When you visit the official site of the Visconti Studio, you can see a digital countdown. In a few days, the studio will be open at 4 pm on Sept. 19th, 2016 in Kingston University London, United Kingdom. It is exciting news for people in the music industry. The global Tai Chi (Taiji) community is equally enthusiastic to celebrate another milestone accomplished by Tony Visconti, an advanced Tai Chi practitioner.
The Visconti Studio is a partnership among world-renowned record producer Tony Visconti, Kingston University (London, UK), the British Library, and the Science Museum of U.K. The Visconti Studio is part of a research and teaching project centered around recording technology, associated practices, and the sound of analogue recording. The project will not only provide students with training in the use and maintenance of recording equipment, but also on recording techniques. Tony Visconti will be a key contributor to the project’s research and enterprise outputs. Tony will be working with students and staff of Kingston University, as well as invited artists, to produce records.
Tony is regarded as one of the great innovators in music production globally. He has produced many groundbreaking songs and worked with some of the most influential music performers in pop music. He has associated with Marc Bolan / T. Rex, Thin Lizzy, David Bowie, Morrissey, the Moody Blues, and more recently Kristeen Young, Alejandro Escovedo, Marc Almond, Esperanza Spalding, and more. His longest creative relationship was with David Bowie: from Bowie’s second album in 1969 to the 2016’s Blackstar, which is a blockbuster and also a “parting gift” from David before his death early this year. You can click a link here to see Tony’s entire discography. Djin Djin album was his collaboration with artist Angelique Kidjo in 2007 and won the Grammy’s Best Contemporary World Music Album. In 2011 Tony won The Joe Meek Award for Innovation in Production by Music Producers Guild of the U.K.
Born in 1944 in Brooklyn, New York, Tony started to play the ukulele when he was five, and then learned guitar. During his teenage years he was playing tuba in a classical brass band, double bass in a traditional orchestra, and rock ‘n’ roll-oriented guitar. At 15, he started to play in local bands. After leaving school, he played with a few bands and enjoyed short success and fame. His career as a record producer did not take off until he moved to London in 1968.
Now residing in New York, Tony plays in bands occasionally in addition to producing critically acclaimed records. In 2014, Tony got a call from Woody Woodmansey, a drummer in David Bowie’s backing band The Spiders from Mars, and discussed the idea of performing Bowie’s third album The Man Who Sold the World since this well-known album was never played live. After some careful thought, Tony decided to form Holy Holy with Woody and other notable musicians to perform the David Bowie’s music live. The group took a short tour in the U.K. in Sept. 2014 with a huge success. In 2015 at request, Holy Holy toured the U.K. and Japan. In the past winter and spring, the band toured cities in the U.S. and Canada and received rave reviews.
At age 72, Tony plays a bass guitar with his heart out. He is energetic on stage and sometimes squats very low like a 27-year-old. Besides his passion for music, he attributes his dynamic performance to the practice of Tai Chi, which enables him to be nimble, flexible, and strong.
Like his music career, Tony has a long relationship with Chinese martial arts. He took Moo Duk Kwan at age 17 for self-defense, and later Fun Sau as well as Wing Chun. But he found his true love in Tai Chi. He studied the Yang Style Tai Chi with Master John Kells in London first. When he moved back to New York, at his late friend Rock Legend Lou Reed’s recommendation, he began studying Chen Style Tai Chi with Grandmaster Ren Guangyi. Tony is one of Ren’s advanced students and helps to lead the class when Ren is out of town. Tony stated that the Tai Chi practice helps him with health and increase stamina for the late evening stage performance. You can read more about Tony and Tai Chi here.
(Edited by Doc Luecke.)