John Cage

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I have a few percussion instruments, but I don’t have a piano, and as I told you I don’t listen to records. I listen to the sound of the environment, whether it comes from the conveniences in the house or from the traffic outside

John Cage, bruceduffie.com, 21 June 1987

John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer, music theorist, writer, and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage’s romantic partner for most of their lives. Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, which is performed in the absence of deliberate sound. The work’s challenge to assumed definitions about musicianship and musical experience made it a popular and controversial topic both in musicology and the broader aesthetics of art and performance.