Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep

Music, text, performance and image

A work that sweeps across the senses, Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep is a sonic portrait of new music icon Margaret Leng Tan – an evocative exploration of memory, time, control and loss.

New York-based Singaporean pianist Tan forged a path as a major force within the American avant-garde, serving as muse for such giants as John Cage and George Crumb, and transforming the toy piano into a serious instrument. Her stellar career is a touchstone for the past 40 years of experimental musical innovation.

Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep combines spoken and recorded text, projected images and original music for prepared piano, toy piano, toys and percussion by Tan’s long-term collaborator Erik Griswold.

Created by a team of Singaporean and Australian artists, including director Tamara Saulwick, video designer Nick Roux, and dramaturg Kok Heng Leun and performed by Tan, this cross-cultural collaboration is an evocative collage of the forces that have shaped Tan’s life and how music has been both her passion and her refuge.

Till this day I count the number of steps when climbing a flight of stairs or the number of times I rinse after brushing my teeth. These counting rituals permeating my daily life serve no particular purpose other than to satisfy the need to perform them. That is the nature of O.C.D. Enter music and rhythm: you can imagine how delighted I was to be actually required to count the beats in a piece of music. I could now count to my heart’s content …

‘Music of the Unquiet Mind’ by M. Leng Tan (New York Times)

Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep is a Chamber Made and CultureLink Singapore co-production and is co-commissioned by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. This activity received grant funding from the Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is supported by Creative Victoria, Australia Council for the Arts, National Arts Council (Singapore), The SUBSTATION, Playking Foundation, Asia TOPA, Sidney Myer Fund and the Robert Salzer Foundation.

Asia TOPA is a joint initiative of the Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne and is supported by the Australian and Victorian Governments.