Composer John Cage (1912–1992) paid attention to the 99% of sound that was not previously called "music." This even led him to explore what was previously thought of as "silence." Because he challenged existing notions of music in such a fundamental way, his ideas still provoke and inspire.

Cage visited New England Conservatory for a festival of his music in 1991. In 2012, we celebrate his centennial with performances by NEC's musicians here and around Boston.

Imaginary Landscapes of John Cage

This multimedia project is an homage to Cage and the liberating power of his music and writings for future generations. Named after the early Cage cycle dedicated to landscapes of the present and future, this project reflects on the composer’s interest in occupying the entire sound field, from city landscapes and unpredictable traffic sounds, to natural landscapes, amplified water and plants, and futuristic sound images involving electronic media.

The program brings together the work of guest artist Nada Kolundzija and consultant Scott Fielding, videographer Milan Popovic, and NEC students and faculty, and is based on a creative montage of Cage’s selected works, from his early to late compositional periods, and video and text improvisations related to his concepts of chance, non-linearity, multiplicity, and complexity.

One text piece that will coincide with the Cage compositions is an excerpt from Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist play (or "anti-play") The Bald Soprano, in which plot, character, and language itself gradually dissolve to a representation of the comic-disturbing emptiness at the center of all discourse: a collapse of reality where words are emptied of meaning and characters are emptied of psychology—a world beyond understanding and governed by arbitrary laws.

By thus overlapping sounds, speech, poetry and video, the performers celebrate the centennial of John Cage, one of the most influential artists, writers and thinkers of the 20th century.

But What About the Noise of Crumpling Paper? for percussion (1985)
Order and Chaos Ensemble

Sonata IV for prepared piano (1946–48)
Nada Kolundzija

She is Asleep for voice and prepared piano (1943)
Sami Stevens voice, Alec Watson, prepared piano

Sonata I for prepared piano (1946–48)
Nada Kolundzija

Imaginary Landscape No. 1 for four players, two turntables, piano, and large Chinese cymbal (1939)
Neil Markowski, turntable; Michael Prentky, turntable; Arian Shafiee, large Chines cymbal; Zoe Christiansen, piano

Ear for Ear for two singers (1983)
Adrienne Arditti, Joseph Smith

Eugene Ionesco, excerpt 1 from The Bald Soprano
Theatre of the Absurd Ensemble

Sonata XIII for prepared piano (1946–48)
Nada Kolundzija

Four for two violins, viola, and cello (section B) (1989)
Mari Lee, violin, Matthew Vera, violin, Benjamin Beck, viola, Nash Tomey, double bass

Sonata XII for prepared piano (1946–48)
Nada Kolundzija

Eugene Ionesco, excerpt 2 from The Bald Soprano
Theatre of the Absurd Ensemble

Imaginary Landscape No. 3 for six players, 10 tin cans, two turntables, buzzer, two Balinese button gongs, audio frequency oscillator, amplified marimbula, and aerial radio coil (1942)
Bryce Leafman, Samuel Chan, Sean Van Winkle, Stephen Kehner, percussion; Neal Markowski, turntable and oscillator; Mike Prentky, turntable and aerial coil

Interlude I for prepared piano (1946–48)
Nada Kolundzija

Six Melodies for violin and keyboard (1950)
Mari Lee, Matthew Vera, Alec Watson

Credo in US for four players: turntable and 2 muted gongs, 10 tin cans, 2 tom-toms, electric buzzer, and piano (1942)
Nadezda Kolundzija, piano; Katarina Miljkovic, turntable; Bryce Leafman, Samuel Chan, tin cans, electric buzzer

Order and Chaos Ensemble

Joshua Baker, Connor Baker, Peter Bauer, Dominic Brancazio, Zoe Christiansen, Mark Goldstein, Jesse Heasly, William McShane, Michael Prentky, Arian Shafiee, Samuel Taylor, Nash Tomey

Theater of the Absurd Ensemble

William Bridges, Nicole Caligiuri, Wesley Chu, John Elizondo, Daniel Ellis, Kevin Garcon, Steven Gordon, Julian Korzeniowsky, Sonia Mantell, Neal Markowski, Aaron Muesing, Luke Park, Alexandra Simpson, Nash Tomey, Samuel Waring, Trever Williams, Isaac Wilson

Other project credits

Video: Milan Popovic, Nada Kolundzija
Consultant: Scott Fielding
Concept: Nada Kolundzija, Katarina Miljkovic, and Patrick Keppel with NEC students: Adrienne Arditti, Joseph Smith, Sami Stevens, Alec Watson, Michael Prentky, Arian Shafiee, Zoe Christiansen, Mari Lee, Matthew Vera, Benjamin Beck, Nash Tomey, Bryce Leafman, Samuel Chan, Sean Van Winkle, Stephen Kehner, Baker Connor, Baker, Joshua, William Bridges, Nicole Caligiuri, Wesley Chu, John Elizondo, Daniel Ellis, Kevin Garcon, Steven Gordon, Julian Korzeniowsky, Sonia Mantell, Neal Markowski, Aaron Muesing, Luke Park, Alexandra Simpson, Nash Tomey, Samuel Waring, Trever Williams, Isaac Wilson

Date: November 7, 2012 - 7:00:PM
Price: Free
Location: Brown Hall


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TO PLAY WITHOUT PASSION IS INEXCUSABLE! LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN