"The Silences of John Cage" (Olin)

Kyle Gann

Over the course of his long life, silence meant many different things to John Cage: an act of cultural humility, a respite from corporate Muzak, a structural space to be filled by sounds, a religious observance, a release from the ego, an equivalent to Zen meditation, a communion with nature. This paper traces the evolution of the concept of silence through Cage's biography, with special reference to the complicated evolution of ideas that led to his famous noteless (but hardly silent) sonata 4'33"