Tag Archives: john cage

John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage’s romantic partner for most of their lives.

His teachers included Henry Cowell (1933) and Arnold Schoenberg (1933–35), both known for their radical innovations in music, but Cage’s major influences lay in various Eastern cultures. Through his studies of Indian philosophy and Zen Buddhism in the late 1940s, Cage came to the idea of aleatoric or chance-controlled music, which he started composing in 1951. The I Ching, an ancient Chinese classic text on changing events, became Cage’s standard composition tool for the rest of his life.

SELECT WORKS
Amongst the most famous of Cage’s works is 4’33” (1952), in which three movements are performed without a single note being played. The content of the composition is meant to be perceived as the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed, rather than merely as four minutes and 33 seconds of silence. Prepared piano pieces were created by Cage as well, in which a piano has its sound altered by the placement of several objects in its strings. Cage wrote numerous dance-related works and a few concert pieces using this technique, the best known of which is Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48).
(WIKIPEDIA)

“What is the purpose of writing music? One is, of course, not dealing with purposes but dealing with sounds… This [purposeless] play, however, is an affirmation of life–not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and one’s desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord.” — John Cage

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TBA Festival 2012: Previews & Picks

Portland’s greatest interdisciplinary festival, TBA Festival, is back in 2012 with some of the most diverse and impressive programming it’s had in years. Check out our picks in dance, theatre, performance, and music for a what’s what in local talent and international ideas. Sam Green & Yo La Tengo – The Love Song Of R....Read...
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Sound Of Noise (2010) Film Review

Directed by Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson Sound Of Noise is labeled as a black humor and oddball action film, which it is. More than anything, though, it is a music film – one which celebrates and pays homage to experimental music, as well as avant-garde classical composers. From the hand-drawn opening credits of...Read...
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Northwest Film Forum’s Visual Music Series

The relationship between visuals and music are starting to be explored ad nauseum by musicians of all calibers and stages in their careers, but it’s important to take a look back on the forces and individuals who have brought our musical-visual synthesis to its current popularity. Northwest Film Forum’s upcoming Visual Music series will help...Read...
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