John Cage (1912-1992) was an American composer, philosopher, poet, music theorist, artist, printmaker and amateur mycologist. He is arguably the most influential composer of the mid-twentieth century. He dedicated himself to the search for new horizons in musical composition. His method of composition: an amalgam of chance operations, latitude in performace, the use of electronic sound and the inclusion of ambient noise. His aim: to increase the territory of his art and to celebrate the richness of life.
Silence is a collection of some of the essays and lectures that have made John Cage's name synonymous with all that is unpredictable and exciting in contemporary miusic. Outrageous they may be, but to anyone who is receptive to new ideas, to fresh and original ways of looking at and listening to things, they are a mine of fascinating discovery. And, as Cage fans will expect, the book also contains a wealth of handy information of collecting mushrooms, fishing through ice, as well as many anecdotes and Zen-type stories which illustrate Cage's exuberant artistic pre-occupations. For everywhere in this mighty explosion of ideas can be heard the still, small voice of the poet, telling with fervour his amazement at creation, when 'everything was given away'.
'A lecture by Cage is a musical event in itself, an encounter with Cage through these writings is an adventure.' Spectator