© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

From 'Crouching Tiger' To 'Secret Songs': Composer Tan Dun's Next Move

Chinese composer Tan Dun's latest work<em>, Nu-Shu: The Secret Songs of</em> <em>Women</em>, was inspred by an ancient language spoken in a remote area of Tan's home province of Hunan.
Chinese composer Tan Dun's latest work<em>, Nu-Shu: The Secret Songs of</em> <em>Women</em>, was inspred by an ancient language spoken in a remote area of Tan's home province of Hunan.

Chinese composer Tan Dun has written an opera for Placido Domingo and his works have been performed by the some of the world's greatest orchestras. In addition to writing music for the Beijing Olympics, he wrote the Oscar-winning score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Now, Tan Dun has turned his attention to his home province of Hunan for his latest composition. It is a multimedia work, comprising film, an orchestra and a harp soloist, entitled Nu-Shu: The Secret Songs of Women. The music tells the story of an ancient secret language used by women in Hunan province to communicate with friends and family after being sequestered into marriages that took them far from home.

This Thursday, the Philadelphia Orchestra and harp soloist Elizabeth Hainen will present the American premiere of The Secret Songs of Women. NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with both Hainen and Tan Dun about the origins of the piece and its eclectic presentation of sound, including a passage in which water becomes a percussion instrument. Hear their conversation at the audio link.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.