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John Cage
Unidentified photographer: John Cage presenting "Marcel Duchamp: An Event" during the Members' Preview of the retrospective Marcel Duchamp, Philadelphia Museum of Art, September 21, 1973

Cage: Beyond Silence Citywide Festival

Presented by Bowerbird in conjunction with the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Taking place at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and venues across the city, Cage: Beyond Silence has been organized by Artistic Director Dustin Hurt to unfold in three parts. The first, Move from Zero (October 26–November 4, 2012) provides an introduction to John Cage's music, focusing on seminal works from his early career, such as Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48), Music of Changes (1951), and 4'33"(1952), and explores a variety of other stylistic periods through his solo repertoire. Parts two and three—subtitled The Year Begins to be Ripe (November 30–December 9, 2012) and At Least We Have Begun (January 11–20, 2013) respectively—will juxtapose two of Cage's "magnum opuses," the mid-career polystylistic Song Books (Solos for Voice 3–92) (1970) and the late-career meditative series of compositions titled Number Pieces (1987–92). Several works will be given multiple performances, underlining the important role of the interpreter in realizing Cage's scores and emphasizing the ephemeral and changing nature of these indeterminate works.

Margaret Leng 5
Margaret Leng Tan performing John Cage music live at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, October 2012
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Performing artists and ensembles include Margaret Leng Tan, Christian Wolff, Keith Rowe, Pauline Oliveros, Michael Pisaro, Joseph Kubera, Joan La Barbara and Ne(x)tworks, the BSC, JACK Quartet with James Hirschfeld, PRISM Quartet, Curtis 20/21, Network for New Music, Relâche, Either/Or, and more.

In 2012, the centenary of John Cage's birth and twenty years after his death, we are still seeking to understand the enormity of his contributions. His radical introduction of everyday sounds—previously considered nonmusical—into the musical landscape and his evolving ideas about the role of the composer in society and his subsequent use of chance operations to mute his "likes" and "dislikes" demonstrate his importance as a music philosopher. His tireless artistic exploration and innovation—which also grew to include visual arts and writing—produced one of history's most unique and nuanced musical voices. Cage: Beyond Silence invites audiences to engage with Cage's work, welcoming its complexity, unpredictability, and unexpected beauty.

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