Situated at the forefront of artistic experimentation, Bowerbird is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that presents music and interdisciplinary events by local and internationally recognized artists at a variety of venues across the region. The mission of Bowerbird is to raise the public’s awareness and understanding of provocative and divergent music traditions by providing numerous and diverse opportunities to directly experience the work of today’s leading artists.
Bowerbird celebrates breadth and depth of John Cage’s influence with Cage: Beyond Silence, a festival in three parts
Experimental-music presenter explores Cage’s contributions to music, dance, film, art and literature in venues across the city; October 26, 2012–January 20, 2013
PHILADELPHIA — In conjunction with the centenary of John Cage’s birth and the 20-year anniversary of his death, Philadelphia experimental-music presenter Bowerbird presents a major festival celebrating the acclaimed musician and theorist’s myriad contributions. Cage: Beyond Silence, presented in conjunction with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, runs October 26, 2012–January 20, 2013.
Taking place at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and venues across the city, Cage: Beyond Silence will unfold in three parts. The first, Move from Zero (Oct. 26-Nov. 4), will provide an introduction to Cage’s music, focusing on seminal works from his early career (c. 1950) and exploring a variety of stylistic periods through his solo repertoire. Featured performances include Sonatas and Interludes (Oct. 28), a work for prepared piano; MUSIC OF CHANGES (Nov. 1), an experiment in indeterminate music; and ORGAN2 / As SLow aS Possible (Nov. 3-4), an overnight organ concert at Philadelphia’s historic Christ Church.
Parts two and three — The Year Begins to be Ripe (Nov. 30-Dec. 12) and At Least We Have Begun (Jan. 11-20), respectively — will juxtapose two of Cage’s “magnum opuses,” the mid-career polystylistic Song Books (1970) and the late-career meditative series Number Pieces (1987-92). Several works will be given multiple performances, underlining the important role of the interpreter in realizing Cage’s scores and emphasizing the ephemeral and changing nature of these indeterminate works.
Cage’s tireless artistic exploration and innovation — which extends far beyond his early work 4’33”, the infamous “silent piece” that at times overshadows his subsequent 40 years of artistic output — produced one of history’s most nuanced musical voices, one that also had a profound influence on visual arts, film, dance and literature. To that end, Cage: Beyond Silence is presented in conjunction with the PMA’s major exhibition Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and Duchamp (on view Oct. 30, 2012-January 21, 2013).
“Cage is such a pivotal figure,” says Bowerbird founder and director Dustin Hurt. “He worked across so many disciplines and genres, even if you don’t agree with his ideas, you can’t avoid his influence.”
SCHEDULE: PART ONE
For tickets and information, visit cagebeyondsilence.com.
CAGE: MUSIC FOR FILM
Fri., Oct. 26, 5-8:45 p.m.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Ben Franklin Parkway
Part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Art After 5 live music series, Cage: Music for Film features celebrated pianist and “queen of the toy piano” Margaret Leng Tan, who will perform Cage’s film music — including Works of Calder, Music for Marcel Duchamp, Chess Pieces and Music for Piano no. 2 — to live projected videos.
SONATAS AND INTERLUDES
Sun., Oct. 28, 8 p.m.
Field Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust St.
Inspired by Indian philosophy and music, Cage’s important early work for prepared piano Sonatas and Interludes (1946-48) uses screws, bolts, pieces of rubber and plastic to reimagine the piano as an orchestra of percussive sounds. This piece, performed by Margaret Leng Tan, is rarely presented in its complete format.
DOUBLE SOLOS: TROMBONE/CELLO
Tue., Oct. 30, 8 p.m.
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th St.
An industrious and inventive mind, Cage invented many new ways for notating music — including graphs, transparencies and text. In a concert that includes Etudes Boreales (1978) for cello and Solo for Sliding Trombone (1957-58), Juilliard graduate Jay Campbell and Philadelphia artist Dan Blacksberg explore bold new sounds and instrumental techniques.
MUSIC OF CHANGES
Thu., Nov. 1, 8 p.m.
Trinity Center for Urban Life, 22nd and Spruce streets
Composed in 1951, Music of Changes was Cage’s first entirely indeterminate instrumental piece — or music chosen by chance. New York-based pianist Joseph Kubera, the first person to ever record the piece in its entirety, provides an unyielding and complete interpretation of this complex and virtuosic work.
CAGE: SILENCE AND BEYOND
Sat., Nov. 3, noon-4 p.m.
Media Room, Perelman Building, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Ben Franklin Parkway
Cage often referred to his “silent piece” as his most important work, but does this piece overshadow his other artistic contributions and, most importantly, his craft as a composer? A series of talks and artistic responses explore the complex and interwoven ideas of 4’33” (1952) and beyond.
ORGAN2 / ASLSP
Sat., Nov. 3, 8 p.m., FREE
Christ Church Philadelphia, 20 N. American St.
Presented by organist Parker Kitterman and others throughout the evening and into the morning hours on Nov. 4, Organ2 / ASLSP (As Slow as Possible) will be performed on the powerful Curtis Organ housed in Philadelphia’s historic Christ Church. Cage’s work is the subject of one of the longest-lasting musical performances yet undertaken: The current performance of this piece began in 2001 at St. Burchardi church in Halberstadt, Germany, and is scheduled to have a duration of 639 years.
Sun., Nov. 4, noon-4 p.m.
Dorrance Galleries, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Ben Franklin Parkway
Taking advantage of the unique and varied acoustic and physical spaces of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, members of Philadelphia’s Network for New Music perform solo repertoire spanning the entirety of Cage’s career, offering a broad sampling of instrumental timbres and compositional styles.
(For a schedule of events for part two and three of the festival, visit cagebeyondsilence.com.)
Cage: Beyond Silence is made possible by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Music Project. Additional support is generously provided by The Presser Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and other generous individuals.
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