Cage Day, Barbican Centre
As part of the Barbican Centre's year-long "Inventing America" season, the subject under scrutiny today is perhaps the most radical, inventive, influential and "wacky" pioneer of them all, John Cage (above). The day should be an exciting celebration of both the man and his work. Born in 1912 in Los Angeles, Cage is the man who, perhaps more than anyone else, continued the example of the arch American pioneer Charles Ives to produce a highly innovative, maverick and iconoclastic body of work.
In the process, Cage also attracted many followers, but few genuine imitators. To some, he became a pedagogical guru; to others, his work is totally incomprehensible. But Cage was always his own man: chance operations, invented and electronic sounds, silence, aleatoricism, indeterminancy, simultaneous musics, scores consisting of just words, and deep and lasting inspirations as diverse as Zen mysticism and Joyce's Finnegans Wake, characterise his questing and modern Renaissance lifestyle. On top of that, his collaborators embraced those in fields other than music - in the visual arts, in film and, via a lifelong working relationship with choreographer Merce Cunningham - dance. Many of these aspects come together in Cage Day, some appropriately occurring simultaneously. …