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September 05

John Cage

For 50 years, John Cage collaborated with dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham, challenging the conventional relationship between music and dance.

Photo by New York Times Co/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

1912: Pushing Music’s Boundaries
John Cage is born in Los Angeles, California
You might be confused the first time you hear an orchestra perform John Cage’s famous 1952 composition, 4’33” which refers to the length of time the piece lasts: four minutes, 33 seconds. During this time, no one will play their instrument; the concert hall will be completely silent.

Or will it? Cage, one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, believed in “found sound.” He thought that a whole other kind of music could be heard in the hundreds of small noises of a concert hall: someone shifting in her chair, someone coughing, someone else turning the page of a program. His experimental ideas about music and composition are still considered controversial by many.
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