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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: December 4, 2006 Archive

Mozart:Billiards = Tan Dun:Ping-Pong?

Posted at 8:13 AM on December 4, 2006 by John Zech
Filed under: The blog

Mozart's doctor thought it was bad for the compulsive composer to sit at his desk for hours on end, intensely writing his music, so the sawbones was happy when he saw Mozart at the billiard table. Composer Tan Dun keeps a ping-pong table in his large home, not just for recreation, but so he has room enough to spread out his large scores when he's orchestrating them.

Tan Dun started his musical career in New York City busking on West Fourth Street. When he went back there recently he met some of the guys who shared the corner with him. They asked, “Hey, Tan, where are you playing?” He said, “I play at Lincoln Center, but inside.”

His opera, "The First Emperor," debuts at the Met this month. There's more in a fun interview with him from yesterday's NY Times magazine.