Singaporean pianist Margaret Leng Tan is one of the most highly regarded performers in American experimental music. Tan, whose work embraces theater, choreography, performance, has been hailed as the “diva of avant-garde pianism” by The New Yorker. She is renowned as a pre-eminent John Cage interpreter (her mentor of eleven years) and for her performances of American and Asian music that transcend the piano’s conventional boundaries. She is also one of George Crumb’s favorite performers for whom he composed Metamorphoses (Book I), a major piano cycle which Ms. Tan has performed to critical acclaim throughout Europe and USA since 2017. It will receive its Australian premiere at the Extended Play Festival presented by Sydney’s City Recital Hall on August 31.
The first woman to earn a doctorate from Juilliard, Margaret Leng Tan is recognized as the world’s first toy piano virtuoso. Her groundbreaking 1997 recording, The Art of the Toy Piano (Point/Universal), transformed a humble toy into a real instrument. She has been called “the queen of the toy piano” (The New York Times) and “the toy piano’s Rubenstein” (The Independent, UK). The BBC, CNN, National Public Radio (USA) have all profiled her career as a concert toy pianist. Her curiosity has extended to other toy instruments as well, substantiating her credo: “Poor tools require better skills” (Marcel Duchamp).
In 2015 Ms. Tan was awarded the Cultural Medallion, Singapore’s highest artistic accolade. Recent major works written for her include Curios by Phyllis Chen, a solo music-theater piece for toy instruments. Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep, a theatrical sonic portrait of Margaret Leng Tan, is currently in the works in collaboration with the Australian music theatre company, Chamber Made. Dragon Ladies will premiere in February 2020 at AsiaTOPA in Melbourne.
To find out more about Margaret Leng Tan visit margaretlengtan.com or find her on Facebook