Cage: Overpopulation and Art

Alerted by Renewable Music, I just finished listening to Cage’s lecture at Stanford, titled Overpopulation and Art, from 1992, just a few months before his death. It’s available to stream online here.

Cage’s lecture, characteristically witty and optimistically utopian, is underscored, somewhat belied by, a melancholy arising from the nearness, the graspability of such utopia and its simultaneous unattainability. Distance from a goal is rendered meaningful by, and is a function of, the ability to traverse that distance. Never has Utopia seemed so far.

It’s beautiful.


Speak Percussion in Melbourne this week

This week is a veritable feast of Speak Percussion goodness at the Melbourne Recital Centre Salon.

Tonight, there is the second performance of Graphic Music, featuring three works by sound-and-graphic artist Catherine Schieve. This will be performed by Speak regulars Eugene Ughetti and Matthias Schack-Arnott, along with Leah Scholes, Warren Burt and Catherine herself.

Further details to be had here:,1,1,1&EventID=942

The second event, this Saturday 6 June, is American Masters. This program, which sees the Speak core of Ughetti, Schack-Arnott and Peter Neville augmented by guests Greg Sully, Tim Phillips and Gary France, features a couple of twentieth century American classics, such as Steve Reich’s Music for pieces of wood and Elliott Carter’s Tintinnabulation, alongside the work of composers heard all-too-rarely in this country, such as Alvin Lucier and James Tenney:

John Cage Quartet tom-toms
James Tenney –  Pika-don (Australian Premiere) with electronics
Elliott Carter –  Tintinnabulation
Alvin Lucier –  Music for Snare Drum, Pure Wave Oscillator and One or More Reflective Surfaces (Australian Premiere)
Steve Reich –  Music for Pieces of Wood
Johanna Beyer –  March for 30 Percussion Instruments

Full details here:,1,1,1&EventID=945