New online archive offers unprecedented access to John Cage’s work

Today, the New World Symphony launches a video-based exploration of the work of John Cage, one of the 20th century’s most influential and provocative composers and visual artists. Part of a free, online resource, the archive grew from a 2013 celebration of Cage on the 100th anniversary of his birth, and allows viewers to experience his music and learn more through behind-the-scenes discussions.

For some of the videos, the material shot during the performance at Miami Beach’s New World Center was just the starting point for the creation of new video art. For example, in the case of Dance/4 Orchestras, images of Cage’s drawings and compositions are layered over the musicians’ in a multimedia work.

“It was always a direction John wanted to explore and encouraged people to search for. The idea that music and images would come together in a special dialogue was one of his greatest dreams,” said Michael Tilson Thomas, the symphony’s founder and artistic director.

Knight Foundation supported both the event, and this new website, as a way to bring his work and ideas to more people.

“I have been influenced by Cage and his way of thinking since I attended his concert at Wesleyan University in 1965,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. “That night, he opened my mind to a world of possibility, limited only by the blinders we were willing to put on our imagination.  Knight Foundation’s intent in supporting the New World Symphony’s John Cage festival and this website is to present Cage’s still-provocative ideas about what music is and what it can be, to current and future generations and, perhaps as importantly, how Cage’s structured free thinking might be applied to other fields of human endeavor.  With the documentation and presentation of this website, the world will have another the opportunity to learn about this artist and to engage with his work as never before.”

Visit the site.