Tan Dun’s “Secret of Wind and Birds,” with 1,000 audience smartphones

Posted on: April 21, 2017

“Composer Tan Dun is inviting his audience to break a concert taboo: He would like them to keep their mobile phones switched on during the show,” writes Olivia Ho in Wednesday’s (4/19) Straits Times (Singapore). “In the Esplanade Concert Hall tomorrow, he will have the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and audience members alike take out their phones and play recordings of ‘birdsong.’ The smartphone gambit is part of his symphonic poem Secret of Wind and Birds, for which he recorded six traditional Chinese music instruments, including the guzheng, suona and pipa, simulating the sounds of birds…. Tan … was last in Singapore two years ago for the concert Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, about a near-extinct writing system used exclusively by women in Hunan’s Jiangyong county…. Part of the inspiration behind Secret of Wind and Birds [came when] he visited an exhibition on … Leonardo da Vinci … and was struck by the Renaissance man’s words: ‘If you want to know how birds fly, you’ve got to know how the wind blows.’ … When more than 1,000 people in the Esplanade Concert Hall raise their smartphones in symphony, he says, it will be ‘a forest of birds, a digital miracle.’ ”

Posted April 21, 2017