Tan Dun
Chinese, born 1957

Tan Dun, who is an accomplished composer and musician as well as a mixed-media artist, uses his artistic practice to give visual form to sound. In fact, he calls his art projects “Visual Music”, and many produce sounds. These works are extensions not only of musical compositions, but also sounds from Tan’s childhood, melodies from rituals, and sounds from the natural world. John Cage once said that Tan’s compositions pick up on sounds that are “central to the nature in which live but to which we have too long not listened.” One of Tan’s most famous series was created in 2004, from abandoned pianos that Tan stripped and rebuilt such that only the original soundboard was intact, allowing the objects to function as unique instruments.

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