John Cage at 100: "City Circus"

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On September 5, 2012, John Cage would have celebrated his 100th birthday. To commemorate the legendary composer's centennial, WNYC host John Schaefer presents 13 archival New Sounds episodes of Cage interviews, rare recordings and performances as well as his final radio interview. The series, John Cage: City Circus, streams Wednesdays this fall at 8 pm on Q2 Music.

Program Details:

*Check back each week between September 12 and December 5 for program descriptions, links to playlists and on-demand audio.

Wednesday, September 12: John Cage: City Circus I: Schaefer kicks off the 13-part series with a new episode featuring an archived performance by the composer himself as well as a 1991 in-studio recording of “In a Landscape,” by Margaret Leng-Tan. (September 5, 2012)

Wednesday, September 19: John Cage: City Circus II: Hear a 1977 performance of "Dream" by John Cage himself recorded live in Woodstock.  There's also a co-composition by Lou Harrison and John Cage, music by Henry Cowell, and more. (May 11, 1994)

Wednesday, September 26: John Cage: City Circus III: Features highlights from a 1982 performance at New York City's Symphony Space entitled "Wall to Wall Cage & Friends." The program also includes performances of Cage works by pianist Margaret Leng Tan and the Arditti String Quartet. (May 18, 1994)

Wednesday, October 3: John Cage: City Circus IV: On this episode, we hear selections from a double album of Cage tributes delivered by the composer's friends and colleagues, composer Laurie Anderson tells stories about Cage collaborator and lover, dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham, and pianist Margaret Len Tan offers an in-studio performance of Cage's Suite for Toy Piano. (May 25, 1994)

Wednesday, October 10: John Cage: City Circus V: Features excerpts from a live 1992 concert of Cage from Central Park Summerstage by Joan La Barbara, the Dutch ensemble The Barton Workshop performing the composer's "Music for Six," and a processed collage of Cage lectures and interviews by John Free. (June 6, 1994)

Wednesday, October 17: John Cage: City Circus VI: This episode focuses on the composer's fascination with Japanese culture and music. Hear a live WNYC recording of Cage's Japanese rock-garden inspired "Ryoanji" as well as a composition by Katsutoshi Nagasawa, a contemporary Japanese composer inspired by Cage's work. Also featured are a few arrangements that Cage made of Beatles songs, recorded by Aki Takahashi. (June 15, 1994)

Wednesday, October 17: John Cage: City Circus VII: Features Cage's final radio appearance from July 1992 as well as an in-studio performance by pianist Michael Torre. (June 22, 1994)
*This episode will stream immediately following the wrap-up of Q2 Music's live stream from the World Financial Center featuring Victoire/Vijay Iyer Trio.

Wednesday, October 31: John Cage: City Circus VIII: This episode features an archival WNYC performance of Cage performing "As It Were" live from the Kitchen in 1989, preceded by an interview with John Schaefer. Also featured: selections from pianist Joshua Pierce's performance of the composer's Sonatas & Interludes. (June 29, 1994)

Wednesday, November 7: John Cage: City Circus IX: Pianist Margaret Leng Tan offers a live studio performance of prepared piano music composed by Cage for a 1950 film about sculptor Alexander Calder. (July 6, 1994)

Wednesday, November 14: John Cage: City Circus X: Tonight's show features two Cage-inspired works: a live in-studio performance of a piece by Wendy Mae Chambers written in memory of the composer, and a choral work by Robert Moran set to letters Cage wrote to him. (July 13, 1994)

Wednesday, November 21: John Cage: City Circus XI: This episode draws from a day-long festival of John Cage recorded at Symphony Space. Among the featured works are Cage's "Credo in Us" for piano & percussion, along with a piece by David Borden based on the four letters of Cages name. (July 20, 1994)

Wednesday, November 28: John Cage: City Circus XII: Features John Cage's final concert performance, recorded by WNYC at Central Park Summerstage. Vocalist Joan La Barbara, pianist/percussionist Leonard Stein, and percussionist William Winant joined the composer for the world premiere of his work, Four6. (July 27, 1994)

Wednesday, December 5: John Cage: City Circus XIII: This final installment features works by John Cage for prepared piano along with recently composed pieces dedicated to the composer. (October 10, 2012)