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John Cage

Making the Right Choices:
The John Cage Centennial Celebration

Composer. Musician. Graphic artist. Philosopher. Electronic music pioneer. Dance collaborator. Poet. Inventor. Manipulator of sound and of silence.

John Cage was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. He and his work remain controversial, provocative and enigmatic. Marking the centenary of his birth, the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy, will present Making the Right Choices: A John Cage Centennial Celebration, February 8-10 at the New World Center in Miami Beach, Florida. Three theatrically enhanced performances in addition to film screenings, panel discussions and readings will trace the transformation in Cages’ methods as a composer from his early, elegant and specifically noted choices of sounds to later existential situations in which he allowed the performers enormous freedom. The festival will feature artists such as NWS artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas, new-music vocalists Joan La Barbara and Meredith Monk, soprano Jessye Norman, pianist Marc-André Hamelin and dancers from New World School for the Arts performing choreography by Merce Cunningham.

We invite you to explore the world of John Cage by attending one of the performances listed below, and to the additional festival events that will be announced within the coming weeks.

Tickets to each performance begin at $30.

Friday, February 8, 2013 at 7:30 PM
A John Cage Journey

The festival begins with a musical journey through Cage’s works from the 1940s and 1950s. Dancers from New World School of the Arts perform choreography by Merce Cunningham.

Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 7:30 PM
John Cage: Song and Dance

Solo dancers from Merce Cunningham’s celebrated company perform the lead roles in a new realization of Second Hand, a major collaboration of Cage and Cunningham based on music by Erik Satie. Cage used I-Ching chance operations to deconstruct Satie's music and reform it into a Dada-esque musical coloring book, asking such questions as: "Of those orchestra instruments that easily play all the notes of the phrase, how many and which actually do?"

MTT, Joan La Barbara, Meredith Monk, Jessye Norman, Marc-André Hamelin and NWS musicians join forces for a multimedia production of Cage’s mind-bending and provocative Song Books. With texts by Henry David Thoreau, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie and others, each of the work’s solos explores the boundaries of song, live electronics and theater.

Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Renga: A John Cage Tribute

Cage’s Dance 4/Orchestras is a work for four small orchestras inside and outside the concert hall. The poetic and violent gestures of each orchestra stretch across space to suggest the past, present and future. The music for each orchestra consists of 12 pairs of pages that Cage indicated may be performed as a whole or in part and in any order. The performance will be enhanced by a specially designed video collage derived from Cage’s graphic works.

Marc-André Hamelin stars in a selection of Cage’s notoriously difficult Etudes Australes, a body of 32 indeterminate works for solo piano written using star charts as source material.

Presented as the festival culmination, Renga is a large-scale, free-form improvisatory work for orchestra and soloists based on 361 drawings by Henry David Thoreau and the structure of Japanese poetry. The work blurs the boundaries between sound and music, allowing the musicians immense freedom in determining the choices they make.

(Floor Seats)

Premier Sponsor of Making the Right Choices:
A John Cage Centennial Celebration

These performances are also sponsored in part by: