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Musicon Concert Series

from zerO

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of John Cage in ten thunderclaps


Wednesday 28th November until Sunday 2nd December 2012


Born exactly one hundred years ago, John Cage is considered the most controversial twentieth century American composer, poet, writer, visual artist, and music philosopher. His far-reaching influence was – and still is – felt beyond the realm of music and art. No other composer of the last century opened up so many new pathways, leaving us with a gigantic heritage. Most notably he stretched the concept of ‘music’ to everything that is sound, including its absence: silence. Not surprisingly his best-known composition is 4’33”, in which the performers do not produce any sound for the duration of four minutes and thirty-three seconds. However, the content of this work is not silence, but rather the sounds of the environment heard by the audience.

“I have unfulfilled projects. In particular, the thing I would like to do is make what I call the Thunder Piece, which is to record an actual thunderstorm and then use the thunderclaps of Finnigan’s Wake, sung by a chorus and electronically transformed. And then the orchestra would be the rain. [...] We don’t own ideas anymore, so no one can steal them. If someone gets the notion of doing Atlas Borealis and the Ten Thunderclaps, then I won’t have to do it, and so I publicize it as much as possible.”

MUSICON presents a five-day festival around John Cage, entitled from zerO, celebrating his 100th anniversary in ten performance events – rather than concerts – called thunderclaps. Among others, the festival features the complete Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano, performed by John Snijders. Mieko Kanno will play the devilishly difficult Freeman Etudes for solo violin, in an event that combines Cage’s legendary anecdotes with live filming. For the third time in a row, we welcome back the Ives Ensemble from Amsterdam, whose historically informed performance practice of Cage’s work will undoubtedly dazzle the audience.

The festival also presents music by others, such as Erik Satie, Cage’s favourite composer from the past, and Morton Feldman, who wrote a seventy-minute tribute for violin and piano, entitled For John Cage. The characteristic voice of Cage will come alive in a radiophonic play by Samuel Beckett, which is presented in a staged version with live actors.

The festival concludes on Sunday, December 2nd, with two of Cage’s masterly works scored for string quartet, in addition to Organ2/ASLSP, a piece for solo organ of indeterminate duration. ASLSP stands for ‘As SLow and aS Possible’, the principal performance instruction. The longest attempt of this work is currently underway, in the German city of Halberstadt: the performance started in 2001 and will end in the year 2640. The duration of the work on the final day of from zerO will limit itself between the length of an average thunderstorm and the life expectancy of a mayfly.


Thunderclap 1

Wednesday 28th November 2012

7:30pm Dunelm House, Fonteyn Ballroom, New Elvet

Programme:
John Cage
Variations IV

Sam Hayden, Tom Hall & Eric Egan – live electronics
In collaboration with Durham University Postgraduate Composition students


Thunderclap 2

Wednesday 28th November 2012

8:15pm Dunelm House, Fonteyn Ballroom, New Elvet

Programme:
John Cage
Sonatas and Interludes
[complete performance]

John Snijders – piano
Simone Tarsitani – live filming


Thunderclap 3

Thursday 29th November 2012

7:30pm Dunelm House, Fonteyn Ballroom, New Elvet

Programme:
Samuel Beckett & Richard Rijnvos
Radio I

John McKinnell – he
Judy McKinnell – she
Ives Ensemble – music
John Cage – voice

Richard Rijnvos – stage direction


Thunderclap 4

Thursday 29th November 2012

8:15pm Dunelm House, Fonteyn Ballroom, New Elvet

Programme:
John Cage
Freeman Etudes

Mieko Kanno – violin
John McKinnell – narrator
Simone Tarsitani – live filming


Thunderclap 5

Friday 30th November 2012

7:30pm University Music School, Palace Green

Programme:
Morton Feldman
For John Cage

Josje ter Haar – violin
John Snijders – piano


Thunderclap 6

Saturday 1st December 2012

7:30pm University Music School, Palace Green

Programme:
Erik Satie
Socrate

Lucy Schaufer – soprano
Mark Knoop – piano


Thunderclap 7

Saturday 1st December 2012

8:15pm University Music School, Palace Green

Programme:
John Cage
Music for Seven

Ives Ensemble
Lucy Schaufer – soprano
Mark Knoop – piano


Thunderclap 8

Sunday 2nd December 2012

3:00pm College Chapel of St Hild and St Bede

Programme:
John Cage
String Quartet in Four Parts

Ives Ensemble


Thunderclap 9

Sunday 2nd December 2012

3:30pm College Chapel of St Hild and St Bede

Programme:
John Cage
Organ2/ASLSP

John Snijders – organ


Thunderclap 10

Sunday 2nd December 2012

4:00pm College Chapel of St Hild and St Bede

Programme:
John Cage
Thirty Pieces for String Quartet

Ives Ensemble


Tickets sold per day: £10, Students £4, Under 18s £1

Special offer, buy tickets for all days: £40, Students £16, Under 18s £4

Box Office: Gala Theatre, Millennium Place, Durham

Tel: 0191 332 4041

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