John Cage performance at Stanford University

This early October, while passing through California, I stopped at Stanford University to attend two concerts as part of the world-wide celebration of John Cage’s centennial. This was the only “deadline” I had on my trip; besides this concert, I didn’t particularly have to be anywhere, at any time. This was something I definitely wanted to attend. Being in Vermont a bit and mostly New Orleans for most of 2012, as well as being on the road, I wasn’t able to partake in any Cage Centennial events.

I was happily surprised to see some of my favourite Cage pieces in the program: Six Melodies, Cheap Imitation and Ryoanji. There was also a panel discussion, comprising Christian Wolff, Laura Kuhn, Walter Zimmermann and Kathan Brown.

I asked a question that kind of threw them off a bit, and they never gave me a direct answer. I asked if, because the majority of Cage’s work was determined  by chance operations (almost all of it post- (approximately) 1950), Cage had any other avenues for self expression, as he made a conscious decision to separate his musical and visual work from his own personal intentions. Cage’s personal life, aside from his relationship with Merce Cunningham, isn’t discussed much, and I’ve always wondered what sort of relationship he had with himself.

Anyway, here are some drawings I made in reaction to some of the pieces played, which included pieces by John Cage, Walter Zimmerman, Christian Wolff  and Frederic Rzewski (the amazing Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues, previously unheard by me).

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