January 15, 2013 |
Though cutting-edge composers are characterized as not caring whether anybody listens, the John Cage summit meeting of four noted composers assembled at the International House on Sunday was as voluble as can be. Following a performance of Cage's Four6 , the friendly avant-garde legend Christian Woolf, 78, revealed that one source of the performance's singular sound world was a simple Lapstick (a disembodied electric guitar neck) on which various objects were dragged to create sonic effects.
September 5, 2002 |
John Cage was an imaginative, exasperating and undeniable musical force, a presence whose impact is more apparent in retrospect. Most "serious" listeners scorn him as the composer of "4'34" (or "Silent Prayer") in which the musicians just sit without playing, or of the piece where people twisted radio dials to create random sounds. After his study with Arnold Schoenberg and collaboration with choreographer Merce Cunningham, Cage became influenced by Indian sounds, Zen Buddhism, tape loops, and the I Ching.
October 9, 2012 |
The deeper one gets into the John Cage 100th birthday year, the more frequently one must ask what makes a communicative tribute to this most elusive composer of the New York avant-garde. So much of his work doesn't seem like music at all, but conceptual art, with pieces that might consist only of a set of written directions interpreted however the performer wants. (Example: "Perform a disciplined act. ") Thus, at Friday's John Cage: Song Books program at the fidget space (a loft in Northern Liberties)
June 9, 1995 |
Blips and blops and other weirdly mesmerizing doodles were coming over the headsets at the "It's about Sound" interactive computer in the John Cage exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Blips and blops and then WHAA- KATAAAH!!!! "Drums. It's drums," said Amy Cravetz, who is 8, and began to giggle as Conrad Lawson, who was standing next to her and also wearing a headset, bobbed his head. "Cool," he nodded as three schoolmates crowded in to listen. Children were swarming all over the multimedia Rolywholyover A Circus exhibit, which composer Cage planned before his death in 1992.
November 27, 2012 |
THERE WAS UNDENIABLY a comic element to Margaret Leng Tan's performance at the Philadelphia Museum of Art last month. First, there was Tan's incongruous request for the audience to turn on their cell phones. Then there was the awkward sight of the virtuoso pianist perched, motionless, in front of a toy piano, her knees jutting up over the top of the miniature instrument. This was a performance of John Cage's most famous work, "4'33" " - the groundbreaking composer's so-called "silent piece.
June 9, 1995 |
The citywide John Cage festival set in motion by the exhibition "Rolywholyover A Circus" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art includes a number of events that are only tangentially related to Cage and his ideas about art and music. However, several of these events extend the philosophical reach of the Art Museum show significantly. They should be seen by anyone who wants to understand what Cage was about. One is the William Anastasi retrospective at Moore College of Art and Design.
December 3, 2012 |
The Cage: Beyond Silence festival - under way at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and other venues throughout the city since late October - has moved into its second phase of concerts, concentrating on John Cage's 1970, 90-piece Song Books collection. That collection has to do much less with the typical medium of song than with the many open-ended ways Cage released the music he felt was hidden everywhere. You could count on a committed Cage experience from Ne(x)tworks, the New York-based sextet headed by new-music doyenne (and vocalist)
August 14, 1992 |
"Get yourself out of whatever cage you're in," advised John Cage when asked a few years ago about his philosophy. That punning insight summarized Cage's long artistic life in which the outrageous and the obvious were often identical, and the challenge of his words was swathed in softening charm. Cage, who died Wednesday just short of his 80th birthday, was probably as surprised as anyone to have his birthday celebrations cut short. As he had grown older, he had grown more childlike and his smile had widened when he heard his music played, or when he was being asked for opinions, or when he was considered an icon.
June 3, 1995 |
Yesterday's preview of "Rolywholyover: A Circus" turned the Art Museum into a midway of sorts. The multimedia exhibit, a collection of objects chosen by composer John Cage, evokes a circuslike atmosphere. A number of activities go on simultaneously, and the pieces change several times a day. As Cage put it, "if you came back a second time, you wouldn't recognize it. " The exhibit, which includes works by Cage, who died in 1992, and by artists he admired, opens to the public tomorrow and runs through July 30.
October 22, 2012 |
The eager group of young musicians seems poised to begin playing. Expectation is in the air. But no sound or motion is coming from anybody. Is it a joke? Mass catatonia? Four minutes later, there's still no sound, and then . . . . You can guess the rest. It's the greatest hit by maverick musical folk hero John Cage, whose 1952 piece 4'33" calls for four minutes and 33 seconds of silence. It's typical Cage: maddeningly simple performance directions with open-ended results. Even silence, in his world, has infinite varieties.