An Invitation to Contribute to John Cage Unbound

full name / name of organization: 
New York Public Library
contact email: 

The John Cage Centennial is upon us. To celebrate Cage's legacy, The New York Public Library will soon launch John Cage Unbound - A Living Archive, an online multimedia resource devoted to the life and work of America's most influential composer. In partnership with the John Cage Trust and C.F. Peters, John Cage Unbound will feature select digital images of Cage's music manuscripts, correspondence, programs, photographs, and ephemera drawn from the vast holdings of NYPL's Music Division. The centerpiece of the project, however, will be a rich video archive of John Cage interpretation with a special emphasis on the preparation and performance of Cage's work, including those works that are primarily language based.

This is where you come in. NYPL hopes that you, your colleagues, students, and peers will contribute to the archive by uploading your own videos (which can be quite informal and short) of Cage performances to the site. The videos will be integrated into the archive for public access via the intent to document the variety of interpretive practices Cage's work inspires and indeed demands.

For those of you who are leading or participating in coursework this Spring that may include John Cage, contributing to John Cage Unbound would be an ideal project. Any works by Cage are welcome and the staff of the NYPL Music Division are ready to offer you guidance if you need it, be it technical, logistical, or simply suggestions as to what works might be appropriate for you.

We do hope, however, that your videos will favor the process of creating the work over the performance. We believe such documentation will offer the public the greatest insight into the challenges and rewards that come with performing Cage's works. As you can see in the two sample video attached, the musicians' narration provides this insight into their interpretation.

Complete submission procedures will be available when John Cage Unbound launches in March. In the meantime, please direct inquiries to Jonathan Hiam at the email address above.

So Percussion

Preparing the Piano for Bacchanale, with Margaret Leng Tan