John Cage was a visual artist, writer, and composer. He is considered one of the most significant composers of the twentieth century. Cage wrote the music for The Seasons in 1947; Merce Cunningham choreographed the ballet. The Ballet Society of New York commissioned this score. His ideas concerning the gamut technique, though beginning in the thirties with cellular methods and continuing in the forties constricting his melodic range, were more fully recognized in the score of this ballet. He was experimenting with complexities and characteristics of sound according to James
Pritchett, the author of The Music of John Cage.
In 1952, when Cage's composition 4'33" was introduced to the public, pianist David Tutor didn't play at all for 4 minutes and 33 seconds. The concept was that the audience hear the sounds of their surroundings, not the quiet absence of the composition not being played.
For many years, Cage experimented with noises, sounds, and substitute objects for instruments. At first, he adapted a piano to make different sounds by placing objects between its strings. He also experimented with radios, tape recorders, and amplification. Water with shells were used for a composition entitled Water Music written in 1952. Later on in his musical career, he utilized light shows and slide projections and actors in costume.
Beginning in 1978, Cage began a yearly habit of creating a sequence of prints. He employed etching, engraving, and unorthodox materials to make his prints. In 1961, Cage published Silence: Lectures and Writings and in 1969 he published A Year From Monday.
From 10/14/11 until 11/27/11 The Mobile Museum of Art will exhibit Projections and Reflections: A Collaboration of Music and Visual Art. This show includes visual multi-media work by Sally Wood Johnson and the music of Dorothy Hindman. This production is inspired by the work and ideas of John Cage.
Silence: Lectures and Writings, 50th Anniversary Edition
In a Landscape: Piano Music of John Cage
A Year from Monday: New Lectures and Writings