Praise for SORCERESS OF THE NEW PIANO:

"Pianist Margaret Leng Tan has been fighting the good fight for avant-garde music for a quarter century -- a "sorceress" indeed -- and now she is the subject of one of the best films ever made about a musician. Evans Chan explores Tan's work in the same manner that she explores a piano -- from the inside out. SORCERESS OF THE NEW PIANO is not only an exciting work of art in itself, but one of the very few films that manage to communicate some real and substantial information about the art of music."

-- Tim Page, The Washington Post





"Ms. Tan has created a small revolution in piano playing over the last 20 years. Although she is by no means the first to master the techniques of performing inside the piano, her way of combining the avant-garde pianism with her toy piano work, as well as her program of commissioning new works for both instruments, has made this diminutive pianist an important figure in the world of contemporary music...She is the subject of a new 90-minute documentary by Evans Chan, SORCERESS OF THE NEW PIANO."

--- Allan Kozinn, The New York Times





"Lucky enough to escape a stultifying upbringing in Singapore, the divine Margaret Leng Tan fetched up at the Juilliard in New York and went on to become not only the foremost performer of John Cage's piano music but also a prime supporter/interpreter of modern keyboard music in general -- and the only person to explore the musical and sonic potential of the toy piano. Evans Chan's exemplary documentary is first and foremost a portrait of the woman, seen talking with remarkable candour and performing with even more remarkable aplomb, but it also encompasses an astute mini-history of avant-garde music in the 20th century complete with footage of Merce Cunningham choreography and visual work by Jasper Johns and Marcel Duchamp. As no-nonsense as its subject, the film does a terrific job demystifying "experimental" music; the pieces performed here (including works by Cage for prepared piano and George Crumb's Makrokosmos) have more immediacy and impact than most stadium rock."

-- Tony Rayns, 2005 Time Out Film Guide (Penguin)





"I loved SORCERESS OF THE NEW PIANO ! Margaret Leng Tan is one of those rare, nay unique, artists whose passion and creative awareness help her audience discover and appreciate the most intriguing, underknown 20th century music in Evans Chan's mesmerizing documentary.2

-- Michael Nyman, composer






"This film is full of surprises: from the riveting opening performance of George Crumb's Makrokosmos, to Leng Tan's duo with singer Joan La Barbara - played without using any of the piano's keys! To see this slightly-built woman transformed into a pounding, elemental force of nature behind the piano is one of contemporary music's great treats. To see how she brings that same intensity and musicality to the toy piano is another. Evans Chan has captured both in this charming, very human film."

-- John Schaefer, host of New Sounds,
WNYC/National Public Radio





"Evans Chan's SORCERESS OF THE NEW PIANO offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of Margaret Leng Tan, where the aesthetics of East and West collide and Zen quietude meets the can-do spirit of American maverick composers Cage, Cowell and Crumb. To watch her conjure up an exquisite musical sensibility from the poorest of dime-store materials is also deeply inspiring."

-- Phil Johnson, The Independent (UK)





"Margaret Leng Tan embodies the fact that avant-garde music is international, multicultural, Asian as well as Western... In SORCERESS OF THE NEW PIANO, Evans Chan's camera literally gets inside the piano with Tan, actively engaging her as a creative force during her performances, and bringing to the screen the excitement of seeing how musical experimentation opens new avenues for aesthetic expression. As in many of his other documentary and fiction films as well as in his critical work on Susan Sontag, Chan highlights the role women artists and intellectuals play in the international avant-garde. Just as Tan opens up this world to new audiences by playing The Beatles on toy piano, Chan's film promises to bring Tan's music to those who have never considered the importance of Asians, Asian Americans, and women within the musical avant-garde. SORCERESS may well be the best documentary ever made about avant-garde music."

-- Gina Marchetti, HKCinemagic.com




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