Avant-garde composer John Cage was a major influence on Tan's career. In this video shot in 2014, Tan takes the listener through the work that led her to dedicate over two decades of her life to the toy instrument.
2. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! (Melodrama for voice and toy orchestra) by Ge Gan-ru
Using bird calls, toy instruments and her own operatic register, Tan shows her versatility in this piece written for her in 2006. It was also performed this year at the Singapore International Festival of Arts.
CD and DVD available from moderecords.com, iTunes or Amazon.com
Tan plays six different toy pianos in this recording featuring classic works from Cage, interpretations of the blues and a tango, as well as a new work from American avant-garde composer George Crumb.
Three must-read plays by Haresh Sharma
1. Off Centre (1993)
This powerful play about the discrimination faced by two mentally ill teenagers was a breakthrough in terms of impact and maturity for Sharma and director Alvin Tan, his longtime collaborator at theatre company The Necessary Stage. In 2006, it became the first local play to be selected as a literature text in schools.
This well-crafted two-hander between a young man and his older, former neighbour both moves and disturbs on the subject of paedophilia, and leaves the audience unsure who to believe. It won Sharma Best Original Script at the 2007 Life Theatre Awards and was made into a film earlier this year, co-directed by Tan Bee Thiam and Lei Yuan Bin.
This play, the Life Theatre Award winner for Best Original Script in 2009, is about three generations of a politically involved Malay family, and depicts the thorny subject of detention without trial with both wit and gravity.
Three must-read works by Lin Gao
1. Lin Gao: A Selection Of Works (2009)
The Youth Book Company/ $12/ Grassroots Book Room
Lin's theme for this exploratory 61-essay anthology is that of a coursing river. A river's source is hard to trace, and so is the source of humanity, which Lin tries to discover for himself.
2. Micro-fiction by Lin Gao (2013)
Lingzi Media/$48 for four volumes/Major bookstores
Lin is an expert at the short story form, and this collection expresses his passion and concern for his fellow man. It also marks his attempt to explore the aesthetics of micro-fiction, typically written in less than 1,000 words. The first volume contains unpublished new stories, while the other three volumes are curated from his past published works. For this work, Lin won the Singapore Literature Prize for Chinese fiction in 2014.
3. Poetic Encounters by Lin Gao (2015)
Lingzi Media/$12/major bookstores
Lin, who writes poetry and has edited a short story quarterly, critiques and recommends 31 poems penned by 19 local poets. His analysis allows readers to glimpse his perspectives on life, history and humanity.
Lee Jian Xuan
Three iconic works by Chua Mia Tee
1. Portrait of the late President Yusof Ishak
Chua's portrait of the late President Yusof Ishak is found on the portrait series of Singapore currency notes that are currently in circulation.
2. Epic Poem Of Malaya (1955)
This oil painting shows a group of students gathered outdoors, listening to an impassioned leader speak. The work evokes the social-political consciousness of the time as a sense of Malayan nationalism grew. This emotionally charged work has inspired various artistic responses, including a staged play.
3. National Language Class (1959)
This oil painting of a Malay language class conveys the nationalist sentiment in 1959, the year when Singapore was granted full self-government. At the same time, it raises questions about national identity in a multi-cultural society, This thought-provoking painting has sparked other artistic creations, including a staged play.
We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused. Until we resolve the issues, subscribers need not log in to access ST Digital articles. But a log-in is still required for our PDFs.