Personalities | Tan Dun | Contemporary | Classical

b. 1957
Chinese-American composer

Tan grew up in Hunan province during the Cultural Revolution, encountering Western classical music only on entering the Beijing Central Conservatory at 19. Encouraged there by visiting teachers such as Goehr, Henze and Takemitsu, he moved to New York in 1986 to continue his studies at Columbia University. His early works integrated elements of Western atonality with instruments and ritual elements of Chinese traditional music. More recently – in such public works as 2000 Today: a World Symphony for the Millennium and his Internet Symphony No. 1 of 2009 (which linked remote performers with live musicians at Carnegie Hall via YouTube) – he has developed a more pluralistic, tonal style. A decade after Marco Polo (which won the Grawemeyer Award), the Metropolitan Opera premiered The Last Emperor (2006), with Plácido Domingo in the title role. Tan won an Oscar in 2000 for his score for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Recommended Recording:
Ghost Opera, Kronos Quartet, Wu Man (Nonesuch/Warner)

Introduction | Contemporary | Classical
Personalities | (Sir) John Tavener | Contemporary | Classical


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