Chapter

Cage as Performer

Gordon Mumma

in Writings through John Cage's Music, Poetry, and Art

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780226044071
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226044873 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226044873.003.0005
Cage as Performer

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Gordon Mumma, a composer and performer who collaborated with Cage at a time when both worked with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, documents aspects of Cage's activities as a performer. He presents Cage's work as pianist and percussionist both in concert and as dance accompanist, his performances with David Tudor and others using electronic media, and his virtuosic readings of his own poetry. The myths about Cage's musical abilities were dispelled by Mumma demonstrating that he was in fact a skilled and sensitive performer. With the Cunningham Dance Company, Cage often played the music of other composers; examples besides the Behrman and Lucier works already cited include the work of Toshi Ichiyanagi for Scramble (1967) and Pauline Oliveros for Canfield (1969). Cage loved performing and he was nourished by the performing experience, even under difficult circumstances. Thus, as a performer he was disciplined, reliable, and imaginative with creative decisions.

Keywords: Gordon Mumma; Cage; musical abilities; performer; disciplined; dance; performances

Chapter.  2877 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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