New World Symphony out of its Cage with new online archive

By Lawrence Budmen

The New World Symphony, which is performing at Carnegie Hall tonight, has announced the launch of “Making the Right Choices: A John Cage Celebration” (nws.edu/JohnCage). The online archive devoted to the iconoclastic American avant-garde composer draws its material from the orchestra’s four-day festival in February, 2013 devoted to marking the 100th anniversary of Cage’s┬ábirth.

The website features videos of 12 performances during the festival and behind-the-scenes discussions featuring New World artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas, vocalist Joan La Barbara, pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, and soprano Jessye Norman, and features dancers from the New World School of the Arts in choreography by legendary modern dance innovator Merce Cunningham, Cage’s frequent collaborator. Interviews with Tilson Thomas and Laura Kuhn, executive director of the John Cage Trust are also on the site as well as links to artist biographies, program notes and information about Cage’s activity in poetry and the visual arts.

There are also 25 short videos of rehearsals and preparations for the festival. Among the video highlights are Cage’s The Seasons (1947), Dance/ 4 Orchestras (1982) featuring images of Cage’s drawings and instrumental score, Cheap Imitation (1969) with a portion of Cunningham’s original choreography (titled Second Hand) and She is Asleep, Part I (1943) with images from inside the instruments.

“The New World Symphony’s John Cage festival was an opportunity to stretch our imaginations to the fullest,” says Tilson Thomas. “The process of performing and interpreting his works has been a transformative experience for all of us who were involved.”

The festival and website are funded, in part, by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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Tue Apr 28, 2015
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