John Cage’s 99th Birthday

Today marks the 99th birthday of one of our musical heroes, John Cage.

In this video, we see Cage discussing sound and silence in his apartment on 18th Street in New York. There is a romantic quality to hearing his words, imagining music, and listening to the sounds of the city in the background, all in concert.

Although he is perhaps best known for his experiments in silence, sound and chance elements in music, I am most fond of his work for prepared piano and toy piano. Despite what was adventurous instrumentation at the time, the music itself comes across as traditional piano compositions. They were for a long time part of my rotation of morning music.

This is a good moment to simply stop at listen to the ubiquitous sounds of the urban environment here, including the ever present trains and traffic on I-280.