John Cage

John Cage

John Cage (* 5. September 1912 in Los Angeles, California; † 12. August 1992 in New York, N.Y.) was an US-American composer.

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„the music, with which I concern myself, must necessarily music be called. In it there is nothing, that one is to remember.No topics, only activity of clay/tone and silence. “ --John Cage

beside Arnold beautiful mountain gives it only few composers with a similar meaning for composing in the 20-century as the 1912 in of Los Angeles born John Cage. Hardly another composerso many and so different key works of the new music created - its work covers about 250 compositions. In addition music and composition-theoretical work of fundamental importance comes. In addition Cage is considered as key figure to the end of the 1950er years developing happening artand as important activators for the Fluxusbewegung. The pictorial work of John Cage should not in all other respects be underestimated likewise.

Cage studied first literature, went 1930 to Europe and undertook first attempts in painting and composing. Returned to America,he married at the beginning of the 1930er years Xenia Kashevaroff and began its composition study among other things with Arnold beautiful mountain. 1938 pulled Cage after Seattle and developed its first impact things ensemble . Short time developed later than company for a choreography its first composition forthe prepared piano, onto whose strings and hammers he installed erasers, invented by it, nails and other small parts, which lend a special tone quality to the piano.

In Seattle met Cage the dancer notices Cunningham for the first time. In New YorkTown center developed itself Cage starting from 1942 an existence as a composer and separated from its wife. It traveled further across the USA, Europe and Asia, in order to hold courses and lectures and to accompany performances of its works. With Notice Cunningham and the painter, commercial artist and happening artist Robert noise mountain began Cage to co-operate and live together. This Trio lived in the same house in a kind three-relationship.

The occupation with the music by Eric Satie and the writings by Henry David Thoreau and James Joyce led John Cage to the development of its own form of music across music and of text across text, in this way a new activity. Its music is to help to experience present without itself around the passing toocare or future to expect.

The last phase of its work, which began 1987, covers approx. 50 pieces for various chamber-musical occupations, orchestra, solo instruments, choir, Performer, the “pieces of number in such a way specified” (NUMBERs of pieces). Here Cage gives no more title to its music pieces, butit designates it after the number of the specifying and nummeriert in the order of its emergence through. So e.g. the FOUR ² of 1990, written for four voices, which for the Madrigal - choir of the Hood River Valley High School was composed.The pieces of number are noted in “Time so mentioned brackets”. It concerns neither the traditional form of the music notation, still around a graphic notation form. Rather the interpreter has the possibility of introducing the sound event during a defined period and during oneTo take out period again.

John Cage was since his recent years of passionate mushroom researchers and mushroom collecting tanks.

Cage died 1992 in New York town center briefly before its 80. Birthday at the consequences of an impact accumulation.


famous its piece became 4 ' 33 ''. This piece consists of three sentences, which take together 4 minutes and 33 seconds and so to the work the name gave. All three sentences have the instruction Tacet, i.e. they consist of complete silence. In the premiereto 29. August 1952, in an auditory of Harvard University, indicated the pianist the three sentences to David Tudor by latches and opening the piano cover. During this absolute silence in the area are to be heard higher and a deep clay/tone;the high one comes from the nervous system and the depth of the blood, which flows by the veins.

From great music-historical importance is in addition “Imaginary Landscape No. 1 ", first through-composed work of the electronic music.

The organ work” Organ2/ASLSP “(As Slow (ly)and soft (ly) as Possible) is specified since 2001 in half in the pc. - Burchadi church; it becomes up to 4. Septembers 2640 last.

pieces of number

  • FOUR ² for chorus
  • TWO ² for piano and tenor trombone. The piece became of Cage 1991for Hildegard Kleeb and Roland Dahinden composes.


the first two operas are Europeras 1 & 2, their order for composition Heinz Klaus butcher and Rainer Riehn initiated, from Gary Bertini 1987 with the chief dramaturgy of the opera Frankfurt toMain entrusts.

see also

literary works

  • Silence (1961), translated of Ernst Jandl, edition suhrkamp 1477, new one consequence 477, Suhrkamp publishing house 1987

resuming literature

  • John Cage: Pour of les oiseaux (1976), edition Pierre Belfond, Paris, German as: John Cage: For the birds, Merve publishing house, Berlin
  • John Cage in the discussion (1989), DuMont publishing house, Cologne
  • John Cage I (music conceptsSpecial volume), hrsg. by Heinz Klaus butcher and Rainer Riehn, 2. , edition, Munich changed 1990 (ISBN 3-88377-296-8)
  • John Cage II (music concepts special volume), hrsg. by Heinz Klaus butcher and Rainer Riehn, 2. Edition, Munich 2000 (ISBN 3-88377-315-8)
  • Nachtcagetag (1987), program/anniversary publication of the WDR
  • Revill, David: Tosende silence. John Cage biography, (1995), cunning publishing house, Munich

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  • FontanaMixer: Computer program of Karl Heinz Essl, that in real time coincidence variations of John Cage's “Fontana mix” (1958) generates


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