On the Couch with Melvyn Tan

AAR Melvyn Tan - Photo by Eoin CareyWho is Melvyn Tan?
Melvyn Tan – one of the world’s greatest forte-pianists.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I wouldn’t. I love what I do and I would not change it for anything in the world. I wake up constantly thinking how lucky  I am.

Who inspires you and why?
Artists and writers from the past. At the moment it is the world of Ravel and his music.  Also 20th century British Art… Ben Nicolson, Barbara Hepworth in particular and the photographs of Henri Cartier Bresson for capturing that eternal moment… a bit like looking at the music I play!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Definitely more equality. Less poverty. Less intolerance. Less violence.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
For me it would have to be Italy. Where else can you have culture, history, wonderful countryside, beautiful buildings, AND delicious food? That is before you start ogling and admiring all the beautiful shops (both fashion and artisan) and wishing you spoke the language.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
For me its local London, not the tourist hot spots. I have lived in west London for nearly 35 years and have seen much change not always for the better but my local market in Portobello Road still has something of a cultural mix. And the Art Galleries. We have some of the best Art museums in the world. Personal favourite The Victoria and Albert Museum.

What are you currently reading?
I have just finished the late AA Gill’s collection of restaurant essays called Table Talk. It contains some of the funniest (and wickedest) quotes about restaurants, eating, and food. Culinary snobbery was definitely not on his list.

What are you currently listening to?
Being a musician I rarely listen to music as background. I will often sit down specially and listen to something but I never have anything on as a background ‘noise’ Favourites are definitely operas. I heard Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier recently and was swept away.

Happiness is?
A state of mind. A contentment. A delicate balance of confidence, assuredness, caring and above all humility in everything you do.

What does the future hold for you?
More travel. More concerts. But in between, discovering the joys and beauties of the South Downs in Sussex where I seem to be spending much more time.

Melvyn joins the Australian Haydn Ensemble in a program inspired by the beauty and romance of classical Paris at Albert Hall, Canberra on Thursday 29 June, before playing at City Recital Hall, Sydney on Saturday 1 July 2017.

Image: Melvyn Tan – photo by Eoin Carey