John Cage (American composer)

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Annotation last modified on 2015-04-16 10:39 UTC.

Legal name: John Milton Cage Jr.


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's 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 East and South Asian 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 and decision-making tool, became Cage's standard composition tool for the rest of his life. In a 1957 lecture, "Experimental Music", he described music as "a purposeless play" which 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".

Cage's best known work is the 1952 composition 4′33″, a piece performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing but be present for the duration specified by the title. The content of the composition is intended to be 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. These include Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48).

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2021Cheap ImitationJohn Cage; Aki Takahashi1


1951Sonatas & Interludes for Prepared PianoJohn Cage; Maro Ajemian3
1961Berio: Circles / Bussotti: Frammento / Cage: Aria With Fontana MixLuciano Berio, E. E. Cummings, Sylvano Bussotti, John Cage; Cathy Berberian32
1966Fontana Mix - Feed (Six Realizations of John Cage)John Cage; Max Neuhaus2
1967Electronic MusicJohn Cage, Luciano Berio, İlhan Mimaroğlu1
1967New Electronic Music From Leaders of the Avant-GardeJohn Cage, Milton Babbitt, Henri Pousseur33
1968Cage: Concerto for Prepared Piano & Orchestra / Foss: Baroque VariationsJohn Cage, Lukas Foss; Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Lukas Foss1
1969Cage & Hiller: HPSCHD / Johnston: String Quartet no. 2John Cage & Lejaren Hiller, Ben Johnston51
1969John Cage: Atlas Eclipticalis • Winter Music • Cartridge Music / Dieter Schnebel: GlossolalieJohn Cage, Dieter Schnebel; Ensemble Musica Negativa, Rainer Riehn1
1970AmericanaEdgard Varèse, Carlos Chávez, John Cage; Les Percussions de Strasbourg1
1973John Cage: Three Dances / Steve Reich: Four OrgansJohn Cage, Steve Reich; Michael Tilson Thomas, Ralph Grierson21
1974John CageJohn Cage3
1976Voices and InstrumentsJan Steele, John Cage1
1977Cheap ImitationJohn Cage2
1978The Music of John Cage and Harry PartchHarry Partch, John Cage51
1980Nocturne / Six Melodies / Amores / A Valentine Out of Season / Music for Marcel DuchampJohn Cage; Vera Beths, Reinbert de Leeuw1
1981Digital PercussionCage, Varèse, Farberman; London Percussion Ensemble, Harold Farberman31
1984Sixteen DancesJohn Cage; New Music Concerts, Paul Zukofsky1
1984The Kroumata Percussion Ensemble 2 / Manuela Wiesler, FluteThe Kroumata Percussion Ensemble & Manuela Wiesler Play Music By Jolivet, Harrison, Cage & Sandström1
1985Etudes Boreales / RyoanjiJohn Cage1
1985Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared PianoJohn Cage; Yuji Takahashi1
1986Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared PianoJohn Cage; Darryl Rosenberg1
1987Sonatas & Interludes for Prepared PianoCage; Gérard Frémy31
1987Thirty Pieces for Five Orchestras / Music for PianoJohn Cage1
1988Music of ChangesJohn Cage; Herbert Henck41
1988Works for Piano & Prepared Piano, Vol. IJohn Cage; Joshua Pierce, Jay Clayton, Paul Price Percussion Ensemble1
1988Works for Piano & Prepared Piano, Vol. IIJohn Cage; Joshua Pierce, Dorothy Jonas, Frank Almond1
1989Sonatas & Interludes for Prepared PianoJohn Cage; Joshua Pierce1
1989The Complete String Quartets, Vol. 1John Cage; Arditti Quartet1
1989Three ConstructionsJohn Cage; The Donald Knaack Percussion Ensemble, Jay Clayton1
1990Microtonal Works by Partch, Cage, Labarbara, DrummondPartch, Cage, LaBarbara, Drummond; New♭an𝅘𝅥𝅮1
1990Singing ThroughJohn Cage; Joan La Barbara, Leonard Stein, William Winant1
1991Music for Merce CunninghamJohn Cage; Takehisa Kosugi, Michael Pugliese, David Tudor1
199145′ / 34′46.776″ / 31′57.9864″ / 27′10.554″ / 26′1.1499″ / 4′33″ / Music for Five / TwoJohn Cage; Eberhard Blum, Marianne Schroeder, Robyn Schulkowsky, Frances‐Marie Uitti, Nils Vigeland1
1991Chorals / Cheap Imitation / Freeman Etudes I-VIIIJohn Cage; Paul Zukofsky1
1991Eric Satie: Socrate / John Cage: Cheap ImitationErik Satie, John Cage; Hilke Helling, Deborah Richards, Herbert Henck1
1991First ConstructionJohn Cage; Ensemble Percussione Ricerca, Eddy De Fanti1
1991Sixty-Two Mesostics re Merce CunninghamJohn Cage; Eberhard Blum1
1991The Perilous Night / Four WallsJohn Cage; Margaret Leng Tan, Joan La Barbara1
1991Works for Cello / Lecture on NothingJohn Cage; Frances‐Marie Uitti1
1991Works for PercussionJohn Cage; Quatuor Hêlios1
1991Works for Piano, Toy Piano & Prepared Piano, Vol. IIIJohn Cage; Joshua Pierce, Maro Ajemian, Marilyn Crispell, Joe Kubera1
1992Fifty-EightJohn Cage; Pannonisches Blasorchester, Wim van Zutphen1
1992Atlas EclipticalisJohn Cage; Eberhard Blum1
1992Indeterminacy: New Aspect of Form in Instrumental and Electronic MusicJohn Cage, David Tudor1
1992Litany for the WhaleJohn Cage; Theatre of Voices, Paul Hillier3
1992Pianos and VoicesJohn Cage, Meredith Monk; Anthony de Mare1
1992RoaratorioJohn Cage1
1992The Barton Workshop Plays John CageJohn Cage; The Barton Workshop1
1993The Complete String Quartets, Vol. 2John Cage; The Arditti Quartet1
1993Concert for Piano and Orchestra / Atlas EclipticalisJohn Cage; The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, Petr Kotik, Joseph Kubera1
1993Etudes AustralesJohn Cage; Grete Sultan1
1993Music for ...John Cage1
1993New Piano Works From Europe and the AmericasPärt, Cage, Scelsi, Kagel, Berio, Schumann, Gandini, Valverde; Haydée Schvartz1
1993Prelude for MeditationJohn Cage; Hildegard Kleeb, Roland Dahinden51
1993Sonatas and Interludes / Music for Marcel Duchamp / The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen SpringsJohn Cage; Nigel Butterley, Gerald English1
1993ThirteenJohn Cage; Ensemble 13, Manfred Reichert1
1993Winter MusicJohn Cage1
1994Carter: Variations for Orchestra / Schuller: Spectra / Babbitt: Correspondences / Cage: Atlas EclipticalisCage, Carter, Babbitt, Schuller; Chicago Symphony Orchestra, James Levine2
1994Freeman Etudes, Books One and TwoJohn Cage; Irvine Arditti1
1994Daughters of the Lonesome IsleJohn Cage; Margaret Leng Tan1
199416 DancesJohn Cage; Ensemble Modern, Ingo Metzmacher2
1994Europera 5John Cage; Yvar Mikhashoff, Martha Herr, Gary Burgess, Jan Williams, Don Metz1
1994Freeman Etudes, Books Three and FourJohn Cage; Irvine Arditti1
1994Orchestral Works 1: 101 / Apartment House 1776 / RyoanjiJohn Cage; New England Conservatory Philharmonia1
1994RoaratorioJohn Cage1
1994Ten / Ryoanji / FourteenJohn Cage; Ives Ensemble1
1995In a LandscapeJohn Cage; Stephen Drury2
1995The Contemporary American ‘C’Copland, Creston, Crumb, Carter, Cage1
1995Annum per annumCage, Pärt, Scelsi; Christoph Maria Moosmann1
1995Cage: In a Landscape / Solo for Piano with Bassoon / Bussotti: Aquila imperiale / Aquila imperiale con l'allodola e il topino da "Voliera - due soliiloqui"John Cage, Sylvano Bussotti; Paolo Carlini, Mauro Castellano1
1995Europeras 3 & 4John Cage; Long Beach Opera1
1995Freeman EtudesJohn Cage; János Négyesy1
1995New York School 3Earle Brown, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff; Eberhard Blum, Art Lange, Jan Williams1
1995Six Melodies / Thirteen HarmoniesJohn Cage; Irvine Arditti, Stefan Hussong1
1995Sixty-Eight / Quartets I-VIIIJohn Cage1
1995The Number Pieces IJohn Cage; Martine Joste, Ami Flammer, Dominique Alchourroun, Jean Michaut1
1995Thirteen HarmoniesJohn Cage1
1996Cage / Pisaro / Frey / BeugerCage, Pisaro, Frey, Beuger; Edwin Alexander Buchholz1
1996Dream / Sonatas and InterludesJohn Cage; Louis Goldstein1
1996Imaginary LandscapesJohn Cage; Maelström Percussion Ensemble, Jan Williams2
1996John Cage: One⁸ / Sofia Gubaidulina: Zehn Präludien für Violoncello soloJohn Cage, Sofia Gubaidulina; Julius Berger1
1996Music for EightJohn Cage; Ensemble Avantgarde, Salome Kammer, Leipziger Streichquartett1
1996RyoanjiJohn Cage; Robert Black, Eberhard Blum, Iven Hausmann, Gudrun Reschke, John Patrick Thomas, Jan Williams1
1996Two⁴ / Two⁶ / Five² / Five⁵ / Seven / Seven²John Cage; Ives Ensemble1
1996The Lost WorksJohn Cage; Essential Music1
1996The Piano Works 2: Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared PianoJohn Cage; Philipp Vandré1
1996Works for Piano & Prepared Piano, Vol. IVJohn Cage; Joshua Pierce1
1997Complete Piano Music, Volume 1: The Prepared Piano 1940-1952John Cage; Steffen Schleiermacher1
1997Cage: Two⁴ / Hosokawa: In die Tiefe der ZeitJohn Cage, Toshio Hosokawa; Julius Berger, Stefan Hussong1
1997Etudes AustralesJohn Cage; Claudio Crismani1
1997Lou Harrison: A PortraitLou Harrison, John Cage; California Symphony, Barry Jekowsky, Al Jarreau1
1997Sonatas and InterludesJohn Cage; Yuji Takahashi1
1997Two² / Experiences / 3 DancesJohn Cage; Double Edge1
1997The Piano ConcertosJohn Cage; David Tudor, Stephen Drury1
1998Sonatas and InterludesJohn Cage; Aleck Karis1
1998Works for Prepared PianoJohn Cage1
1998Complete Piano Music, Volume 2: Music for Piano 1-85 / Electronic Music for PianoJohn Cage; Steffen Schleiermacher1
1998Complete Piano Music, Volume 3: Music of ChangesJohn Cage; Steffen Schleiermacher1
1998Music for Percussion QuartetJohn Cage; Percussion Ensemble Mainz, Markus Hauke1

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