John Cage Provoked but Undisturbed

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In this 1963 interview from the WNYC archives, composer John Cage clarifies the fundamental tenets of his music-making and demonstrates his legendary contemplative and unperturbed demeanor in the face of challenging and critical question by acclaimed music critic and host Jonathan Cott.

In this discussion, Cage slowly and deliberately lays out the development of his music, at times flustering the younger host. His bemused and cryptic answers color the interview with the stereotypical teacher-student back-and-forth; he also delivers a poignant comparison of his Piano Concerto versus that of his former teacher, Arnold Schoenberg.

Music heard in this interview includes Aria with Fontana Mix featuring vocalist Cathy Berberian.

From March 8-30, From the Archives streams weekdays at 7 AM and 8 PM on Q2 Music. For more information on American Mavericks, visit