Concert To Commemorate Centenary of John Cage and Legacy of Glenn GouldThe Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble will host a concert on Saturday, Nov. 17, to commemorate the centenary of John Cage, godfather of America’s musical avant-garde, alongside the legacy of legendary Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.
“Cage/Gould”—which begins at 8 p.m. in the Theater of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC)—features compositions that span Cage’s career, interspersed with a partial re-enactment of Gould’s last performance, which he gave in 1964. Prior to the concert, philosopher Elie During will set the stage with a talk on “Cage/Gould: Several Silences,” at 5 p.m. in the EMPAC Theater.
“The world is abuzz with Cage centenary concerts, so we were happy to join in the celebration but with our own original twist,” said Michael Century, professor of new media and music in the Arts Department. “We even give the audience a chance to hear these two remarkable musical artists and thinkers converse with each other in a virtual dialogue.”
Century is serving as director of the concert in collaboration with Holland Hopson ’98, a former instructor. The performers include undergraduate and graduate students of the Institute, as well as Young Kim, head of piano at the College of Saint Rose, and veteran new music cellist David Gibson.
From Cage’s immense and varied oeuvre, Century has selected “Bacchanale,” the composer’s first piece for prepared piano (a piano altered by placing objects on the hammers or strings); “Inlets,” a sound piece produced by amplified water inside conch shells; “Litany for the Whale,” which Century described as an “elegiac vocal ritual;” and “Two(four),” a duo for piano and cello, and one of Cage’s final compositions.
“The world is abuzz with Cage centenary concerts, so we were happy to join in the celebration
Century said that Gould famously quit the concert stage in 1964, predicting with some foresight that music in the future would shift from live performance to new forms of recording and playback controlled by listeners themselves.