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Writings through John Cage's Music, Poetry, and Art$
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David W. Bernstein and Christopher Hatch

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780226044071

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226044873.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 March 2020

Cage as Performer

Cage as Performer

(p.113) Four Cage as Performer
Writings through John Cage's Music, Poetry, and Art

Gordon Mumma

University of Chicago Press

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

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