John Cage

~ Person


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


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

His 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 on changing events, 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".

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2003 HPSCHD (harpsichord: Robert Conant, realization: Joel Chadabe) John Cage 1
2004 Two³ / Inlets / Two⁴ John Cage 5 1
2005 Early Piano Music John Cage; Herbert Henck 1
2005 44 Harmonies From Apartment House 1776 / Cheap Imitation John Cage; Irvine Arditti, The Arditti Quartet 1
2005 Works for Percussion, Volume 4: 1940-1956 (Amadinda Percussion Group, Zoltán Kocsis, Zoltán Rácz, Zoltán Gavodi) John Cage 1
2006 Music for Trombone John Cage 1
2006 Complete Music for Prepared Piano John Cage; Giancarlo Simonacci 1
2007 Atlas Eclipticalis With Winter Music John Cage 1
2007 John Cage: Music for Keyboard 1935-1948 / Morton Feldman: The Early Years John Cage, Morton Feldman 1
2007 Solo for 'cello John Cage; Friedrich Gauwerky 1
2007 Three / Twenty-Eight / Fifty-Four / Fifty-Seven John Cage 5 1
2008 The Works for Piano 8: Complete Short Works for Prepared Piano John Cage; Philipp Vandré 1
2008 Three (Trio Dolce) John Cage 1
2008 Two² John Cage 1
2008 Works for Percussion, Volume 5 (1936 - 1991) (Amadinda Percussion Group) John Cage 1
2008 Trombone and Piano John Cage; Mike Svoboda, Steffen Schleiermacher 1
2008 Sculptures Musicales / Fifty-Five / Eight-Three / Eighty John Cage 5 1
2009 In a Silent Way Cage, Feldman; Maurizio Barbetti, Rossella Spinosa 1
2009 Cage Performs Cage John Cage 1
2010 Lost Daylight Terry Jennings / John Cage 1
2010 American Counterpoint John Adams, Conlon Nancarrow, John Cage 1
2010 In Norway John Cage 1
2010 Melodies & Harmonies John Cage; Annelie Gahl, Klaus Lang 1
2010 A Cage of Saxophones, Volumes 3 & 4 John Cage 1
2010 108 / 109 / 110 John Cage 5 1
2010 ASLSP John Cage; Sabine Liebner 1
2011 Boulez: Structures / Cage: Music for Piano Pierre Boulez, John Cage; Pi-Hsien Chen, Ian Pace 1
2012 Ligeti / Pintscher / Cage / Xenakis Ligeti, Pintscher, Cage, Xenakis; JACK Quartet 1
2012 Happy Birthday John! John Cage; Floraleda Sacchi 1
2012 John Cage Shock, Volume 1 John Cage 1
2012 John Cage Shock, Volume 2 John Cage 1
2012 John Cage Shock, Volume 3 John Cage 1
2012 As It Is John Cage 1
2012 Sonatas & Interludes John Cage; Cédric Pescia 1
2013 Cartridge Music John Cage 1
2013 Gamelan Cage John Cage; Sanggar Ceraken of Bali 1
2013 Solo for Piano John Cage; Sabine Liebner 1
2014 Early Electronic and Tape Music John Cage 1
2015 Rothko Chapel Morton Feldman, Erik Satie, John Cage; Kim Kashkashian, Sarah Rothenberg, Steven Schick, Houston Chamber Choir, Robert Simpson 1
Bird Cage John Cage 1
Dream John Cage 1
Empty Words, Part III John Cage 2
Four Walls John Cage 1
John Cage John Cage 1
Locations (piano: Herbert Henck) John Cage 1
Organ² / ASLSP John Cage 1
Prelude for Meditation John Cage 5 1
Roaritorio John Cage 1
Singing Through John Cage 1
Sonatas & Interludes for Prepared Piano (Gerard Fremy) John Cage 3 1
Sonatas & Interludes for Prepared Piano (piano: John Tilbury) John Cage 1
Sonnekus² John Cage 1
The City Wears a Slouch Hat John Cage 1
The Perilous Night + Four Walls (Margaret Leng Tan + Joan La Barbara) John Cage 1
The Piano Concertos John Cage 1
The Text Pieces I, The Artist Pieces John Cage 1
Thirteen John Cage 1
Three Constructions John Cage 1
Two4 Two6 Five2 Five5 Seven Seven2 (Ives Ensemble; Mayumi Miyata) John Cage 1
Will You Give Me To Tell You (Cikada Duo & SISU) John Cage 1
Works for Piano & Prepared Piano, Volume II (piano: Joshua Pierce & Dorothy Jonas, violin: Frank Almond) John Cage 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1992 The New York School Earle Brown, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff; Eberhard Blum, Frances-Marie Uitti, Nils Vigeland 1
1993 Just West Coast John Cage, Lou Harrison, Lamonte Young, Harry Partch; John Schneider, Amy Shulman 1
1994 Cage: Atlas eclipticalis / Carter: Variations / Babbitt: Correspondences / Schuller: Spectra Cage, Carter, Babbitt, Schuller; Chicago Symphony Orchestra, James Levine 1
1994 The New York School 2 Earle Brown, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff; Eberhard Blum, Steffen Schleiermacher, Jan Williams 1
2008 Concert for Piano and Orchestra / Credo in Us / Imaginary Landscape no. 1 / Rozart Mix / Music for Amplified Toy Pianos / Music for Carillon John Cage; Burkhard Wissemann, Michael Dietz, Christoph Keller, Johann-Nikolaus Matthes, Hermann Danuser, Bell Imhoff, Doris Sandrock, Ensemble Musica Negativa, Rainer Riehn 1
2010 Fontana Mix John Cage 2
A Portrait John Cage 1
String Quartets Lutosławski, Penderecki, Cage, Mayuzumi; Lasalle Quartet 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1987 John Cage Meets Sun Ra John Cage & Sun Ra 1
2001 Sonatas and Interludes John Cage 1
2001 Variations IV John Cage assisted by David Tudor 1

Album + Soundtrack

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1989 Four Walls John Cage; Richard Bunger, Jay Clayton 2

Album + Spokenword

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1992 Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) John Cage 5 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2002 4′33″ John Cage 1
2010 Cage Against the Machine John Cage 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
Roaratorio: An Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake John Cage 1
Zehn Präludien - One8 София Асгатовна Губайдулина / John Cage 0


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2000 David Tudor: Rainforest II / John Cage: Mureau David Tudor / John Cage 1
1965-01-16: Sculpture Court, San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA, USA David Tudor & John Cage 1
1975-06-21: Stuttgart, Germany John Cage 1

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