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By Culturekiosque Staff

LOS ANGELES, 3 FEBRUARY 2012 — Composer, poet, painter, philosopher – or, as Arnold Schönberg put it, an "inventor and a genius". These are but a few attributes accorded the controversial American artist John Cage (1912 – 1992). His concept of silence, his use of coincidence and his involvement of art recipients revolutionised music, and impacted heavily on dance and avant-garde art of the 1950s and 1960s.

Celebrating the 100th year of the birth of avant-garde music pioneer, The Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) presents a full slate of projects and performances for 2012.  Many of the works will make their Los Angeles debut as a part of the year long John Cage Centenary Festival.

To kickoff the festival, CalArts presents an intensive workshop that will focus on interpreting, preparing, and performing Cage’s legendary musical/theatrical composition Song Books, and will culminate in a large-scale performance on campus on Sunday, 5 February 2012. This performance aims to include at least one rendition of all 90 solos — a very rare occurrence in the work’s history.

The festival continues at REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater Wednesday, 15 February at 7:00 pm and Thursday, 16 February 2012 at 8:30 pm. 

Programme for 15 February 2012

The New Century Players, the professional new music ensemble of the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, joins forces with the CalArts Orchestra for a program of large-scale pieces by the American visionary. Note that all works are by John Cage and this program begins at 7 pm to allow for the inclusion of an expansive line-up of works.

in programme order

Ryoanji (1984) solo; Rachel Rudich, shakuhachi

Dance/4 Orchestras (1982)

Etcetera (1973)

Renga (1976)

Fourteen (1990)

Ryoanji (1984) for ensemble  

John Cage working with students at CalArts in 1986
Photo: Courtesy of CalArts

Programme for 16 February 2012

The New Century Players center the festival's second evening on the Cage's seminal graphic score Fontana Mix—a telling example of the composer's fascination with the ideas of indeterminacy, chance, and silence. In addition to the original Fontana Mix tape music composition itself, the program consists of solo and small ensemble works by Cage, and works composed referencing the Fontana Mix score or using the Fontana Mix materials by Cage himself, and by composers responding to Cage's benchmark.

in programme order

Playing continuously in the lobby: Karlheinz Essl: FontanaMixer (2004–7 )

John Cage: Fontana Mix (1958)

John Cage: Aria (1958) , with WBAI (1960)

Cornelius Cardew: Piece for Guitar (for Stella ) (1964) ; Stuart Fox, solo guitar

John Cage: Water Walk (1959) ; Kristen Erickson , performer

Ulrich Krieger: Unterwelten II & III, woodwind sextet

— Intermission —

Max Neuhaus: Fontana Mix-Feed (1965)

John Cage: Theater Piece (1960) with WBAI (1960)

James Tenney: (Fontana) Mix for Six (Strings) ( 2001) , string sextet

Seating is general admission and tickets at $20 ($16 students) are available for purchase in person at REDCAT Box Office, by phone at (1)  213-237-2800, or online at www.redcat.org.


All titles are chosen by the editors as being of interest to Culturekiosque readers.

No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage's 4'33"
By Kyle Gann

Paperback: 272 pages
Yale University Press (January 2011)
ISBN-10: 0300171293
ISBN-13: 978-0300171297

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