Wednesday, October 21, 2009

John Cage Performance

Just received the following email from WDBX radio show host DaveX

John Cage Composition To Receive World Premiere Performance at SIUC

Southern Illinois resident and sound artist DaveX will perform the world premiere of "KNOBS" by John Cage this November 18, at 7:45 p.m., in the SIUC Student Center Auditorium. The performance will be part of "All Together Now," a three-day inter-arts event beginning the same evening.

"KNOBS," a 1971 composition by John Cage and former University of Illinois faculty member Lejaren Hiller; is a highly unique work scored for a recording of an earlier Cage/Hiller composition "HPSCHD" and stereo equipment. As was often the case with Cage's works, the score was generated through random means-- for "KNOBS," Cage and Hiller utilized the State University of New York at Buffalo's (then) state-of-the-art CDC-6400 mainframe, resulting in ten thousand unique and separate score printouts originally included in the LP release of "HPSCHD."

To date, none of these 10,000 scores have been publicly performed.

"After discovering an intact copy of the score in a used LP, I started trying to find out if it had ever been presented," DaveX said. "I was amazed to learn that it hadn't, especially after 38 years!"

"HPSCHD," a recording of which takes center stage in the performance of "KNOBS," is widely-acknowledged as one of Cage's most ambitious works. At its premiere performance in 1969 at the Assembly Hall of Urbana Campus, University of Illinois; "HPSCHD" featured seven harpsichordists, 208 computer-generated tapes, 52 projectors, 64 slide projectors with 6400 slides, 8 movie projectors with 40 movies, a 340 foot circular screen and several 11x40 foot rectangular screens. The performance lasted over five hours, with thousands of persons in attendance.

"These two composers were pioneers," DaveX said. "Cage introduced chance processes in composition, and Hiller helped create one of the first pieces of computer music. Hopefully, this performance will give Southern Illinois a nice introduction to them both."

"KNOBS" starts at 7:45 p.m., November 18, in the SIUC Student Center Auditorium. Admission is free.

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