Cage: Beyond Silence

Bowerbird

2012
$70,000

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Musicians perform at Christ Church on November 30, 2012, as part of Bowerbird's Cage: Beyond Silence. Photo by Eric Ashleigh. Courtesy of Bowerbird.

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Performance at Christ Church on November 30, 2012, as part of Bowerbird's Cage: Beyond Silence. Photo by Eric Ashleigh. Courtesy of Bowerbird.

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Performance at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as part of Bowerbird's Cage: Beyond Silence. Photo by Eric Ashleigh. Courtesy of Bowerbird.

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Performance at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as part of Bowerbird's Cage: Beyond Silence. Photo by Eric Ashleigh. Courtesy of Bowerbird.

Bowerbird, a presenter of experimental music, dance, and related art forms, presented Cage: Beyond Silence, a festival held in 10-day arcs. Each arc focused on one of John Cage's major musical compositions: Early works and solos ("Move From Zero," October to November 2012); the poly-stylistic Song Books ("The Year Begins to Be Ripe," November to December 2012), a collection of 90 short works; and Number Pieces ("At Least We Have Begun," January 2013), 48 works written over six years, unified in their meditative feel. By focusing on these seminal works, Bowerbird provided audiences with a concentrated look at Cage's compositional styles—specifically, his groundbreaking concept of incorporating "chance" into composition, and creating music that is experiential in nature. The festival took place at venues around the city, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where a related exhibition—Dancing around the Bride: John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Marcel Duchamp—was on view. Bowerbird offered concertgoers the unusual opportunity to experience multiple versions of the same works, emphasizing the ephemeral quality of Cage's compositions. Participating ensembles included New York-based collaborative ensemble Ne(x)tworks with sound artist Joan LaBarbara; the BSC, an improvisational group based in Boston; contemporary music ensemble Either/OR, and others.