John Cage Continues to Influence

The works of John Cage, zen master of the musical avant-garde, inventor of the prepared piano, chance operator, mushroom hunter, macrobiotic chef, and arguably the most influential composer of the 20th Century continue their blissful roaratorio into the 21st century. Gustavo Matamoros, curator of the 19th Annual South Miami-based Subtropics Experimental Music & Sound Arts Festival, has assembled a massive and impressive festival and mini-retrospective of Cage's work in conjunction with Merce in Miami, a two-week celebration of the 50-year collaboration between John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. The festival explores Cage's enduring influence in the field of dance, his central presence in the 'New York School' of experimental music and his involvement in the 'happenings' of the Fluxus and Intermedia movements. A number of brilliant performers and composers are lined up for this festival, including Christian Wolff, Joan La Barbara, Takehisa Kosugi, David Behrman, bassist Robert Black, percussionist Jan Williams, and composer John King. In addition to new works from South Florida-based composers, pianists Helena Bugallo and Amy Williams will play 4-hand transcriptions of Conlon Nancarrow's massively polyrhythmic player piano etudes and 36 pianists will perform Erik Satie's legendary 18 hour hypnosis inducing 'Vexations.' As if that wasn't enough, original Fluxus members Larry Miller and Alison Knowles will headline the festival's Flux Fair on the sands of Miami Beach, featuring Miller's 'Flux Olympics' and Nam June Paik's 'A Piano Oddyssey (a trojan horse)' in which a piano will be pushed straight out to sea. - Zach Layton