It was August 12, 1992 when we learned that John Cage was no longer with us, dying in a New York hospital and narrowly missing the milestone of his 80th birthday.
At the time, it seemed like the end of an age of iconoclasm, of composers who proclaimed that music is whatever they proclaim it to be.
But as time passes, Cage’s ideas deepen and extend far beyond the coterie of the avant-garde. No living American composer has got where he or she is today without engaging with Cage in some shape or form. Any number of progressive rock and pop performers have read Cage.
And many soloists have been stunned by the sheer, transfixing beauty of his work for single instruments.
John Cage lives on in some places he least expected.
Here’s a stash of working musicians’ tributes.
photo (c) Betty Freeman/Lebrecht Music&Arts