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Music Encyclopedia

John Cage ( born 1912 )

American composer and music innovator.

John Cage stands out as an important figure in sound innovation and musical thought.
Perhaps it was his involvement with Zen-Buddhism which influenced his thinking towards sound in an unconventional way.
Before there were synthesizers and electronic apparatus to achieve unusual sounds and tone, he utilized the piano as an experimental instrument of choice.

His original idea of the 'prepared piano', which was implementing various objects such as steel bolts screwed in between the piano strings, or pieces of rubber, wood, or weather stripping inserted a various areas in and amongst the strings as well.

It was Cages avant-garde ideas towards music innovation and his use of silence which set him apart from the established approach to performing.
He is best known for his silence performances, these being sitting at the piano beach in front of a magnificient grand piano and absolutely doing nothing at all!
It was his desire to make people acutely aware of the sounds all about them that they would otherwise be oblivious to.

Later as computers and synthesizers evolved and developed John Cage began to incorporate these into his works.
Cage collaberated with Lejaren Hiller in a Work entitled " HPSCHD", which took two years to complete. It is this work which personifies Cage and his development towards a more involved and powerful role as a composer-performer.
This work was completed at the university of Illinois and utilized an array of instruments and computer technology.
Here is a list of 'instruments':