Melvyn Tan

Biography

Born: October 13, 1956; Singapore  
Singaporean-born pianist Melvyn Tan is one of the few artists who has succeeded performing on both the modern piano and the eighteenth century fortepiano. His parents noticed his ability to play back by ear the piano music his sister was practicing, and a family friend who worked as a stewardess for Australia's Qantas airline began to brag about his abilities to passengers in the first-class section. One of them agreed to finance the youngster's Read more musical education at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Cobham, Surrey, England. Tan studied piano there, with the aging Nadia Boulanger as one of his teachers, and then moved on to the Royal College of Music in London.

Required to undertake a minor course of study in addition to his piano major, Tan tried to get into a conducting class, but found it closed. He signed up for harpsichord studies instead and became interested in early keyboard instruments. In his third year at the RCM, a friend introduced him to the fortepiano, which at the time was the province of just a few academic specialists. The college did not even own one of the instruments, but he searched around London and found places to practice. Feeling that he couldn't do both instruments justice, Tan gave up the modern piano altogether.

For a time pickings were slim, and Tan made a bare living playing harpsichord continuo parts in Baroque music ensembles. In the late 1980s, however, the historical performance movement began to move into Classical-period territory in a big way, and Tan was ready. For EMI he made a series of recordings with conductor Roger Norrington, including a complete set of Beethoven's piano concertos, and he performed widely with both historically oriented and mainstream orchestral ensembles.

In 1996, Tan returned to the modern piano almost in the way that Romantic-era musicians had come to it when it was new: as he moved forward into later repertoire (such as the piano music of Schumann), he became frustrated with the technical possibilities of older instruments. Since then Tan has been equally prominent in both mainstream and historical-practice spheres. He has recorded complete cycles of Beethoven sonatas and of Debussy and Chopin preludes in New York, London, and Tokyo; has been active in chamber ensembles; and has accompanied Anne-Sofie von Otter and Angelika Kirchschlager in lieder repertory. He has ventured into contemporary music and sometimes performs a new fortepiano concerto, written for him by composer Jonathan Dove. Read less
Browse 1-5 of 5 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Schubert: Lieder On Record (1898-2012) [17-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27575 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Peter Schreier,  Steven Zehr,  Thomas Hampson,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Best Schubert 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 80429 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Elmar Schloter,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Alfredo Dallapozza,  Lucia Popp  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Herbert von Karajan,  Yehudi Menuhin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Heroines In Music - Carl Davis
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 10 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Davis
    Performer:  Melvyn Tan
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Oboe Collection / Robin Canter
    Label: Amon Ra   Catalog: 22 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda,  Antonio Pasculli,  Thomas Attwood Walmisley,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Burnett,  Robin Canter,  Melvyn Tan,  Anthony Pleeth
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  • 5.
    Mozart: Opera & Concert Arias / Veronique Gens
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 28633 Release Date: 10/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Véronique Gens,  Melvyn Tan
    Conductor:  Ivor Bolton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto 2; Mendelssohn: Symphony 4 / Lco
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 200 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Melvyn Tan
    Conductor:  Christopher Warren-Green
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Chamber Orchestra
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  • 7.
    LCO Live - Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven / Warren-Green, LCO
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 175 Release Date: 11/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Melvyn Tan
    Conductor:  Christopher Warren-Green
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Chamber Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos 6, 7, & 10 / Bilson, Gardiner
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 427317 Release Date: 10/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Malcolm Bilson,  Robert Levin,  Melvyn Tan
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists
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  • 9.
    Beethoven - The Five Piano Concertos / Roger Norrington, Melvyn Tan
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 22014 Release Date: 05/27/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Melvyn Tan
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Classical Players
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  • 10.
    Mendelssohn: Works For Cello And Piano / Isserlis, Tan
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 62553 Release Date: 02/06/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Melvyn Tan
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  • 11.
    Debussy: Preludes For Piano / Melvyn Tan
    Label: Deux-elles   Catalog: 1092 Release Date: 09/27/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Melvyn Tan
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  • 12.
    Mozart: Four Piano Concertos / Tan, Norrington, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics Special Import   Catalog: 62343 Release Date: 05/11/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Melvyn Tan
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Classical Players
    CD: $12.99
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  • 13.
    4 Pleasure - Beethoven: Piano Concertos, Etc / Tan
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 62242 Release Date: 11/04/2003   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Melvyn Tan
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Classical Players,  London Heinrich Schütz Choir
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  • 14.
    Haydn: Arianna A Naxos, Etc / Bott, Tan, Bury, Pleeth, Et Al
    Label: Meridian Records   Catalog: 84495 Release Date: 02/04/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Melvyn Tan,  Catherine Bott,  Frances Kelly,  Lisa Beznosiuk  ... 
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  • 15.
    Mozart: Airs De Concert Et D'opéras / Gens, Bolton, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 45319 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Véronique Gens,  Melvyn Tan
    Conductor:  Ivor Bolton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
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  • 16.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos 18 & 19 / Tan, McGegan
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 3957138 Release Date: 09/11/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Melvyn Tan
    Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Beethoven, Spohr, Et Al: Lieder, Mélodies / Von Otter, Tan
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 469074 Release Date: 08/14/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Louis Spohr,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Melvyn Tan,  Nils-Erik Sparf,  Eric Hoeprich  ... 
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  • 18.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos / Bilson, Gardiner, English Baroque
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 463111 Release Date: 03/13/2001   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Malcolm Bilson,  Robert Levin,  Melvyn Tan
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists
    On sale! $71.98
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  • 19.
    The Artist's Album / Anne Sofie Von Otter
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 457688 Release Date: 04/14/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Gustav Mahler,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Mirella Freni,  Paul Goodwin,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Trevor Pinnock,  Marc Minkowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Opera House and Museum Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    Greatest Hits - The Wedding Album
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63153 Release Date: 03/10/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Jean Joseph Mouret,  Henry Purcell,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  William McVicker,  Melvyn Tan,  Marisa Robles  ... 
    Conductor:  John Poole,  James Galway,  Robert Salter,  Richard Westenburg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Singers,  Canadian Brass  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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