Philadelphia Given Silent Treatment

Posted: Nov. 28th, 2012  |  By Michael Pearse
Margaret Leng Tan performing
Daily News

In a unique blend of silence, comedy, awkwardness and music, performer Margaret Leng Tan opened the Philadelphia's Museum of Art's “Cage Beyond Silence” festival celebrating the now passed musician Cage's100th birthday. Philadelphia's festival will continue until January 20th and will feature various assortments of Cage's “Chance Operations.”

THERE WAS UNDENIABLY a comic element to Margaret Leng Tan's performance at the Philadelphia Museum of Art last month. First, there was Tan's incongruous request for the audience to turn on their cell phones.

Then there was the awkward sight of the virtuoso pianist perched, motionless, in front of a toy piano, her knees jutting up over the top of the miniature instrument.

This was a performance of John Cage's most famous work, "4'33" " - the groundbreaking composer's so-called "silent piece." It is not silent at all, although the performer doesn't play a note over its nearly five-minute length.

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