1912

Born in Los Angeles on September 5

Enrolls at Pomona College and studies theology

1928

Graduates from Los Angeles High School; wins high school speech contest

Travels to Paris to study architecture and piano

First begins composing

1930

Drops out of Pomona College

Becomes interested in theater and circuses

1933

Moves to New York City

Pianist Richard Buhlig tutors Cage in composition; Buhlig suggests Cage study with Henry Cowell

1934

Henry Cowell suggests Cage study with Adolph Weiss, the first American-born student of Arnold Schoenberg

Cage studies with Arnold Schoenberg, who teaches him free of charge

1935

Marries Xenia Andreevna Kasheveroff

1936

Parts ways with Arnold Schoenberg after a disagreement over the value of harmony in music

Starts teaching at the Cornish College of the Arts, in Seattle

Introduced to Asian philosophy; begins reading the words of Ananda Coomaraswamy

1938

Meets Lou Harrison and Merce Cunningham

Discovers the micro-macrocosmic rhythmic compositional method; writes "Future of Music: Credo"

1939

Composes "First Construction (in Metal)"

Invents the prepared piano technique by placing objects between the instrument's strings to emulate a percussion ensemble

1940

Composes "Bacchanale," the first prepared piano piece, which premieres on April 28

Composes "City Wears a Slouch Hat"

Teaches at the Chicago School of Design

1941

Composes music for a CBS radio play by Kenneth Patchen; after CBS rejects electronic sound effects used in the piece, Cage re-conceives it for percussion

Meets Marcel Duchamp

Composes "The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs"

1942

Moves back to New York City

1943

Premieres "The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs" on March 5

Tours with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and pianist David Tudor throughout Europe and, later, Japan

1944

Initiates lifelong personal and professional partnership with the American dance and choreographer Merce Cunningham

1945

Ends marriage with Xenia Kashevaroff

1946

Begins composing "Sonatas and Interludes"

Meets Robert Rauschenberg and Buckminster Fuller

1948

Teaches at Black Mountain College, North Carolina

Meets Pierre Boulez, in Paris

1949

Receives awards from The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and The American Academy

Composes "String Quartet in Four Parts," which premiers on August 12

Begins to use chance operations and the I Ching

1950

Becomes part of the "New York School" of composers with Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, and David Tudor

1951

Composes "Music of Changes," among his first using chance operations and compositional decisions determined by the I Ching

Composes "Black Mountain Piece," considered to be the first happening

The composition of "4'33"," which premiers on August 29, marks the admission of silence into Cage's compositional repertoire

1952

Teaches summer courses at Black Mountain College

Applies chance operations to electronic composition

1953

Becomes director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company

Meets Jasper Johns and Karlheinz Stockhausen

1954

Moves to Stony Point, New York

1956

Starts teaching courses at the New School for Social Research, New York City

Meets Luciano Berio

1958

Twenty-five-year retrospective concert at Town Hall, New York City

"Bachannale," "String Quartet," and "4’33”" published by Henmar Press

1960

Becomes a fellow at Wesleyan University, Connecticut

1961

Writes Silence

Tours Japan

Composes "Variations IV"

1962

Co-founds the New York Mycological Society

Explores the independence yet co-existence of music and choreography

1964

Goes on world tour with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company

Introduced to the writings of Henry David Thoreau

Starts composing "HPSCHD"

1967

Becomes composer-in-residence at the University of Cincinnati

Begins incorporating computer-generated chance operations into his compositions

Becomes an associate at the Center for Advanced Study, at the University of Illinois

1968

Elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters

Creates first works of visual art

Writes Notations

1969

Becomes artist-in-residence at the University of California at Davis

Composes "Songbooks," which premieres on October 26 and is published that same year

1970

Becomes a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study, at Wesleyan University

1972

Moves back to New York City

1975

Composes "Child of Tree," which premieres on March 8 and is published that same year

1978

Teaches first printmaking sessions at Crown Point Press, in San Francisco

1980

Becomes Regents Lecturer at the University of California at San Diego

1982

Cage is feted in celebrations worldwide marking the occasion of his 70th birthday

1983

Composes and publishes "30 Pieces for String Quartet"

Composes "8 Whiskas"

Premieres "30 Pieces for String Quartet" in July

1984

Composes and publishes "Nowth Upon Nacht"

Begins working with a computer to make large-scale computer-assisted compositions

1985

Composes and publishes "But What About the Noise..."

1986

Awarded an honorary doctorate by the California Institute of the Arts

Extends concepts from his collaboration with Merce Cunningham to include independent but co-existent elements of theatrical production such as lighting, sound, and costumes

1987

Turning to a new genre, Cage begins composing his first opera, which becomes part of the "Europeras 1-5" series

1988

Becomes Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University

1992

Following a stroke, dies on August 12, in New York City