At 12 years of age, when many of his peers entered monasteries, Penba joined a Tibetan opera troupe, driven by his love of music.
Over four decades, love has taken him to universities in Beijing and Shanghai, as he performed in front of increasingly large crowds across China.
Now, aged 50, Penba is the chief conductor of the Tibetan Philharmonic Orchestra, one of China's few philharmonic orchestras made up of ethnic minority musicians.
He led his 68-member orchestra to southwest China's Chongqing Municipality this week, bringing plateau music to Western China's Symphony Week.
Most of the pieces, composed by native Tibetan artists, had a quick tempo Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, Sherpa Dance Music, Hometown Sentiment and Festival Valse.
As a special treat, their repertoire also included Pleasant Sunrise, a classical piece Chongqing people adore.
Their performances at the Chongqing Grand Theater Thursday night were met with rapturous acclaim and ignited in the audience enthusiasm for Tibetan folk art and culture.
It's such a delight! said university teacher Gan Lu who has visited Tibet twice. She went to the concert with her fiance.
Again and again, Penba bowed to the enthusiastic crowds.
We were fully prepared and confident this time, he said.
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