RTV: Margaret Leng Tan

Release Date: Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In this episode of RTV, Margaret Leng Tan performs original works by Tan Dun, Ge Gan-ru, and Somei Satoh, and Erik Griswold’s prepared piano arrangements of Sichuan folksongs.

The Steel Qin: New Asian Music for Piano
Bitter Vegetables, Bitter Yinyin (trad. Sichuan)
Little Sister Loves a Hard-working man (trad. Sichuan) Arr. by Erik Griswold prepared piano WORLD PREMIERE
Dew-Fall-Drops (1999) Tan Dun (b.1957) string piano
C-A-G-E (1993) Tan Dun (b.1957) In memory of John Cage string piano
Gu Yue (Ancient Music) (1986) Ge Gan-ru (b.1954) prepared/string piano
Cosmic Womb (1975) Somei Satoh (b.1947) live and pre-recorded piano

Performance date: 4/29/2006
Episode release date: 04/28/2010
Host: Phoebe Legere


A highly visible and visionary pianist, Margaret Leng Tan has established herself as a major force within the American avant-garde. Her work embraces theater, choreography, and performance. Tan is regularly featured at international festivals, has created records for Mode, New Albion, and ECM, and has appeared on PBS and at Carnegie Hall. Originally from Singapore, Tan was the first woman to earn a doctorate from Juilliard. She collaborated with John Cage from 1981 to his death in 1992, exploring cultural crosscurrents between Asia and the West. This established her as Cage’s pre-eminent interpreter. Tan is fascinated by the artistic potential of toy instruments. Her groundbreaking CD, The Art of the Toy Piano (1997), made her the world’s first professional toy piano virtuoso. On the other hand, she also favors music that confronts the normal boundaries of piano, performing works by Somei Satoh, Tan Dun, Ge Gan-ru, Michael Nyman and Toby Twining. She is George Crumb’s favorite pianist.