Tag Archives: John Cage

This Life in Music: Percussionist Amy Garapic

Percussionist Amy Garapic (photograph by Gordon Hayes)

Percussionist Amy Garapic (photograph by Gordon Hayes)

The picture I used to carry in my head of a percussionist was a guy (and it was always a guy) at the back of an orchestra, in partial view at best, standing around until it was his turn to ding on a triangle or beat a huge drum. Well, no more. These days, I picture a hugely talented and energetic woman, leaping from marimba to cymbals to car parts, to create a sonic phantasmagoria with skill and zeal. Her name is Amy Garapic, and I’m delighted to present her on Prufrock’s Dilemma. Continue reading

What Makes Music Great?

Composer Benjamin Britten

Composer Benjamin Britten

In London right now, a festival is going on that surveys twentieth century music and takes its theme and title from Alex Ross’s excellent book, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. Related to the festival, David Nice has written a fascinating post, The Rest is Tonal, which has spawned a lively discussion about, among many things, the “importance  of introducing new ideas” (innovation), on the one hand, and the “importance of expression,” on the other. I began by writing a comment on that post, but it became too long for that purpose, so what began as a comment there is now a post of its own here. Continue reading

Guest Post: Musical Stargazing with Nadia Ghent and John Cage

John Cage (b. September 5, 1912; d. August 12, 1992)

“We try to listen to the silence when we can.”—Nadia Ghent

Nadia Ghent is one of my 33,000+ classmates in a magnificent online “MOOC” called Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo). As it turns out, Ghent is also an accomplished violinist with a great story to tell. Continue reading