October 7-9, 2011
Thematic Focus: John Cage’s Circle of Influence
Press Release

American composer, pianist and writer John Cage (1912 - 1992).   (Photo by Erich Auerbach/Getty Images)

American composer, pianist and writer John Cage (1912 – 1992). (Photo by Erich Auerbach/Getty Images)

Keynote Speaker:
Laura Kuhn, Director of The John Cage Trust
The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, along with The John Cage Trust and the University of North Carolina at Asheville, will present a 3-day conference exploring John Cage’s Circle of Influence, including his work and associations during the three summers he was at Black Mountain College (1948, 1952, and 1953) as well as his innovative work in music composition and visual art after BMC.

Topics and presentations may include the diverse ideas and influences at play in Cage’s work with an overarching theme of John Cage as a synthesizer, inventor, thinker, and performer.

Cage’s lifelong associations with BMC figures such as Merce Cunningham, David Tudor, M.C. Richards, Robert Rauschenberg, Charles Olson, and Irwin Kremen provide a deep and rich pool of topics to draw upon.

Potential topics could include: Cage’s work and collaborations at BMC and after, Josef & Anni Albers, Merce Cunningham, Meister Eckhart, Antonin Artaud, Zen Buddhism, The Happening (Theatre Piece No. 1), Chance Operations, Cage’s influence on contemporary music, and his most famous composition 4’33” and its continuing importance.

The conference will mix aspects of an academic conference with those of a performance-oriented event. There will be films, presentations and performances, in some cases taking place simultaneously (though in separate locations), echoing the overlapping content of the Happening of 1952.