Thurston Moore Honors Experimentalist Pioneer John Cage
("GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends" — a special all-star concert honoring The Recording Academy's 2016 Special Merit Awards recipients — will air Oct. 14 from 9–11:30 p.m. on PBS. John Cage, who received a 2016 Trustees Award from The Recording Academy, will be among the artists saluted.)
Like his father, John Cage was an inventor, a moniker he preferred to that of composer, and one bestowed upon him by his music composition and theory teacher Arnold Schoenberg. It was to Schoenberg, who had slight regard for his student as composer but considerable feelings for him as genius, whom Cage had promised to devote his life to music.
This promise of devotion to creative light and discipline is concurrent to Cage’s profound attraction to Buddhist philosophy. It is what defines him as the most significant pioneer in 20th century experimental music.
When Cage introduced the notion of nonhierarchical interdisciplinary performance in 1952 at Black Mountain College he not only created the first audacious "happening" event but also the liberation of the artist to employ his or her most organic means of "play" within the discipline of the score.
This unification of both academic and wild creativity is — alongside the writing ideologies of Jack Kerouac, Diane di Prima et al., abstract expressionist visual art of Franz Kline, Lee Krasner et al., modern dance of Cage's life partner Merce Cunningham, bebop jazz of Thelonious Monk, and the avant-garde jazz of Sun Ra and later John Coltrane — the true template for all that is radical and challenging in music and art today.
John Cage, Sept. 5, 1912 – Aug. 12, 1992, is an influence nonpareil for perpetual generations of music and language, inadvertently creating a blueprint for the spirit of rock and roll, a reflection of nature and the human condition in both rebelliousness and meditation, a music which moves where the spirit takes it.
(Thurston Moore is a co-founder of indie rock pioneers Sonic Youth, whose sound melded free-form noise experimentalism, post-punk avant-garde and no wave. Their 1999 album, SYR 4: Goodbye 20th Century, featured a cover of John Cage's "Six." Moore has released four solo albums, including 2014's The Best Day. He is a current member of Chelsea Light Moving, an alt-rock project referencing avant-garde artists and the 1960s counterculture movement.)