Tan Dun

Chinese composer Tan Dun was born in 1957 in Changsha, Hunan Province. As a child, he learned to play traditional Chinese string instruments and later worked as a violist and arranger for a Peking Opera group. He went to study at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in 1977, where he met composers such as Tōru Takemitsu, George Crumb, Alexander Goehr, Hans Werner Henze, Isang Yun, and Chou Wen-chung, all of whom influenced his musical style. In 1986, he moved to New York City to doctorate at Columbia University, once again studying with Chou Wen-chung, a student of Edgard Varèse. At Columbia, Tan Dun discovered the music of composers such as Philip Glass, John Cage, Meredith Monk, and Steve Reich, and began to include these influences into his compositions. His works often incorporate audiovisual elements. They use instruments constructed from organic materials, such as paper, water and stone, and are often inspired by traditional Chinese theatrical and ritual performance. UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and winner of several international awards, Tan Dun is the author of several movie soundtracks and serves as Dean of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, New York.

As of November 2022

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