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Tan Dun To Conduct at NZ Int. Arts Festival

Tan Dun To Conduct At The New Zealand International Arts Festival

The TOWER International Season

In a Festival coup, one of the world's major composers Tan Dun will conduct the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in a programme of his work at the 2004 New Zealand International Arts Festival as part of the TOWER International Season.

The Festival runs from February 27 to March 21, 2004. Tan Dun will perform one concert only.

Before receiving popular acclaim with his Oscar and Grammy winning film score for compatriot Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tan Dun was already the winner of today's most prestigious honour for classical composition, the Grawemeyer Award for his opera Marco Polo. He has also been named "Composer of the Year" in 2003 by publication Musical America.

Tan Dun boasts an unconventional, yet dazzling international career which leans to the conceptual and multi-faceted. He is renowned for bringing together contemporary and classical music listeners with compelling repertoire and concepts which span the boundaries of classic, eastern and western music and multi-media. In numerous series of works over the last 20 years Tan Dun has created a new orchestral language and has reinvented orchestra traditions.

Tan Dun was a rice picker and Peking Opera performer during the Cultural Revolution. He now composes and conducts for many of the world's leading orchestras and ensembles. His current commissions include a new opera for the Metropolitan Opera House; a symphony for Berlin Philharmonic and Inventions for Paper Instruments and Orchestra for the Los Angeles Philharmonic which will premier at the opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall this year.

One of the works to be performed is The Map: Concerto for Cello, Video and Orchestra. Tan Dun wrote the piece for cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony and premiered it in Boston to rave reviews early this year (Feb 2003). The Boston Herald called it "a work of profound beauty and spirit that taps into a kind of primal sound language that is nothing less than thrilling to experience." The Map revisits the musical traditions of the Hunan province of China where Tan Dun grew up and his adopted New York where he now lives. It is a piece about finding a way to save ancient musical, artistic and shamanistic rituals from being forgotten and represents a fusion of the past and the present and Tan Dun's own personal journey, of taking the right path amongst a myriad of possibilities.

Another work will be Concerto for Water Percussion and Orchestra which the LA Times said "defied borders, linking the sounds of the east and west, classical and modern..." In it Tan Dun brings together avant-garde and classical musicians to explore the element of water as a musical instrument. The NZSO will perform amongst bowls of water, which will be dipped into, sloshed and agitated to create percussive sounds.

Festival Artistic Director Carla van Zon says it is a coup for the New Zealand International Arts Festival to secure Tan Dun for 2004.

"He is a wonderful composer and conductor at the height of his career and in demand worldwide. Having grown up in China during the Cultural Revolution he now composes music that has a sense that all barriers can be eradicated," she said.

Peter Walls, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra said the NZSO were delighted to be working with Tan Dun. "Tan Dun is a major world figure both as a composer and conductor. It will be a privilege to work with him on such an intriguing programme of his music and to be part of the 2004 Festival," he said.

The date for Tan Dun's one concert is March 20, 2004. Tan Dun is presented at the New Zealand International Arts Festival 2004 in association with TOWER.

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