Today: Michelle Smith Performing Arts 09:00AM - 05:00PM

IPAM 50: Margaret Leng Tan

Pianist Margaret Leng Tan

The Clarice's Artist Partner Program and Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library Present

Special Events with Pianist Margaret Lang Tan

Pianist Margaret Leng Tan has established herself as a major force within the American avant-garde.Tan, whose work embraces theatre, choreography, performance, has been called “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 has been hailed as “the queen of the toy piano” (The New York Times) and “the toy piano’s Rubenstein” (The Independent, UK). In 2015 she celebrated her 20th anniversary as a pioneer of the toy piano. Critics acknowledge her as the world’s first toy piano virtuoso who has elevated a humble toy to the status of a real instrument.

In the final events of the International Piano Archives at Maryland 50th Anniversary celebration, Margaret Leng Tan performs and participates in several special events at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center:

Film Screening and Conversation
Sorceress of the New Piano: The Artistry of Margaret Leng Tan
Monday, April 11 at 7:30pm
Leah M. Smith Hall

10 years in the making, Sorceress of the New Piano traces Tan’s quest for a new pianistic language, performing ground-breaking works by masters Henry Cowell, George Crumb, and her longtime mentor John Cage, as well as by maverick composers of the next generation. Incorporating vintage footage of Merce Cunningham’s dance, Jasper Johns’ art, and a Marcel Duchamp film; Sorceress also highlights Tan’s latest transformation as the champion and pioneer of new repertoire for the toy piano. Margaret Leng Tan will introduce the film and take questions from the audience following the screening. 


Margaret Leng Tan, Piano:
Cabinet of Curiosities
Tuesday, April 12 at 8pm
Kogod Theatre

Cabinet of Curiosities is an evening of music-theater works performed on pianos large and small, and all manner of toy instruments from bicycle horns to a hand-cranked music box. Tan is an avant-garde pianist and the world’s first toy piano virtuoso.


The Three C’s: Pioneers of the Avant-garde Piano
(Cage, Cowell, and Crumb)
Wednesday, April 13 at 11am
Kogod Theatre

In The Three C's: Pioneers of the Avant-garde Piano, Margaret Leng Tan will introduce the avant-garde piano and its groundbreaking transformations through the extended techniques of Cage, Cowell and Crumb. Ms. Tan will give a hands-on demonstration of John Cage's famous invention, the prepared piano as well as the timbral magic of George Crumb's interior piano universe. Also included in the discussion will be the notational challenges faced by composers of new music. There will be ample opportunity for questions. Open to composers, pianists, other musicians, and all with a lively curiosity.