An interview article by Rosemary Phillips, April 2007
INTRO 2012: I am at a loss for words to describe Tina Guo, a woman of such intense passion for her art; in fact I am left speechless. What I feel is immense awe and hope fulfilled to know that this world will be, in the near future, cradled in the hands of such gifted and philosophical people who delve into a far deeper meaning and understanding of life – in this case – through music.
There are two videos on this page, showing the comfort Tina has with both traditional classic and new music. The first is of Elgar's "Cello Concerto, 1st Movement" with the USC Thorton Chamber Orchesra, and the second is "Qeen Bee" from an instrumental track with "Lotus Rising", a video that was awarded LA Downtown Film Festival Best Music Video in 2009 and was nominated for Best Music Video: 2009 Hollywood Music in Media Awards.
Tina Guo, a brilliant cellist, one of the most exciting on the world stage today, stated of her future, “I would like to continue down this road that I am creating for myself. There’s fate and also manifesting what you want to achieve and have; however you have to put yourself into action for that.”
Born in Shanghai, Tina has been studying music since she was three years old. It is her life, her voice - without words. “But, it wasn’t until I was in the last years of high school (in the U.S.), that I found myself growing closer to my instrument, that it had become my voice and my most pure and unadulterated method of communication.”
While her music speaks for her soul, she uses words like a poet. On music and love she said, “What beauty and what absolute torture it is that the things we need most to express can't be expressed in our normal state of consciousness. Music, music, music is my only avenue of expression. Sometimes I feel sick with passion, and just passion in itself drives me to near insanity, for there are not enough holes for me to fill with it; a liquid pouring and gushing out of my soul, with every container overflowing. It is sick. It is absolute torment. My heart is bleeding but the blood never ceases. It is ecstasy."
Described as being a ‘smoulderingly passionate talent’ who produces great intimate excitement in her performance, Tina barely left the house before she went to college, at which time she got her first real taste of freedom and self expansion. Now she is like a sponge, absorbing, thirsting for knowledge of life. “I really feel that falling in love and feeling those tender and insane feelings expanded my horizons,” she explained. “I’m far from knowing nearly enough about anything. I started out reading books, and I love to talk to people about beliefs. I studied many religions – to explore everything. I am always searching for answers. I now know that life it not about the end result; it’s about the journey. Everything is changing; everything is flowing. I live in the present but I’m not bound to it.”
Tina expresses life through her music. “You have to experience life and all the emotions, to the extreme, like a true artist, to feel things traumatically. Because of that, when you have something to play, you have something to say and express.”
For her performance with the Vancouver Island Symphony she was to play Dvorak’s Violoncello Concerto about which she says, “It is very close to me. I have been playing it since I was nine. It is a part of my language, very grand and very beautiful, a huge journey of emotions. The first movement is very noble and proud; the second is like a prayer, like speaking to God, sadness and beauty. The third is more upbeat, but Dvorak changed the ending. His wife passed away. It is fast then all of a sudden hits a wall, falls apart, then painful and beautiful renditions – a certain moment of her death and then arriving in heaven. The cello part is very melancholy. I can associate it with heartbreak, which I have experienced. Whether it’s a blessing or a curse, I’m very emotional all the time.”
It was a fascinating interview, with definitely no shortage of words. Tina was in a recording studio in L.A., experimenting with new ideas, and at the same time doing her studies, for she is still a student, not just of music, but of life; and practicing for the many engagements in her schedule - her Canadian debut with the VI Symphony, visits to France and Brazil, and a tour of Australia as a member of the classical crossover phenomenon Metaphor – four classical divas creating music that is truly global and genre defying.
Tina Guo travels prepared. “I carry everything with me,” she explained. “I have my studies, and I’m working on the computer. The cello isn’t heavy – about 20 pounds. I have a soft case so I just strap it on my back.”
While I still remain tongue-tied, Tina has said it all.