Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
56 Broadway, downtown Asheville <> or 828-350-8484
Hours: Wed. 12-4 , Thurs-Sat. 11-5 and by appointment

Contact:  Alice Sebrell at 828-350-8484



3rd ANNUAL CONFERENCE Theme: John Cage’s Circle of Influence


ASHEVILLE, NC, August 25, 2011

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in partnership with UNC Asheville and the John Cage Trust is pleased to announce ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 3 to be held October 7 – 9, 2011, a weekend gathering of scholars, performers and artists coming to Asheville to present ideas and perform works related to avant-garde composer John Cage. The program for the weekend will include music, performances, installations, exhibitions, films and scholarly presentations, all touching on some aspect of Cage’s life, work and genius…his Circle of Influence.

The keynote address will be given on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m by Laura Kuhn, the Executive Director of the John Cage Trust. Ms. Kuhn worked directly with John Cage from 1986-1992 on a variety of large-scale projects, including his Europeras 1 & 2 for the Frankfurt Opera. Projects under her direction include a CD-ROM of sampled piano preparations from Cage’s Sonatas & Interludes (1946–48) and The John Cage Book of Days, a yearly pocket calendar filled with historically important dates, pithy quotations, and unique images drawn from the archives of the John Cage Trust. JohnCageinJapanShe created and directed James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet, a theatrical realization of Cage’s radio play (2001). Kuhn is the John Cage Professor of Performance Arts at Bard College, where the John Cage Trust is headquartered.

John Cage (1912-1992) was a man of many interests: music, mushrooms, Zen Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy, visual art and dance. He pioneered the practice of “preparing” the piano by inserting objects into the strings, thereby altering the sound of the instrument in radical ways. He worked collaboratively for many years with choreographer/dancer Merce Cunningham and with fellow musician David Tudor (both of whom were also at Black Mountain College). Cage’s most famous (and infamous) composition is 4’33”, first performed by David Tudor in August of 1952. The piece lasts for precisely 4 minutes and 33 seconds during which time the pianist sits at the piano, consults a stopwatch and turns the pages of a score, but never strikes a note on the piano. This courageously conceptual work confused and outraged audiences and established Cage as an iconoclast and radical thinker. Cage taught at BMC in the summers of 1948 and 1952 and was in residence the summer of 1953. While there in 1952, he staged the first “Happening” in the United States, a multi-layered performative event that changed modern theater.

John Cage’s influence in multiple fields is a reason for his enduring legacy and contemporary relevance. As a musician, composer, philosopher and visual artist Cage’s work continues to inspire others. ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 3 will celebrate this enormously far-reaching influence through a mix of performances and presentations that address the many aspects of this visionary artist and thinker.

The schedule includes presentations by an impressive roster of participants, including some who worked with John Cage on visual art or music-related projects such as Ray Kass (worked with Cage at the Mountain Lake Workshop), Janos Négyesy (premiered Cage’s Freeman Etudes in 1981), (Beverly Plummer who made “edible paper” with Cage)and others who are scholars or musicologists and have published books about Cage (David Patterson, editor of John Cage Music, Philosophy, and Intention, 1933-1950).



Activities will commence on Thursday night, Oct. 6th when the Mobile Art Lab Easel Rider projects imagery onto the BB&T building. Then, from noon to 1:30 on Friday, Oct. 7th a 90-minute MusiCircus will take place all over town. This random and unscripted series of musical performances will spontaneously ebb and flow in an unpredictable way. At 3:00 p.m. author and independent scholar Mary Emma Harris will give a talk entitled Eden Re-imagined: John Cage & Black Mountain College, 1948-54 followed by Beverly Plummer’s presentation Choice, Chance and Anarchy: Making Edible Paper with John Cage. Friday evening from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. activities will shift over to the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center for the opening reception for the exhibition John Cage: A Circle of Influences and then over to the Grey Eagle for Roedelius w/XAMBUCA. Hans-JoachimRoedelius is one of the pioneers of electronic music, synthesis and sound exploration. JohnCage

Saturday morning’s presentations and performances will begin at 9:00 a.m. and continue until midnight, all at UNC Asheville. The keynote address, delivered by Laura Kuhn, Executive director of the John Cage Trust will take place from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon, followed by a reception. Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. a set of three performances is scheduled to take place in Lipinsky Auditorium. This promises to be a highlight of ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 3 as the three performers are extremely accomplished. Louis Goldstein, Professor of Music at Wake Forest University and co-founder of the California New Music Ensemble will perform ASLSP INTERPENETRATED. Then, celebrated German pianist Jens Barnieck will perform The Age of Cage, a set of compositions by Cage, Yvar Mikashoff and Tui St. George Tucker. Saturday evening will close with Hungarian violinist Janos Négyesy performing one of Cage’s most difficult compositions, The Freeman Etudes.

Sunday morning’s activiites will commence at 9:00 a.m. with another round of presentations and performances including Matthew Burtner’s presentation Agents Against Agency: Environmental Activist Music and the Legacy of John Cage, film by Robbie Land and poetry by Joseph Bathanti. After lunch, a tour of the Lake Eden campus of Black Mountain College will be offered along with a Mushroom Walk.

In conjunction with ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 3, the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center will present an exhibition of Cage’s artwork called John Cage: A Circle of Influences. This exhibition explores multiple aspects of Cage’s work from his important time at Black Mountain College to his later collaborative projects including the Mountain Lake Workshop in Virginia. The exhibition will open on Sept 30th with an opening reception planned for Friday, Oct. 7, 6:00-8:00 p.m.


Weekend cost for the conference is $30; daily admission is $20; free for UNC Asheville faculty, students and staff.


For details about the films, performances, panels, and art exhibits click here.




John Cage, foraging for mushrooms in Stony Point, New York (1958)

Photographer: Unknown

Courtesy John Cage Trust


John Cage in Japan (1962)

Photographer: Unknown

Courtesy: John Cage Trust


The Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center preserves and continues the unique legacy of educational and artistic innovation of Black Mountain College for public study and enjoyment. We achieve our mission through collection, conservation, and educational activities including exhibitions, publications, and public programs.