John Cage, was born 100 years ago today. Cage passed away in August, 1992, just over 10 years ago.
Among the Alaska artists most profoundly influenced by John Cage's music and intellectual ideas were sculptor, painter and sound artist, the late Ken Gray, and Alaska's most important composer working today, John Luther Adams.
Yesterday evening, the Anchorage Civic Orchestra inadvertently did Cage homage, with a performance of 4'33"
Today, I'm going mushroom hunting in homage to Cage, who was a serious mycophile.
Cage's legacy is musical, meta-musical (a term Igor Stravinsky used to describe some of the works by Cage and German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen), and literary. His series of books, beginning with Silence, were perhaps as influential as his music.
Here is a poem from Indeterminacy. The indentations are from the original:
Two monks came to a stream.
the other Zen.
began to cross the stream
on the surface of
The Japanese became
excited and called
to him to come
“What’s the matter,”
the Indian said.
Zen monk said,
“That’s not the way
to cross the stream.
me.” He led him
to a place where the
water was shallow
and they waded across.
Here is an orchestral performance of 4'33"
Here is Cage, in 1960, in an appearance with Gary Moore as host, on the TV program, I've Got a Secret:
Here is Steve Butters, performing Cage's Suite for Toy Piano: