Exploration, insight and imagination are vital ingredients in Melvyn Tan’s blend of artistic attributes. He established his international reputation in the 1980s with pioneering performances on the fortepiano and continues to cast fresh light on music conceived for the piano’s early and modern forms.
Performing on the modern piano today, Tan’s profound understanding of his instrument’s history, its technical evolution and musical development, penetrates the surface of interpretive traditions and received wisdom to reveal countless expressive nuances and rarely heard tonal contrasts. Acclaimed for the wit and poetry of his playing, he has applied lessons learned from pianos of the past to conjure subtle new colours, fine details of articulation and delicate shadings from the modern concert instrument.
Tan’s work as recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist has been heard at many of the world’s leading concert halls, from the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Vienna Konzerthaus to London’s Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall and New York’s Lincoln Center; and at major festivals including Salzburg and Edinburgh international festivals. He has been heard regularly on BBC Radio, and others have discovered his work through his large discography, complete with ground-breaking fortepiano recordings of concertos by Mozart and Beethoven and Schubert’s Impromptus for EMI Classics, and releases on the Archiv, Deux-Elles, Harmonia Mundi, NMC and Virgin Classics labels.
Tan has performed with such prestigious ensembles as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Academy of St Martin’s in the Fields, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Salzburg’s Camerata and Mozarteum orchestras, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Melbourne Symphony and on tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. More recently, Tan has made regular appearances with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and with the London Chamber Orchestra, recording Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 on the orchestra’s LCO Live label.
The Singapore-born pianist marked his 60th birthday in 2016 with a UK tour with the Bruckner Orchestra of Linz, a Wigmore birthday recital broadcast live on BBC Radio, concert tours to Hong Kong, Singapore, Adelaide and Melbourne, the premiere at the Cheltenham Festival of a new work “Catching Fire” specially written for him by Jonathan Dove, and the release of a CD of Beethoven, Czerny and Liszt – Master and Pupil – released on Onyx Classics. More recent appearances include concerts with the Wiener Akademie Orchester in Vienna, the Australian Hadyn Ensemble in Sydney and Canberra, Singapore’s re:Sound Collective, and recitals at the Meiringen Festival in Switzerland and the London Piano Festival, where he gave the world première of Kevin Volans’ latest work “L’Africaine”, with its highly complex rhthmic patterns evocative of Africa. The Daily Telegraph’s five star review commented: “Here Tan proved he has wrists of steel, in the hammered outbursts that burst like a shout of joy into the music’s incessant patterned weave. It was as bright and fresh as a Spring morning, and deeply moving.”
…a sensitive soloist of refined musicality. Tan shaped phrases with immaculate smoothness…a performance of inner polish.
Sydney Morning Herald
The ingenious Melvyn Tan opened a universe of charm, clarity and intimacy….He played the complex piece full of enlightening poetry, brilliant finesse, delicate suspense and absolute transparency.
Fuldaer Zeitung, Germany
Productions on Tour
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