margaret leng tan

Margaret Leng Tan is a classical music artist known for her work as a professional toy pianist, performing in major cities around the world on her 51 cm-high toy pianos. She is also known to be a classical music performer using unconventional instruments like toy drums, soy sauce dishes, and cat-food cans. In 1971 she became the first woman to earn a Doctorate in Musical Arts at Juilliard, and became the diva of the prepared piano, inserting nuts and bolts into the instrument and playing it inside out to rave reviews. In 1981 Tan met John Cage, and worked with him the last 11 years of his life. In 1984 she was awarded a US National Endowment for the Arts grant.

Since then she has been hailed as “the leading exponent of Cage’s music today” (The New Republic) and “the most convincing interpreter of John Cage’s keyboard music” (The New York Times). She performed Cage’s music in the PBS “American Masters” films on John Cage and Jasper Johns.