Cornish College musicians re-create historic John Cage, Lou Harrison performances

An article reviews the performance and discusses a bit of the Cage / Harrison history.

In the years between their first collaboration and their 1992 Seattle appearance, Cage and Harrison had risen from obscurity to become titans of the American avant-garde. Harrison’s forays into music of non-Western cultures helped fuel the world-music movement of the 1980s. Cage’s experimentation with chance composing techniques, altered instruments and ambient sound — or “Silence,” as the title of his 1961 book proclaimed it — was equally influential and brought him international renown. That night in 1992 marked their last public appearance together in Seattle — the city where they’d made pivotal contributions to the Western percussion tradition half a century earlier. Cage died that August; Harrison in 2003. But anyone wanting insight into what they accomplished here and elsewhere will have their chance starting Thursday with “Drums along the Pacific,” a four-day festival at Cornish celebrating the work of Cage, Harrison and their mentor Henry Cowell.

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