John Cage (1912–1992) created works in several different media—music, performance, writing, and visual art—throughout his lifetime. One of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, he composed a landmark of modern music, 4′ 33″, as well as numerous compositions over several decades for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, first at Black Mountain College in the fifties and later in New York City where he also taught composition classes at the New School. His musical ideas were defined by chance operations, based on consulting the I Ching. Cage experimented with new technologies and amplification of objects and elements of nature, and turned literary texts by Thoreau, Joyce, Satie, and others into music. He wrote many books that elaborated unique forms of musical thought, personal anecdote, poetry, and reflections on painting, dance, music, and the natural world, including Silence, Empty Words, X, and A Year from Monday. The John Cage Trust, which serves his legacy, is located at Bard College.
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