This year, Tan Dun is awarded with the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Board of the Venice Biennale. The award, which will be presented during the 61st International Contemporary Music Festival in the Fall of 2017, honors artists for significant contributions to the world of contemporary music.
Tan Dun will receive the award on September 30 at the Teatro alle Tese, when he will be recognized for music and ideas that link tradition with innovation, history with current events in a time of rapid globalization. The Biennale also acknowledges Tan Dun for his defense of nature, a common theme in his “organic music” which spotlights water, stones, paper, and ceramics alongside traditional musical instruments.
This award honors a lifetime of progressive music-making. Opera has been a leading creative outlet and source of inspiration; Tan Dun has composed a number of high-profile operas, including The First Emperor, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and premiered with Placido Domingo in the title role. His organic music has been performed in major concert halls all over the world, and Paper Concerto was premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Tan Dun’s contributions to the world of film have included notable collaborations with directors Ang Lee (on the Grammy Award-winning score to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Zhang Yimou (on Hero), and Feng Xiaogang (on The Banquet). These films and their scores explore the ancient tradition of Chinese martial arts philosophy, and Tan Dun created his Martial Arts Trilogy to share this music with concert audiences worldwide.