“Until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music.”


John Cage stands – in relation to American Arts in the second half of the Twentieth Century – as a uniquely productive and influential figure. He was, of course, primarily a composer, but his idiosyncratic diversity and daring as an artist led him into theater, writing, visual art, and cooking as well. He was an accomplished chess player and an admired mycologist. His thinking had a wide and pervasive impact, and not only within the arts. Though the American public has long recognized him as a challenging, an often disconcerting creator, the actual range of his musical work is less well known.

It is the aim of the John Cage Centennial Festival Washington, DC to offer a panoramic representation of Cage’s work. The music, of course, but also the visual art, the writing, and the theatrical dimensions. Our success in drawing such a distinguished list of participating institutions and performers into our Festival plans was, from the beginning, a strong indicator not only of the timeliness but also of the shared significance of such an undertaking. Cage’s work will be contextualized, to some degree, by musical (Schoenberg, Satie, Cowell) and artistic (Tobey, Graves, and Johns) influences. But center stage will belong to John himself.