Tan Dun | Compositions
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“What Tan Dun composes is “world music,” music that brings together everything that you had always wanted to hear. The composer Tan Dun is therefore a citizen of the world, a man who can blend all styles.”

– NRC Handelsblad, The Netherlands, 2003

“A valuable addition to the keyboard literature, Eight Memories in Watercolor is a crystalline set of miniatures that spins traditional Chinese melodies around a core of tonal Western music, to evoke a delicately perfumed, quasi-impressionist sound world.”

– Washington Post, USA, 2003

“Through tradition, technology can be humanized; through technology, tradition can be renewed and passed on. Today, ancient cultural traditions vanish everyday, everywhere. If artists embrace the past and the future within their hearts, miracles will arrive… People always say that human life is finite, but we forget that renewing the cultures and re-inventing the traditions can extend human life infinitely.”

– Tan Dun

“If we look at the idea of ‘art music’ with its firm separation of performer and audience, we see that its history is comparatively short. Yet the history of music as an integral part of spiritual life, as ritual, as partnership in enjoyment and spirit, is as old as humanity itself. So the idea of an ‘orchestra theatre’ gradually came to me as a way of bringing the isolated performing arts back to people, back to the audience.”

– Tan Dun

“To me, opera is drama… What is drama? It’s not just character and story development. It could also be a dialogue between real and surreal, between past, present and future lives. From an avant-garde point of view, it could come from contrasting different materials. To me, opera has a wider field of meaning than the nineteenth-century definition.”

-Tan Dun

“Its images (in Water Passion) are unlike anything that the average Western audience will have encountered in a concert hall before (the title refers not only to the 17 bowls of water on the stage, which singers and percussionists ripple to hypnotic aural and visual effect). Yet its world premiere in Stuttgart…was greeted with an ecstatic 15-minute standing ovation. Like its model, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, it transcends language, cultural and religious divides.”

– The Times (London), UK, 2000

“Organic music concerns both matters of everyday life and matters of the heart. These ideas find their origin in the animistic notion that material objects have spirits residing in them, an idea ever-present in the old village where I grew up in China.”

– Tan Dun

“Tan Dun epitomizes the cross-cultural musicians of the 21st century.”

– Yale Global, USA, 2007

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