“the diva of avant-garde pianism”
- The New Yorker

2016 SELECTED PERFORMANCES

AFTER FUKUSHIMA
Fifth Anniversary
24-Hour Vigil
St. Mark’s Church
131 East 10th St (at 2nd Ave.)
New York City

Friday, March 11, 10pm to
Saturday, March 12, 10pm

Eiko performs Friday, 9pm (tix required)
Artists perform each hour on the hour
MLT performs Saturday, 8pm

Free admission

eikoandkoma.org


ODE TO SCHROEDER
Schroeder Hall
Green Music Center
Sonoma State University

Sunday, May 1, 3pm

gmc.sonoma.edu


CABINET OF CURIOSITIES
featuring
Phyllis Chen’s CURIOS 
and other works
at
OZ ASIA FESTIVAL
Adelaide, Australia

Wednesday, September 28, 8pm
Nexus Arts

ozasiafestival.com.au
adelaidereview.com.au
radio.adelaide.edu.au

Buy Tickets


About

Margaret Leng Tan has established herself as a major force within the American avant-garde; a highly visible, talented and visionary pianist whose work sidesteps perceived artificial boundaries within the usual concert experience and creates a new level of communication with listeners.

Embracing aspects of theater, choreography, performance and even “props” such as the teapot she “plays” in Alvin Lucier’s Nothing is Real, Tan has brought to the avant-garde a measure of good old-fashioned showmanship tempered with a disciplinary rigor inherited from her mentor John Cage. This has won Tan acceptance far beyond the norm for performers of avant-garde music, as she is regularly featured at international festivals, records often for adventurous labels such as Mode and New Albion and has appeared on American public television, at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

Born in Singapore, Tan was the first woman to earn a doctorate from Juilliard, but youthful restlessness and a desire to explore the crosscurrents between Asian music and that of the West led her to John Cage. This sparked an active collaboration between Cage and Tan that lasted from 1981 to his death, during which Tan gained recognition as one of the pre-eminent interpreters of Cage’s music, partly through her New Albion recordings, Daughters of the Lonesome Isle and The Perilous Night/Four Walls. She has subsequently recorded Works for Piano 4 and Works for Piano 7 for Mode Records’ Complete John Cage Edition. After Cage’s death in 1992, she was chosen as the featured performer in a tribute to his memory at the 45th Venice Biennale.

Tan takes a lively interest in the musical potential of unconventional and unlikely instruments, and in 1997 her groundbreaking CD, The Art of the Toy Piano on Point Music/Universal Classics elevated the lowly toy piano to the status of a “real” instrument.

Tan is certainly the world’s first professional toy piano virtuoso. Since then her curiosity has extended to other toy instruments as well, substantiating her credo “Poor tools require better skills” (Marcel Duchamp). She Herself Alone: The Art of the Toy Piano 2, Ms. Tan’s latest toy instrumental album (mode 221 CD/DVD), has been called “one of this year’s finest treasures of new music” (Downtown Music Gallery).

Tan favors music that confronts and defies the established boundaries of the piano and her toy instruments and has collaborated with like-minded composers to create works for her, such as Somei Satoh, Tan Dun, Michael Nyman, Julia Wolfe, Toby Twining and Ge Gan-ru; she is also a favorite of composer George Crumb. Tan’s authority on matters of Cage has evolved from that of an expert interpreter to responsible scholar protecting the textual integrity of his work; Tan edited the fourth volume of Cage’s piano music for C. F. Peters and in 2006 gave the premiere of his newly discovered 1944 work Chess Pieces, which she also edited for publication. Tan’s Mode DVD of Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes includes a video in which she examines the original, 1940s era preparation materials for the work. Photogenic and comfortable with the camera, Tan is the subject of a feature documentary by filmmaker Evans Chan, Sorceress of the New Piano: The Artistry of Margaret Leng Tan, which has been screened at numerous international film festivals including Vancouver, Melbourne and AFI/Discovery Channel’s SILVERDOCS where it was nominated for Best Music Documentary. Sorceress of the New Piano and a bonus film by Chan, The Maverick Piano, is now available on DVD on Mode Records (mode 194).

– David N. Lewis (Uncle Dave Lewis), courtesy of All Music Guide.

Media

ARTICLES

Articles about Margaret

Margaret Leng Tan’s Childlike Symphony
This will be my legacy: that I have made the toy piano a real instrument.
The Adelaide Review
Dragon Lady of the Toy Piano
One thing I’ve learnt from John Cage is that your awareness extends beyond just your art.
The Straits Times
Margaret Leng Tan Reigns over a Toy Piano Renaissance
Composers love writing for instruments where there are no rules.
The Adelaide Review
A Performer Drawn to the Piano’s Wild Side
The toy piano is so utterly primitive … You have to work hard to make it speak.
Newyork Times
Chrysalis and Absence: Some Notes on Margaret Leng Tan
I … push myself to the limits to accomplish something that I’m after.
furious.com
Sorceress of the New Piano
… turning a humble toy into an instrument worthy of the international concert stage.
evanschan.com
P-Art Web of Artists
For this we sent you to Juilliard !?
P-Art Web of Artists

Writings by Margaret

Music of the Unquiet Mind
Why do you not do as I do? Letting go of your thoughts as though they were the cold ashes of a long dead fire?
— John Cage
The New York Times
John Cage Poses a Few Last Questions
Life goes on very well without me, and that will explain to you my silent piece, “4'33.”
— John Cage
Newyork Times
Swiped!
SWIPE, swipe, swipe again.
Newyork Times
The Pit Bull on the Subway
HE was standing immobile in the center of the Grand Concourse at Grand Central Terminal, an arresting figure in the near-deserted hub …
Newyork Times

Photos

REVIEWS

Reviews about Margaret

Margaret Leng Tan’s Wondrous Cabinet of Curiosities
by Mayo Martin
… plain wondrous mystery Tan evoked …
Today Online
Margaret Leng Tan Unveils a Cabinet of Musical Curiosities
by Mervin Beng
… beautiful music from a hand-wound music box roll …
The Straits Times
Margaret Leng Tan, Making Serious Music on a Toy Piano
by Stephen Brookes
… played bird whistles, mechanical crickets and a 37-key piano … with such delicate insight.
Washington Post
CLANGOR! Review
by Chang Tou Liang
The final work saw Tan at her most theatrical with Jed Distler’s Minute Ring (2006) ...
Invention and Whimsy, Inspired by a Toy
by Steve Smith
Ms. Tan ... has long been the toy piano’s most serious and diligent advocate.
Newyork Times
Big Music, Shrunk to Fit a (Much) Smaller Scale
by Vivien Schweitzer
Ms. Tan simulated a dialogue between noisemakers ...
Newyork Times
Dancing around Duchamp – John Cage’s Four Walls
by Curtis Rogers
… an unsettling, disturbing experience in the best sense.
Wandering around Cage: Margaret Leng Tan plays Four Walls
by Paul Kilbey
… hard to imagine any performance … more committed or intense …
Impatient Hipsters Miss Out on First-class Cage
by David Patrick Stearns
Tan played Cage as if each of her fingers had its own individual brain.
Anne Midgette on the John Cage Centennial Festival
by Anne Midgette
Washington Post
Cage Festival: The End
by Anne Midgette
Margaret Leng Tan … gave a luminous performance of “Four Walls.”
Washington Post
Beautiful Breakable Toys
by John Schneider
Time and timelessness, ... and all things great and small were present.
Shepherd Express
Margaret Leng Tan’s Mischief and Mystery
by Tom Strini
Listen, and a world of small miracles will open to you.
Urban Milwaukee
Culture Watch: What’s New in Music, DVDs and Books
by Mark Swed
Tan happens to be the penetrating, passionate toy pianist of the avant-garde.
Los Angles Times
Album: Margaret Leng Tan, She Herself Alone (Mode)
by Phil Johnson
The Schoenhut is the Steinway of toy pianos and Tan is its Rubinstein.
Independent
When the Keyboard Is Merely an Option
by Anthony Tommasini
You need much more than excellent technique to perform George Crumb’s “Makrokosmos” …
Newyork Times

RECORDINGS

SHE HERSELF ALONE
The Art of the Toy Piano 2

Composers: Cage, Griswold, Twining, Crumb, Kitzke, Bolleter, Liben

Performer - Margaret Leng Tan: toy piano, prepared piano, music box, woodblocks, bicycle bell, bicycle horn, train whistle

She Herself Alone
Lost Style

Composer: Ge Gan-Ru

Performers - Shanghai Quartet with Kathryn Woodard, piano, Margaret Leng Tan, voice, self-accompanied by toy orchestra, Frank Su Huang, cello

Lost Style
The Works for Piano 7

Composer: John Cage

Performer - Margaret Leng Tan: piano, prepared piano

The Works for Piano 7
Chinese Rhapsody

Composer: Ge Gan-Ru

Performers - Margaret Leng Tan: piano, prepared piano, Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by José Serebrier

Chinese Rhapsody
MAKROkosmos I & II

Composer: George Crumb

Performer - Margaret Leng Tan: piano, prepared piano

MAKROKOSMOS I & II
The Works for Piano 4

Composer: John Cage

Performers - Margaret Leng Tan, John Cage, Burgess Meredith

The Works for Piano 4
The Seasons

Composer: John Cage

Performers - Margaret Leng Tan: piano, prepared piano, American Composers Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies

The Seasons
The Art of the Toy Piano

Composers: Various

Performer - Margaret Leng Tan: piano, prepared piano

The Art of the Toy Piano
New Classicism

Composer: Milos Raickovick

Performers - Margaret Leng Tan: piano, prepared piano, Moscow Symphony Orchestra

New Classicism
Daughters of the Lonesome Isle

Composer: John Cage

Performer - Margaret Leng Tan: piano, prepared piano

Daughters of the Lonesome Isle
The Perilous Night; Four Walls

Composer: John Cage

Performers - Margaret Leng Tan: piano, prepared piano, Joan La Barbara: voice

The Perilous Night; Four Walls
Sonic Encounters

Composers: Ge Gan-ru, Somei Satoh, Alan Hovhaness, George Crumb, John Cage

Performer - Margaret Leng Tan: piano, prepared piano

Sonic Encounters
Litania

Composer: Somei Satoh

Performer - Margaret Leng Tan: piano

Litania
Sorceress of the New Piano

Composers: Crumb • Cage
Cowell

Performers - Margaret Leng Tan: piano, prepared piano, Joan La Barbara: voice

Sorceress of the New Piano
THE WORKS FOR PIANO 7

Composers: John Cage, Vittorio Rieti

Performer - Margaret Leng Tan: piano and prepared piano

The Works for Piano 7
Makrokosmos I & II

Composer: George Crumb

Performer - Margaret Leng Tan: piano and amplified piano

Makrokosmos I & II

Contact

Send Margaret a message.