Melvyn Tan

Piano & Fortepiano

At a glance

Melvyn Tan

Piano & Fortepiano

... the most thoughtful, elegant and refined of pianists... one of those marvellous concerts where everything seemed to illuminate everything else.
The Guardian

Biography —

Exploration, insight and imagination are vital ingredients in Melvyn Tan’s blend of artistic attributes. He established his international reputation in the 1980s with pioneering performances on fortepiano and continues to cast fresh light on music conceived for the piano’s early and modern forms.

Tan’s work as recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist has been heard at many of the world’s leading concert halls, from the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Vienna Konzerthaus AMUZ in Belgium, London’s Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall and New York’s Lincoln Center, and at major festivals including Salzburg, Edinburgh, La Roque d’Anthéron as well as Bath’s Mozartfest, City of London festival and Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival.

As a concerto soloist Tan has performed with such prestigious ensembles as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Academy of St Martin’s in the Fields, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Salzburg’s Camerata and Mozarteum orchestras, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Melbourne Symphony, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra, and Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Tan has connected with audiences across China and South East Asia, introducing many to their first experience of fortepiano and attracting young people to attend recitals on early and modern pianos. Others have discovered his work through his large discography, complete with ground-breaking fortepiano recordings of concertos by Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert’s Impromptus for EMI Classics, and releases on the Archiv, Deux-Elles, Harmonia Mundi, NMC and Virgin Classics labels. His latest recording,”Miroirs”(Onyx Classics 2019) embraces three centuries of keyboard style and traces some of the inspirations for Ravel’s ground-breaking works for piano, hailed by The Times as a “fascinating disc”. On his CD of Beethoven, Czerny and Liszt – Master and Pupil (Onyx Classics 2016), The Sunday Times commented that “The progression is from marvelousness to absolute delectation. His playing is always exquisite, but much more than that.”

Recent and forthcoming appearances include performances with MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra and Dennis Russell Davies, the Orchester Wiener Akademie in Vienna, a return to Wigmore Hall and St Martin in the Fields, National Gallery Singapore, a Beethoven Marathon in Belgium, Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, Oundle International Festival, South Downs Summer Music Festival, as well as recitals/tours in Singapore, France, Italy and South Africa. Regularly appearing in venues across the UK his recent Wigmore Hall performance as part of Kevin Volan’s 70th Birthday celebrations was described by The Telegraph as a “triumph for him as much as Volans”. Melvyn was privileged to perform as part of the Wigmore Hall and Radio 3 special series of concerts, livestreamed during the COVID-19 pandemic with cellist Guy Johnston. With violinist Paul Boucher, he has also continued his role in devising Music and Word at Charleston, a combination of music and readings in the unique setting of the East Sussex Farmhouse made famous by artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

In addition to his concert and recording activities, Melvyn Tan gives masterclasses at the Villa Medici-Giulini in Italy and at the Yong Siew Toh and Aureus Conservatories of Singapore. He is also a keen and long-standing supporter of Buskaid, the outstanding South African music project in a Soweto township, listed by Gramophone Magazine as one of the world’s ten most inspiring orchestras.

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Credit Paul BoucherDownload - 348.3 KB
Credit Shelia RockDownload - 110.1 KB
Credit Graham de LacyDownload - 225.8 KB
Credit Shelia RockDownload - 412.4 KB

Reviews —

...the most thoughtful, elegant and refined of pianists...everything seemed to illuminate everything else.

The Guardian

a sensitive soloist of refined musicality. Tan shaped phrases with immaculate smoothness...a performance of inner polish.

Sydney Morning Herald

The ingenious Melvyn Tan opened a universe of charm, clarity and intimacy....He played the complex piece full of enlightening poetry, brilliant finesse, delicate suspense and absolute transparency.

Fuldaer Zeitung, Germany

Selected Discography —

Master & Pupil: Beethoven, Czerny, Liszt

Finely judged and ultimately very persuasive

The Guardian

Jonathan Dove: For an Unknown Soldier

a sparkling performance from Melvyn Tan and his colleagues

MusicWeb International
See full discography

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  • Nicola Semple