Cage, Cage, and No End in Sight

For the next three days, June 1-3, I'll be at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, for the annual Nief-Norf Summer Festival, which is devoted to John Cage in this centennial year, and particularly to his percussion music; I deliver yet another of my signature keynote addresses Saturday at 3:30 in Harper Hall. It's not so difficult finding new things to say about Cage as to bring my ever-shifting understanding of him into focus. Given the average youth of the festival participants, festival organizer Andy Bliss suggested I include my … [Read more...]

Cage’s Rhetorical Sleight-of-Hand

LUBLIN - I'm publishing - to exactly coincide, through the wonders of technology, with the moment of my delivering it in Poland - my talk for the Cage100 symposium in the charming town of Lublin. It's a rather curmudgeonly examination (and I hope I won't be stoned by the Cage aficionados here assembled) of Cage's occasional twisting of logic in certain articles in Silence. I must say, writing it has gotten some things out of my system, and I find I can more freely commit to everything I love about Cage's writing now that I've snaked out the … [Read more...]

Have Airfare, Will Lecture

The Nancarrow conference produced by the Trinity Laban Conservatoire at the Southbank Centre, London, was pretty spectacular, given its modest timeframe. All of the player-piano studies were played on an instrument virtually identical to Conlon's, Jim Greeson's documentary on Conlon was premiered (Alex Ross shows an excerpt here), the London Sinfonietta played transcriptions superbly, and Conlon's widow Yoko presented a very touching portrait of him in words. What one drew from her talk, and also from a paper on the Nancarrow correspondence by … [Read more...]