Dr Eleanor A. L. Tan is Principal Lecturer and Programme Leader for the Royal College of Music (RCM) Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts’ (NAFA) School of Music. Since joining the academy in 2002, she has played a significant role in the development of its music diploma and degree curricula.
Dr Tan is actively involved in teaching and research, and has been a committed mentor to students since her first appointment at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 1991. Her teaching responsibilities include historical studies, performance practices in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, aesthetics and music criticism, and applied music (Piano). Apart from her full-time commitment to NAFA, she is also an adjunct faculty at the Singapore Management University.
Dr Tan embarked on her doctoral studies with the support of the National Arts Council Overseas Bursary, Tan Kah Kee Postgraduate Scholarship, and the University of Queensland Graduate Scholarship. She also received support through a Fellowship grant and as Teaching Assistant at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, where she undertook postgraduate studies with Nelita True.
Dr Tan has performed and presented papers at the ISME World Conference of Music Education in Tampa, Florida (1994), Kuala Lumpur (2006) and Bologna (2008), as well as contributed documentation work on Cultural Medallion recipients Leong Yoon Pin (2008), David Lim Kim San (2009) and Kam Kee Yong (2011) for the National Library Board and National Arts Council. She co-authored a book on the SYC Ensemble Singers for their 50th anniversary (2014) and has also contributed a book chapter to World Scientific Publishing Company on Music Education in Singapore in the 21st Century (2015). In August 2020, she launched the website Majulah Singapura: Zubir Said and the National Anthem (http://zubirsaid.info/) with NTU Professor Christopher Khoo. Her current research is on Cultural Medallion recipient Jennifer Tham, a project funded by the National Arts Council.
Over the past decade, Dr Tan has been instrumental in developing music resources for the NAFA Library. Due to her personal relationship with the families of Zubir Said, Leong Yoon Pin, Tsao Chieh and Ong Lip Tat, they bequeathed precious artefacts, manuscripts, music scores, and even financial support by way of scholarships to NAFA.
As a strong believer in service to the community, she has contributed as a committee member for the Ministry of Education’s music syllabus development for O- and A-Levels. Dr Tan is a member of the Tan Kah Kee International Society and a national representative of the Southeast Asian Directors of Music (SEADOM). She has also served as member of the Arts Resource Panel with the National Arts Council, as well as a panel member for the Cultural Medallion and Young Artists Awards, Major Grants Assessment, Scholarships and Bursaries, and the NAC Piano and Violin Competition. She is frequently invited as adjudicator for such events as the Singapore Youth Festival, IASAS Music Cultural Convention, Vivace National Inter-JC Piano Ensemble Competition, and as co-facilitator for Living Music – a series initiated by the SYC Ensemble Singers. She is also privileged to serve as doctoral examiner for both local and foreign universities.
Dr Tan studied the piano with Mr Ong Lip Tat (Singapore), Professors Susan Starr, Karen Shaw, Nelita True, Menahem Pressler, and Edward Auer. Her mentors also include Dr David Pear and PhD supervisor Professor Malcolm Gillies.