Biography


Born in 1912 as the son of an inventor, John Milton Cage, Jr. died in 1992 as the father of musical invention. His studies during the 1930s with Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg, two great figures in 20th century music, compelled Cage to follow a compositional path away from the discrete musical forms and self-centered values inherent to the western tradition, and toward a music that invited all sounds — including silence — into an anarchy of compositional forms. Cage innovated the prepared piano, a technique of altering the piano’s sounds by inserting objects between strings; he also pioneered aleatoric — chance — musical procedures; and he was among the first to compose with electronics. His most famous work, "4’33’’," composed of ambient sound form, has become as much a philosophical statement as a musical one. Cage’s influence across the arts, including poetry, drama, dance, visual and conceptual art, remains pronounced.