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Getting Nowhere: celebrating the centenary of John Cage

Posted on 6 November 2012

‘Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.’ John Cage (1912-92)

John Cage

Noted for his silent piece 4’ 33’’ and emptying the contents of his toolbox into his piano, American composer John Cage is one of the most distinctive figures in 20th century music.

His compositions are as striking now as when they were first performed, and they continue to both divide opinion and influence modern day artists in all media.

To celebrate Cage’s centenary, students and staff in the Department of Music at the University of York have organised an international festival Getting Nowhere, which starts next week.

The event, which runs from 14-17 November, is based in York and is the largest of its kind in the UK. It includes public performances of his music and that of his collaborators and contemporaries as well as conference sessions led by international performers and academics.

The concerts will be given by music students at the University under the guidance of leading Cage authority, Professor William Brooks of the Department of Music, who says:  "I've spent much of my life thinking about—and actually working with—John Cage, and this is a wonderful opportunity to pass on whatever I can to a new generation of creative performers.”

The event will include papers and panels with performances of works by, or linked to, John Cage. The first night on Wednesday November 14 features a spectacular performance in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall of Concerto for Prepared Piano and Orchestra with soloist Nicky Losseff followed by music late into the evening.

Thursday November 15 features Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra followed by a complete performance of Song Books. It will be the first performance of its kind in the stunning Ron Cooke Hub on the University’s campus expansion at Heslington East

Pianist Nicky Losseff is joined by Gamelan Sekar Petak for Cage’s Concerto for Piano with Gamelan Orchestra on Friday November 16.  Saturday November 17 has a series of free performances all day in various locations around the city of York, including the Art Gallery.

To see a full list of events, please visit:

For concert bookings please contact the Box Office:  01904 322439; or online at

Notes to editors:

  • For more information about the Conference, please contact Professor William Brooks at

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153

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