To honor Cage’s time and achievements at Wesleyan, the university will celebrate the centenary of Cage by focusing on his understanding of music as a social process through a collection of events Dec. 3-8. The Center for the Arts will host three musical performances on “John Cage and Public Life” as part of its “Music & Public Life” series, a year-long campus and community-wide exploration, celebrating and studying the sounds, words, and spirit of music.
On Dec. 5, Richard Kostelanetz, a noted literary artist and author of the first biography of John Cage, will discuss the social dimension of John Cage’s work at 7 p.m. the CFA Hall. The free lecture will be followed by a performance of John Cage’s Lecture on the Weather (1975), which was commissioned for the U.S. bicentennial and intended to be performed by Americans who have renounced citizenship.
On Dec. 7, the Wesleyan University Orchestra will perform John Cage’s Etcetera (1973), which was commissioned by Wesleyan for the inauguration of the Center for the Arts. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Crowell Concert Hall. The cost is $5 for the general public and $4 for Wesleyan students. Following the performance of Etcetera, the Wesleyan New Music Alliance will offer an extended performance of Cage’s HPCHD (1969) in Beckham Hall.
On Dec. 8, local and Wesleyan musicians will perform Cage’s Song Books at 8 p.m. in Crowell Concert Hall. The free concert will feature vocalists David Barron and Anne Rhodes MA ’06, and Wesleyan Professors of Music Ronald Kuivila and Neely Bruce. Rhodes will recreate the role performed by Neely’s wife, Phyllis Bruce, numerous times between 1978 and 1987.
In addition, Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives will host an exhibition titled “John Cage Writes” Dec. 3-March 10, 2013. The exhibit, mounted in the museum cases on the first floor of Olin Library, will focus in part on the five books Cage wrote that were published by Wesleyan University Press: Empty Words, M, Silence, X, and A Year from Monday. Silence has been hailed as one of the most important works on music by a 20th century composer.