10 years in the making, 2 films by Evans Chan trace the artist's life, career and pianism. Strumming the strings of a grand piano like a harp and performing Beethoven on toy piano are among the surprising scenes in Sorceress of the New Piano (2004), which celebrates the trans-cultural career of Singapore-born, New York-based pianist Margaret Leng Tan, hailed by The New Yorker as "the diva of avant-garde pianism".
The film traces Tan's quest for a new pianistic language, performing ground-breaking works by masters Henry Cowell, George Crumb and her longtime mentor John Cage, as well as by maverick composers of the next generation.
Featured performers and critics include Joan LaBarbara, Edward Rothstein (New York Times), Mark Swed (Los Angeles Times), and Joshua Kosman (San Francisco Chronicle) share their thoughts on Tan's artistry and musical lineage.
Incorporating 1944 footage of Merce Cunningham's dance, Jasper Johns' art and a Marcel Duchamp film; Sorceress also highlights Tan's latest transformation as the champion of new repertoire for the toy piano.
BONUS FILM:The Maverick Piano (2007)
The Maverick Piano is an excursion into the sonic world of the avant-garde piano, as Margaret Leng Tan gives complete performances of 6 works by Cage, Satie, Ge Gan-ru and Toby Twining
The film represents the grand piano in various transformations: as a conventional keyboard (Cage: In a Landscape); prepared piano, also played with fists/forearms (Cage: In the Name of the Holocaust); as a stringed instrument, both plucked and bowed, juxtaposed with images of Cage's artwork (Cage: Music for Piano No. 2); strummed while played from the crook of the piano (Ge Gan-ru: Pipa/Ancient Music); in combination with toy piano (Twining: Satie Blues, Gymnopédie No. 3 arr. Margaret Leng Tan, in collaboration with Great Small Works)