Back to All Events

Forum Series: THE THREE C'S: CAGE, COWELL, CRUMB - Pioneers of the Avant-Garde Piano

  • Steven Baxter Recital Studio YST Conservatory Singapore, 117376 Singapore (map)


The three Cs - Cage, Cowell and Crumb - laid the foundation for the extended language of the piano, conjuring forth tantalizing new sound possibilities from the piano’s interior. While their pioneering, now “classic avant-garde” accomplishments laid the foundation for future forays by experimentalists, the pianistic worlds of Cage, Cowell and Crumb remain sui generis, each an inimitably distinct, unmistakable sonic realm.

Margaret Leng Tan, one of the world's most celebrated contemporary pianists, will introduce the avant-garde piano and its groundbreaking transformations through the extended techniques of "the three C's": Cage, Cowell and Crumb.

She will give a hands-on demonstration of John Cage's famous invention, the prepared piano; the cluster and string piano innovations of Cage's teacher, Henry Cowell; as well as the timbral magic of George Crumb's interior piano universe.

The discussion will also touch on notational challenges faced by composers of new music, with ample opportunity for questions. Open to composers, pianists, other musicians, and all with a lively curiosity.



Margaret Leng Tan is one of the most highly regarded performers of American experimental music. Tan, whose work embraces theatRE, choreography, performance, is renowned as a pre-eminent John Cage interpreter and performer of American and Asian music transcending the piano’s conventional boundaries. She has been hailed by the Washington Post as “the formidable doyenne of the avant-garde piano [who] has built a career on upending tradition, pushing her instrument into fresh, no-holds-barred sonic worlds.”



• Free admission.
• All event information is correct at time of print.
• Out of respect for other concertgoers, no children under 6 years of age will be allowed admission.