Chinese-American pianist Margaret Leng Tan will be a guest participant at the honors seminar course, The Artist in Modern Society, on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 26-27.
Both events will be held in Sperry Center, Room 106, and are free and open to the campus community. Seating in the classroom is limited to 80 visitors.
Tan has been described as "the foremost performer on the world stage exploring the mysterious world of sound and silence lurking both inside and outside the piano."
On Tuesday, Oct. 26, the 2004 documentary film by Evans Chan, “Sorceress of the New Piano: The Artistry of Margaret Leng Tan,” will be shown from 7-8:30 p.m. Strumming, bowing, plucking, sweeping and striking the strings of a grand piano and performing Beethoven on a toy piano are among the surprising scenes in the film celebrating the life and career of Tan, hailed by The New Yorker as “the diva of avant-garde pianism.”
“The film presents a superb portrait of a charismatic performer, as well as an exciting compilation of ‘new piano’ music,” wrote critic Robert Schulslaper in the November/December 2008 issue of Fanfare.
“Margaret Leng Tan has been fighting the good fight for a quarter century — a ‘sorceress’ indeed — and now she is the subject of one of the best films ever made about a musician,” wrote Tim Page in The Washington Post.
On Wednesday, Oct. 27, Tan will interact in converse with the audience and answer questions on the film and other subjects from 12:40 to 2:30 p.m.
As the film and her in-person interactions will show, Tan is justly celebrated not just for the fierce concentration and intensity of her performances, but also for a charming sense of fun and a compelling desire to make her audience participate in everything she does.
Born in Singapore, Tan was the first woman to earn a doctorate from Juilliard. She has established herself as a major force within the American avant-garde. A highly visible, talented and visionary pianist, her work creates a new level of communication with listeners. She embraces aspects of theater, choreography, performance and even props such as the teapot she plays in Alvin Lucier’s Nothing is Real. This has won Tan acceptance far beyond the norm for performers of avant-garde music, as she is regularly featured at international festivals, often records for adventurous labels and has appeared on American public television, at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.
“Tan is no stranger to SUNY Cortland,” said Professor Emerita Donna K. Anderson. “In 1984, she performed a concert of Asian-American music and in 1990, an ‘extended piano’ concert devoted to Henry Cowell, John Cage and George Crumb, the equivalent to traditional classical music’s ‘Three Bs’ — Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.”
For more information, contact Anderson by e-mail or at (607) 753-3884.