Fan Di-zhi--the Flute Promoter and Maker
Chinese flute maker D.Z. Fan Fan Di-zhi was born in a Hubei mashal family. In his teenage he was entranced by a professional flute player from Wuhan Opera and so he started learning to play dizi from him systematically. Later he was recruited as a dizi performer in a local opera troupe. In the 80s he left the troupe and found his way of life. He opened a kung-fu learning center but he did not give up self-studying dizi playing techniques. Struggling a few years with the feeling that he should put more efforts on dizi, he closed the kung-fu center and came to Wuhan. He decided to sell dizi on the street.
He got some unsalable dizi from flute factories, tried repairing them and selling them to dizi lovers in universities. He played the dizi at the doorway of several universities to attract customers. The fact that he played well and eventually sold well was so encouraging that it kept him on the street for over 10 years. During this period he has rejected invitations to employ him as kung-fu tutor for the police crew, just because he was filled with the enchantment of the flute.
Those sweet and sour days on the street were unforgettable. Despite the bad experiences caused by starvation and unexpected disturbances from hooligans, there was an abundance of attainments-- financially he solved the problems of living for his family, and most important of all, he leaped a great step upward for his dizi techniques.
Now there is a special room assigned for dizi making in Mr. D.Z.Fan's home. All the specific machines and tools were designed and installed by him. "I used up almost all my intelligence to make the best flutes." he said.
One of the distinct features of Fan's xiao and dizi flutes is the use of top quality "Queens' Tears Bamboo" and "Chi Bamboo" found in Hunan and Hubei. According to Fan, the use of Tiger Bamboo and other bamboo materials to produce flutes has reached saturation in south-eastern provinces.@So he decided to make a breakthrough. He was appealed by the Queens' Tears Bamboo for its solidity and archaic outlook.

Fan has commented that Queens' Tears Bamboo flutes have solid tones and smoother strength controls, and are easier to play. But since these bamboo materials are more irregular than other bamboo, flute-makers are sure to encounter more problems. Over the years he has been endeavoring on the use of Queens Bamboo. From material selection to material processing, positioning, holes-opening, lacquering, binding and decorating, he has accumulated experiences by doing experiments, resolving problems, reading and consulting professionals in Wuhan Conservatory, and subsequently he evolved his own flute making methodology. Now his flutes have his own style with a high maturity level in both music as well as crafts.
Now in his 50s, Fan consumes most of his time in flute making and teaching. Being a well-known flute maker in Wuhan as well as in China, he is now the tutor of flute societies in several universities in Wuhan. His passion for the flute is ever-burning. He will go on making better flutes to meet the needs of flute enthusiasts.