In August 1992, John Cage died suddenly, just a month before he would have celebrated his eightieth birthday. The passing of one of the greatest avant garde figures of the century was mourned around the world and brought a new recognition of his achievements, in music and art, and a reconsideration of the Cage legacy that will long continue.An essential part of this legacy are the writings gathered here, which span more than fifty years of Cagean thought and creativity. Generally unfamiliar, they demonstrate that Cage was highly skilled in using language not only to provide insight into his own work but also to convey his response to the music of others; his ideas about art, film, and dance; and, in “An Autobiographical Statement,” his reflections on his own life, career, and self-fulfillment.Written between the late ’30’s and the early ’90’s, these pieces here acquire the permanence they deserve. Some have never been published before. Many appeared only in magazines, journals, and catalogues; others in concert programs and on record covers. Also included are the texts of lectures and – of crucial importance to an appreciation of his music – Cage’s notes on the performance of his compositions, courtesy of his music publisher, C. F. Peters.Taken together, these writings, from their diverse sources and in their rich variety, reveal a lessknown but central aspect of the genius of a mild-mannered, deeply courageous pioneer in the arts. Dance critic Nancy Dalva has written, “John Cage taught us to listen to the world.” In this book we can learn what he heard.
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