John Cage the Zen Musician

I have no idea how I heard that John Cage was coming to town but I worked in a music store, and I was in college music department, though I was still in high school. It was at Broward Community College, he was giving his talk for two days and solo performance. I had already read by 15 Silence and a Year by Monday so I knew his interest pretty well. The performance was fitting for a 15 yr. myself of group of students playing music with music toys, which he is not the type of guy that wants perfect the sound so by the second try said it was fine, then he lecturers on Norman O. Brown that he was greatly into, for about an hour. The next day he gave a short 15 minute piano recital himself and a very long performance of the I Ching chance operation of Thoreau journals which were his favourites, vocalizing it in ways that is chance operation of I Ching; not everyone would be able to get into. It was a real Zen performance by a music Zen Roshi, which to me he was. I guess there was no preparation for a symphonic or long piano recital that happened a few years later with the Florida Philharmonic when he already had passed away.  I sat next to Earl Brown another composer and they had his music and Martinu, Cage music, all the concerts were free paid by the city; there were not many people at all. The performance was incredible and there was an older lady outside and we started talking of Composers Recordings International (CRI) that we both had. I really wasn’t into popular music, unless it was influenced by Cage, and soon enough I came across many progressive rock groups into that like Soft Machine, Krautrock, etc. It was an incredible experience which is amazing because I don’t know how at this point got the information that he was there. It is fitting here that I post a violin work for that was his favorite instrument but said he said that he was too old to learn to play.  His music is Zen Japanese World Music inspired like his friend from the West Coast Lou Harrison so one needs to have appreciation for that!     


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