Cage: Beyond Silence is a major festival celebrating the music of John Cage.  Taking place at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and venues across the city, events will unfold in three parts.  The first, Move from Zero (October 26 – November 4, 2012) will provide an introduction to John Cage’s music, focusing on seminal works from his early career, such as Sonatas and Interludes (1946 – 48) and Music of Changes (1951), 4’33” (1952), and will explore 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 – 1992).  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.

In 2012, the year of the Cage Centenary, and now 20 years after his death, we are still grasping to understand the enormity of Cage’s contributions.  His infamous ‘silent piece’, 4’33”, composed at the near start of his career, still dominates discussion, at times overshadowing the subsequent forty years of artistic output.  Cage’s radical introduction of everyday sounds—previously considered non-musical—into the musical landscape, or his evolving ideas about the role of the composer in society and his subsequent use of chance operations to mute his “likes” and “dislikes”, demonstrates his importance as a music philosopher. Cage’s 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.  Beyond Silence invites audiences to engage with Cage’s work, welcoming their complexity, unpredictability and unexpected beauty.

This festival has been endorsed by the John Cage Trust and will be presented in conjunction with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s major exhibition Dancing around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and Duchamp (on view October 30, 2012 – January 21, 2013).



Cage: Beyond Silence has been made possible by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Music Project, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Dina and Jerry Wind, and John J. Medveckis.