In December 2018, Bard College scored yet another hiring coup in retaining the services of Chinese-born composer/conductor Tan Dun to become the new dean of its Conservatory of Music. He’s probably best-known in the West for having written the Academy Award-winning score to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), but Tan is famous throughout the world for a broad body of work that incorporates his grounding in Chinese classical and traditional music with deep knowledge of Western forms, including opera. Besides his Oscar, he has earned a Grammy Award, Grawemeyer Award, Bach Prize, Shostakovich Award and most recently Italy’s Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement, and he has been named a UNESCO Global Goodwill Ambassador.
As a conductor, Tan has led the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala, Münchner Philharmoniker, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra, among others. He currently serves as the honorary artistic director of the China National Symphony Orchestra. Prestigious musical entities commission him to create original works for various orchestras, and the International Olympic Committee to write music for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. His compositions get premiered by masters of their instruments like Yo Yo Ma, Lang Lang and Sharon Isbin. And they’re known for their innovation; Tan has pioneered a whole new genre that he calls “organic music,” meant to be played on instruments crafted from paper, ceramic or stone.
To put it mildly, Bard has found itself a new faculty superstar. Local audiences will get their first real chance to hear Tan Dun in action on Saturday, September 28 at 8 p.m., when he conducts the Conservatory Orchestra in a multimedia concert featuring excerpts from three classic martial arts movies that he scored: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and The Banquet. The featured musicians will be Daniel Phillips on violin, Peter Wiley on cello, and Blair McMillen and Benjamin Hochman on piano. The program, titled A Martial Arts Trilogy, takes place in the Sosnoff Theater in the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on the Bard College campus.
Ticket prices range from $25 to $150, with the top level including entry to a reception and meet-and-greet with the artists. To order, visit https://tickets.fishercenter.bard.edu/2118/2119. For more information on Tan Dun, visit www.tandun.com.
Tan Dun conducts A Martial Arts Trilogy, Saturday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m., $25-$150, Sosnoff Theater, Fisher Center, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, https://fishercenter.bard.edu