John Cage

JOHN CAGE (1912 – 1992) studied composition with Adolf Weiss, Henry Cowell and Arnold Schonberg and had close ties with Marcel Duchamp, Juan Miro and Max Ernst. Between 1937 – 1939, he worked at Cornish School of Music in Seattle organizing per-cussion concerts. In 1941, he worked as a rehearsal pianist at Chicago School of Designs, but he soon moved to New York, where he met Merce Cunningham in 1942 and wrote music to his ballet Credo in Us. In the early forties he wrote mainly music for percussion and later also for prepared piano. For his achievement in this field, he re-ceived an award from the National Academy of Arts and Letters and in 1949 the Guggenheim Award. In 1951 Cage was in the centre of a group of musicians (Morton Feldman, David Tudor, Christian Wolff). In 1952 Cage organized the first happening at Black Mountain College. In Europe, he became famous when his piece 34'46.776 for 2 prepared pianos was performed at the Donaueschingen festival and caused a scandal. Between 1956 – 1960 he taught at the New School of Music in New York and frequently vi-sited Europe (Darmstadt, Cologne, Milano). For 30 years he was the music director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; he gave private lessons and was invited to give lectures at American universities. During the last forty years of his life he was a leading figure of the avant-garde, provoking a strong reaction throughout the world. Together with Marshal McLuhan and Buckminster Fuller, Cage was regarded as a contemporary prophet; he conceived the concept of indeterminacy in music using chance operations via the oracle "I Ching". Cage's output is immense and his influence on contemporary aesthetics greater than that of any other American composer of the 20th century. In 1992 he visited Bratislava.

Works (selection): Sonata for Clarinet (1933), Trio, suite for 3 percussionists (1936), Bacchanale for prepared piano (1938), First Construction (in Metal) for 6 percussionists (1939), Second Construction for 4 percussionists (1940), Amores for 2 prepared pianos and percussion (1943), Ophelia for piano (1946), String Quartet in Four Parts (1950), Concerto for prepared piano and chamber orchestra (1951), Music of Changes for piano (1951), 4'33", tacet for any instrument/instruments (1952), Radio Music for 1 – 8 radios (1956), Piano Concerto (1957 – 1958), Aria for 1 voice (1958), FontanaMix for tape (1958), Theatre piece for 1 – 8 performers (I960), Rozart Mix for tape (1965), Bird Cage for 12 tapes (1972), Etcetera for small or-chestra and tape (1973), Freeman Etudes for violin (1977), Etudes Boreales for cello and/or piano (1978 – 1979), Litany for the Whale for 2 violins (1980), Postcard from Heaven for 1 – 20 harps (1982), Thirty Pieces for five Orchestras (1982), Ryoanji for chamber ensemble (1983 – 1985), Sonnekus2 for voice (1985), Five for 5 voices or in-struments (1988), Four for 2 violins, viola and cello (1989), Sculpture Musicale music to Inventions by Merce Cunningham (1989), Five Stone Sob for amplified clay pots (1991), Europera5 (1990), Two for sho and five water filled shells (1991), 103 for orchestra (1991), Eighty for orchestra (1991), Twenty-six, twenty-three and twenty eight for orchestra (1991), Sixty for orchestra (1991), One for speaker (1992).