Tan Dun

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Tan Dun (2011)

Tan Dun ( Chinese  譚盾  /  谭盾 , Pinyin Tán Dùn , born August 18, 1957 in Si Mao , Hunan Province ) is a Chinese composer and conductor living in New York .


Dun was in the village Simaonae, Changsha in the province of Hunan born. During the Cultural Revolution in China, he had to work as a rice farmer from 1974. To escape the cramped conditions, he joined a Beijing opera group as a violinist and arranger . In Beijing he studied composition with Li Yinghai and Zhao Xingdao at the Central Conservatory from 1978 to 1983 . He was given the opportunity to take part in seminars with well-known composers such as Hans Werner Henze , Chou Wen-chung , Yun I-sang , Alexander Goehr , George Crumb and Tōru Takemitsu .

In the 1980s he moved to New York, studied with Chou Wen-chung, George Edwards and Mario Davidovsky and received his PhD from Columbia University . The American metropolis opened up contacts to experimental musicians such as Philip Glass , John Cage , Meredith Monk and Steve Reich .

In 2010 he was cultural ambassador for the Expo in Shanghai.

As a conductor he led a. a. Concertgebouw Orchestra , London Symphony Orchestra , Berlin Philharmonic , New York Philharmonic , Philadelphia Orchestra , Orchester National de France , BBC Symphony Orchestra , Munich Philharmonic , Filarmonica della Scala and Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia .


In his compositions he combines classical and modern musical elements and combines Asian and European styles of music.

In addition to orchestral music, he composes operas and film music . From 1992 to 1996 he wrote his first opera Marco Polo , which received critical acclaim, followed in 1998 by the opera Peony Pavilion (premiered under the direction of Peter Sellars ). In 2006 the opera The First Emperor under James Levine with Plácido Domingo in the title role had its world premiere at the New York Metropolitan Opera . In 2000 the world premiere of the Water Passion based on the Gospel of Matthew took place in Stuttgart ; The client was the International Bach Academy, which, on the 250th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach's death, commissioned a well-known modern composer for new compositions of the four Gospels.

Tan Dun became known to a wider audience in 2000 for his Oscar-winning score for Tiger and Dragon . The piano concerto HEAR & NOW was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and premiered in April 2008 with pianist Lang Lang under the direction of Leonard Slatkin . In the same year he was commissioned by Google to create an Internet Symphony No. 1 for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra . In the summer of 2009 Tan Dun took over the role of composer in residence at the Grafenegg Music Festival . In this context he held a composition workshop in which compositions for film and multimedia were in the foreground. On September 6, 2009, together with the Tonkünstler Orchestra of Lower Austria and a number of renowned percussion soloists , he premiered his Earth Concerto for ceramic instruments and orchestra to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Gustav Mahler's birth , a work commissioned by the Grafenegg Music Festival.

In the 2012/13 season he was composer in residence with the MDR Symphony Orchestra .

Works (selection)

  • Eight Memories in Watercolor (1978), [1 Missing Moon, 2 Staccato Beans, 3 Herdboy's Song, 4 Blue Nun, 5 Ancient Burial, 6 Floating Clouds, 7 Red Wilderness, 8 Sunrain]
  • Marco Polo (Opera, 1996)
  • Heaven Earth Mankind (Symphony, 1997)
  • 2000 Today: A World Symphony for the Millennium (1999)
  • Four Secret Roads of Marco Polo (for 12 cellists and orchestra)
  • Concert for Zheng and string orchestra
  • Water Passion After St Matthew (2002)
  • The first emperor (2006)
  • Concerto for piano, percussion and orchestra (2008)
  • Internet Symphony No. 1 "Eroica" for YouTube (2008) ( performance )
  • The Tears of Nature , concerto for percussion and orchestra (2012)

Filmography (selection)

  • 1983: The Candidate (Hou bu dui yuan)
  • 1989: China in Revolution: 1911–1949
  • 1994: Action K
  • 1994: The Mao Years: 1949-1976
  • 1995: De oogst van de stilte
  • 1996: Nanjing 1937
  • 1998: In the Name of the Emperor
  • 1998: Demon - Don't trust a soul (Fallen)
  • 2000: Tiger and Dragon (Wòhǔ Cánglóng)
  • 2002: Hero (Yīngxióng)
  • 2003: Taoism in a Bowl of Water: Tan Dun, a Chinese Composer
  • 2005: Tea: A Mirror of Soul
  • 2006: "Independent Lens" Music from the Inside Out
  • 2006: The Banquet (Yèyàn)
  • 2007: "Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD" Tan Dun's The First Emperor
  • 2009: Mulan - Legend of a Warrior ( Mulan )



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Superstar of the composers: Tan Dun in Leipzig ( Memento from November 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ). On: MDR, April 22, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2019.