LBS was about to enter a new century, complete with fledgling festival, new Journal, website, IT, a warm friendship established with the Leipzig Bach heritage. In short our mission was to build on Paul’s legacy, stay true to our artistic purpose, yet fashion our creativity to chime with a new era and in an atmosphere all around us of reform, even out and out change. No organisation can allow itself to live in a time warp, yet the measure of the reforming zeal espoused by our political masters could seem bewildering to some and see off others completely. That was not going to happen to LBS; nor was this a fair reflection of the ‘living memorial’ referred to often in the wake of Paul’s passing and going forward.    By chance Lord Weinstock, a longstanding LBS supporter, introduced me to a Mr David Tang OBE. I was told Mr Tang was “carving a unique niche in British Society” and as he came recommended by someone who knew exactly what we were about, in short, the letter was written and within 48 hours David had warmly accepted our invitation to be President.  Knighted in 2008, Sir David has remained so until his death on 29 August 2017.

David’s appointment was timely, just over a year before the new century began and one which coincided with the Bach 250th. So we had time to forward plan.  This 250th anniversary of the composer’s death in 1750 provided the perfect and entirely appropriate excuse to celebrate a life, to push the boat out, light up London society and, inspired entirely by David’s unique flair and imagination, put the LBS stamp on things.  This was exciting, illuminating, another string to our bow.  So in January 2000, we found ourselves in the State Apartments at St James’ Palace and David’s specially devised “Bach and China” recital and dinner given before HRH The Prince of Wales and a Who’s Who of guests from HE The Chinese Ambassador to (Sir) David Frost and (Sir) Michael Caine via (Dame) Joan Collins, Sir Mark and Lady Weinberg, Lord and Lady Weinstock, Mr Silas Chou, a host of diplomats and friends, LBS Chairman and Vice Chairman, violinist Vanessa Mae, harpsichordist Melvyn Tan and the guest narrator for the evening, actor Jeremy Irons.  The whole occasion, how it was devised and set up, the audience it attracted and the profile raising injected typifies the kind of public relations work every organisation now has to undertake in this 21st century to enable our voices to be heard and above all, to continue to influence, inspire and reach out to audiences today.  This was the first such event and a typical example of the new and exhilarating dimension David brought to the London Bach Society as our President that has also enabled us to develop our own artistic activities since.

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