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Program Information
All Things Cage
Weekly program featuring conversations between Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust, and Cage experts and enthusiasts from around the world.
Weekly Program
Weekly program featuring conversations between Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust, and Cage experts and enthusiasts from around the world.
 Wave Farm/WGXC 90.7-FM  Contact Contributor
Jan. 25, 2024, midnight
"All Things Cage" is a weekly program featuring conversations between Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust, and Cage experts and enthusiasts from around the world. If youd like to propose a guest or a topic for a future program, write directly to Laura at lkuhn@johncage.org.Laura Kuhn presents the first recording of John Cages Europera 5, preceded by her reading Recollections of the Premiere Performance by Yvar Mikhashoff. This recording of Europera 5 was produced by Brian Brandt and released on the Mode Records label as Mode 36 in 1995, with performers Yvar Mikhashoff, Martha Herr, Gary Burgess, Jan Williams, and Don Metz. Europera 5 is the last and most diminutive of Cages operas " preceded by Europeras 1 & 2 (1984-1987) and Europeras 3 & 4 (1991) " and was instigated by pianist Yvar Mikashoffs desire for a small, more practical and portable, and more easily performed work in the series, which had its premiere in Buffalo at the North American New Musical Festival on April 12, 1991.
Laura Kuhn writes, Tonights program continues with Part III, the conclusion of a Birthday Celebration Broadcast/Opera Mix created with and for the Great John Cage, which has been airing for the past two weeks on All Things Cage. This program was created in 1987, when Cage was in the throes of his work on Europeras 1 & 2 for the Frankfurt Oper on the occasion of the institution of its new director/conductor, Gary Bertini. The program runs three hours in its entirety, mostly taken up by the working process required to mix (and remix) opera snippets by turntable engineers working with recordings brought together in the studios of WKCR 89.9-FM, the radio station at Columbia University. The program is introduced by Sam Seliger, librarian/archivist for WKCR, and was originally broadcast live on WKCR in August of 1987. Cage used much of the occasion of this live broadcast to work with a small team of audio engineers, Bob Bielecki at the helm, which would ultimately constitute Truckera, a 3-minute tape of 101 layered fragments of European operas heard from time to time passing through the percussion section of the Europeras 1 & 2 orchestra. The host of the program is Brooke Wentz.

Europeras 1 & 2 occupied much of Cages time in the 1985-1987 window, and it was also the work that I spent the most of my own time on, having begun work with Cage in New York in 1985. Cage had assumed a Wagnerian role with this work " his first full-scale opera " handling virtually every aspect of its composition and creation, with help from Andrew Culver. The program is airing here at WGXC in three parts, each running roughly one hour: Part I aired on Dec. 30, Part II aired on Jan. 6, and the third and final Part III is airing tonight, Jan. 13.

Cage interspersed various readings and recorded performances throughout the live program being produced at WKCR: in Part I, he read synopses of the program notes that hed created for distribution to Europeras 1 & 2 audiences "chance-determined lines from extant opera programs that in their new configurations make no usual sense; in Part II, we heard a newly recorded performance of his Hymnkus (1986), performed by Matthew Kocmieroski and the New Performance Group; tonight, in Part III, we intermittently hear the broadcast tape (slightly truncated in its culmination), of his newly finished Essay (1987), short for Henry David Thoreaus Writings through the Essay: On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, which hed offered up for playback while the remixing process was underway. Cage describes this work in some detail at the close of last weeks program, so tonights listeners, if they missed it, might want to have a listen. The remainder of the program takes us through the final mixing (and remixing) process of the Truckera tracks, a component of Europeras 1 & 2 comprising 101 opera snippets that would be heard within the percussion section of the works small orchestra, which Cage likens to a truck passing by.

This has been a long, arduous, and fascinating process to witness, and I applaud listeners who have made it to the end. Enjoy!
The late Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Kenneth Silverman once described his "Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage" (Knopf, 2012) as the hardest book hed ever written. This was because, as he put it, pick up any rock and theres John Cage! Indeed, Cage was not only a world-renowned composer, numbering among his compositions the still notoriously tacet 433, but a ground-breaking poet, a philosopher, a chess master who studied with Marcel Duchamp, a macrobiotic chef, a devotee of Zen Buddhism, a prolific visual artist, and an avid and pioneering mycologist. He was also life partner to the celebrated American choreographer, Merce Cunningham, for nearly half a century, and thus well known in the world of modern dance. Episode 152. EVERGREEN

WKCR's “Birthday Broadcast”/Opera Mix for and with John Cage (1987), Part III (conclusion) Download Program Podcast
Weekly program featuring conversations between Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust, and Cage experts and enthusiasts from around the world.
01:00:23 1 Jan. 25, 2024
Produced for Wave Farm in the Hudson Valley in New York.
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