John Cage

American composer. Born 5 September 1912. Died 12 August 1992
John Cage
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1912-09-05
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/76325a9d-6c25-4649-96b1-84e9b99d6b4b
John Cage

John Cage Biography (BBC)

Famously described by his teacher Schoenberg as ‘an inventor of genius’, possibly no other composer in the history of music has provoked such extremes of veneration and contempt as John Cage. Yet today he is widely regarded as the most influential American composer of the last century, and pop art, concrete poetry, performance art, conceptual art and minimalism all owe something to his oeuvre.

First Construction (in Metal) (1939), his first mature work, ushered in a remarkable sequence of compositions in the 1940s similarly written for the idiosyncratic medium of percussion ensemble or ‘prepared piano’, an instrument Cage invented by inserting objects between the piano strings to give each note its own unique timbre.

Throughout the 1940s a burgeoning interest in Eastern philosophy saw him initially immersing himself in South Asian writings, followed by an even more revelatory encounter with East Asian philosophy, Zen in particular. Cage’s studies helped to nurture his belief in the principle of non-involvement, in which a renunciation of control is made possible by the use of indeterminacy and chance. His ideal was to discover a compositional process that would destroy any conventional sense of musical continuity: ‘giving up control so that sounds can be sounds’, as he put it.

In his works of the 1950s Cage, together with three younger American composers with whom he formed an especially close association – Earle Brown, Morton Feldman and Christian Wolff – explored the seemingly endless possibilities that chance procedures offered. To this end, he chose from a wealth of randomising means, notably the I Ching in both the epic four-volume Music of Changes (1951) for solo piano and Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (1951) for 12 radios; the imperfections on manuscript paper in Music for Piano (1952–6); maps of the heavens in Atlas eclipticalis (1961–2) for orchestra; and the computer in HPSCHD (1967–9) for seven harpsichords and tape.

The ne plus ultra of Cage’s new aesthetic, the notorious 4’33” (1952) for any instrument or group of instruments, is a work in three movements, each of which is marked ‘tacet’: any sounds that might be heard during the course of this ‘silent’ piece – noises made by the audience, environmental sounds and so on – are left entirely to chance.

But to infer that every Cage score post-4’33’’ is some kind of free-for-all would be entirely mistaken. Cage, the indubitable magister ludi of 20th-century music, still established the rules for each piece – rules that might represent no more than a loose framework, as in the extraordinary multimedia work Roaratorio (1979), or on the other hand might result in a fully-notated work such as the dazzlingly virtuosic Freeman Études (1977–80) for solo violin.

Closely related to Cage’s music is a significant body of collected writings, including the seminal Silence (1961), A Year from Monday (1967), M (1973) and Empty Words (1979).

Profile © Peter Quinn, 2003

John Cage Biography (Wikipedia)

John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer and music theorist. 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 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.

Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, which is performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing aside from being present for the duration specified by the title. The content of the composition is not "four minutes and 33 seconds of silence," as is often assumed, but rather the sounds of the environment heard by the audience during performance. The work's challenge to assumed definitions about musicianship and musical experience made it a popular and controversial topic both in musicology and the broader aesthetics of art and performance. Cage was also a pioneer of the prepared piano (a piano with its sound altered by objects placed between or on its strings or hammers), for which he wrote numerous dance-related works and a few concert pieces. The best known of these is Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48).

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.



John Cage Tracks

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John Cage
The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs
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The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs
Sun Ra
Empty Words (Vocal Solo 2)
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Empty Words (Vocal Solo 2)
Sun Ra
Silent Duet
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Silent Duet
John Cage
Two2
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Two2
John Cage
Sonata II (Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano)
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Sonata II (Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano)
John Cage
Sonatas and interludes for prepared piano
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Sonatas and interludes for prepared piano
John Cage
Dream
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Dream

Dream

Composer
Performer
Alexei Lubimov (piano), Natalia Pschenitschnikova (voice)
John Cage
Sonatas and Interludes: no. 2 Sonata 2
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Sonatas and Interludes: no. 2 Sonata 2
John Cage
Four squared for a capella choir
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Four squared for a capella choir
John Cage
Sunday C. M. (Some Of The Harmony Of Maine)
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Sunday C. M. (Some Of The Harmony Of Maine)
John Cage
Sonata No.5 for prepared piano
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Sonata No.5 for prepared piano
John Cage
2 Pieces for Piano
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2 Pieces for Piano
John Cage
Aria With Fontana Mix
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Aria With Fontana Mix
John Cage
First Construction in Metal
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First Construction in Metal

First Construction in Metal

Composer
Performer
Clive Williamson (piano), David Hockings (percussion), Richard Benjafield (percussion), Sam Walton (percussion), Tim Palmer (percussion), Fiona Ritchie (percussion), Andrew Cottee (percussion), Jurjen Hempel (conductor)
John Cage
Seventy-Four Für Orchester
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Seventy-Four Für Orchester
John Cage
Four2
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Four2
John Cage
In a Landscape
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In a Landscape
John Cage
In A Landscape
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In A Landscape
David Fennessy
Piano Trio - Music for the pauses in a conversation between John Cage and Morton Feldman
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Piano Trio - Music for the pauses in a conversation between John Cage and Morton Feldman
John Cage
Sonata No 5 (Sonatas and Interludes)
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Sonata No 5 (Sonatas and Interludes)
John Cage
Indeterminacy: New Aspect Of Form In Instrumental And Electronic Music
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Indeterminacy: New Aspect Of Form In Instrumental And Electronic Music
John Cage
Two4
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Two4
John Cage
In a Landscape
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In a Landscape
John Cage
Dream
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Dream

Dream

Composer
Performer
Last played on
John Cage arr. Eric Salzman & Kronos Quartet
Totem Ancestor
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Totem Ancestor

Totem Ancestor

Composer
John Cage arr. Eric Salzman
John Cage
Raga 8
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Raga 8
John Cage
Double Music
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Double Music

Double Music

Ensemble
Percussionists of the California Symphony Orchestra
John Cage
Music For Marcel Duchamp
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Music For Marcel Duchamp
John Cage
Dream
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Dream
John Cage
Perilous Night – no.4
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Perilous Night – no.4

Perilous Night – no.4

Composer
Performer
Boris Berman (piano)
John Cage
Experiences no.2
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Experiences no.2
John Cage
Suite for Toy Piano
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Suite for Toy Piano
John Cage
Suite for Toy Piano
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Suite for Toy Piano
John Cage
6 Melodies (no.1: Rubato)
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6 Melodies (no.1: Rubato)
John Cage
Movement 1 from ASLSP (original version)
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Movement 1 from ASLSP (original version)

Movement 1 from ASLSP (original version)

Composer
Performer
Unnamed pianist from the Cage Ensemble Hamburg
Last played on
John Cage
ORGAN2/ASLSP (extract)
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ORGAN2/ASLSP (extract)
John Cage
ASLSP (As Slow As Possible) - extract
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ASLSP (As Slow As Possible) - extract

ASLSP (As Slow As Possible) - extract

Composer
Performer
Organ at the St. Burchardi Church, Halberstadt, Germany
Last played on
John Cage
Sonatas XV1 and XV
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Sonatas XV1 and XV
John Cage
Sonata V
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Sonata V
John Cage
Sonata XI
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Sonata XI
John Cage
Sonata XIII
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Sonata XIII
John Cage
Sonata I
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Sonata I
John Cage
John Cage and Morton Feldman on radio
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John Cage and Morton Feldman on radio
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Playlists featuring John Cage


Past BBC Events

Proms 1987: Prom 03
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ejvfxj
Royal Albert Hall
1987-07-19T11:24:38
19
Jul
1987

Proms 1987: Prom 03

Royal Albert Hall
Proms 1972: Prom 23
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/emw5v2
Round House, The
1972-08-13T11:24:38
13
Aug
1972

Proms 1972: Prom 23

Round House, The

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