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John Cage: Music for Merce—Margaret Leng Tan, Toy and Prepared Piano

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:30 PM

Contemporary Dance Merce Cunningham at 100 The REACH

A one-night-only event performed on toy and prepared pianos by the renowned avant-garde pianist/Cage interpreter, Margaret Leng Tan.

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About

A one-night-only event performed on toy and prepared pianos by the renowned avant-garde pianist/Cage interpreter, Margaret Leng Tan.

PROGRAM:

Triple Paced (1943), piano
for Merce

Mysterious Adventure (1945), prepared piano
for Merce

Ad Lib (1943), piano
for Merce and Jean Erdman

The Seasons (1947), piano
commissioned by Lincoln Kirstein for the Ballet Society

Bacchanale (1940), prepared piano
for Syvilla Fort

Suite for Toy Piano (1948) 
for Merce

Dream (1948), piano and toy piano arrangement by Tan
for Merce

Ophelia (1946), piano
for Jean Erdman

In the Name of the Holocaust (1942), prepared string piano 
for Merce

About Margaret Leng Tan 
Singaporean pianist Margaret Leng Tan is one of the most highly regarded performers in American new 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 was the featured performer in a tribute to Cage’s memory at the 45th Venice Biennale. Tan was again invited to perform his music at the 52nd Venice Biennale. Her Cage recordings are critically regarded as definitive performances, and she performs Cage’s music in the PBS American Masters films on John Cage and Jasper Johns. She is also one of George Crumb’s favorite performers for whom he composed Metamorphoses (Book I), a major piano cycle which Tan has performed to critical acclaim throughout the world since 2017. Recognized as the world’s first toy piano virtuoso, Margaret Leng Tan 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, and National Public Radio have all profiled her career as a concert toy pianist.

Part of Merce Cunningham at 100
The Kennedy Center joins the global centennial celebration of Merce Cunningham, featuring multiple events between October 2-5, 2019. The centerpiece is a performance by Compagnie CNDC-Angers, led by Cunningham disciple Robert Swinston; alongside additional music performances, film screenings, and free activities exploring the Cunningham legacy.

Watch and Listen

Learn more about Margaret Leng Tan: "Twinkle Dammit!" Trailer by Chuang Xu