Tan Dun

Tan Dun is one of the most influential classical composers to emerge from China. Combining the musical traditions of his homeland with contemporary Western influences, Dun has created a rich legacy of unique compositions. Known for his use of vivid drama, expressive harmonies, and imaginative tonal coloring, Dun has been characterized by his spatial arrangements and use of silence. A partial list of ensembles that have performed and/or recorded his work includes the Kronos Quartet, Yo Yo Ma, London Sinfonetta, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Toronto Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, London Philharmonic, Helsinki Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, and Ensemble Modern. Dun's music was heard on the soundtrack of the film Fallen. In 1993, Dun became the youngest composer to win the prestigious Suntory Prize Commission. The following year, his album On Taoism was named one of the year's best CDs by BBC Magazine. Dun had little hope for his future during China's cultural revolution when he was required to plant rice. Freed after two years of compulsory labor, Dun played erhu, a two-stringed fiddle, served as arranger for a Peking opera troupe, and began eight years of study at the Central Music Conservatory in Beijing.