The Music Of John Cage

Good Essays
John Cage lived a very interesting, non-traditional life that allowed him to form his outside of the box philosophy on music that questions the very definition of music. After exploring many different careers in the art world, he decided to compose music and through a winding, tumultuous road, he rose to the top of the classical music world. His life greatly influenced his music. His study of Buddhism and working with the choreographies of Merce Cunningham allowed Cage to discover the other side of music, silence. Cage and his philosophies not only changed music for the better but also changed the path that all types of art for the good; without Cage’s philosophy on silence, musicians and composers would be doing their jobs differently.…show more content…
Cage says that Schoenberg has had the biggest influence on his work. With Cage being very young, he had trouble paying for the lessons from Schoenberg, so Schoenberg cut a deal with Cage. He would tutor him for free as long as Cage promised to devote his life to music. This is why even forty years later, Cage was still drafting compositions, he was so grateful for Schoenberg’s generosity that he did not want to break the promise. After studying under Schoenberg for 2 years, Cage met Xenia Kashevaroff and married her. She was a dancer and they moved to Hollywood where Cage choreographed music for his wife’s dance routines. During this time, Cage began using irregular instruments. After teaching at UCLA and other colleges, Cage left to go to Seattle, Washington, and become a composer.
In the 1940s, Cage and Xenia moved to New York and stayed with good friends, but after a falling out, Cage was left homeless without any money, even after he just had his most successful concert yet. After the rough patch in the 40s, Cage’s life started to come together after a few of Cage’s compositions became very successful in the 1950s. In 1952, Cage composed what is perceived as his most famous work 4’33”, a composition that lasts four minutes and thirty-three seconds where the musicians do not play their instruments, but the sound comes from the audience. For example, if an audience
Get Access