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Cage at Claremont: September 24-28, 2018

June 29, 2018

Tania Chen at piano

The Claremont Colleges Library (TCCL) presents a concert of renowned composer John Cage. John Cage attended Pomona College from 1928 to 1930, and The Claremont Colleges have many connections to his groundbreaking art and music. In light of these connections, The Claremont Colleges Library presents a week of “Cage at Claremont” celebrations, including panels/lectures, artists’ workshops, and master classes.

The culminating event of the week will be a new performance of Cage’s Electronic Music for Piano. Performers Gino Robair, Thurston Moore, David Toop and Jon Leidecker create this 60-plus minute piece that contains all elements of what Cage envisioned with his work—the artist using technology to keep a piece of art current, revealing and astounding.

Tickets are now available for the 9/28 concert! Reserve your tickets here.

Sponsored by the Pomona College Art History Department.

When: Monday 9/24, 4:15 p.m.

Where: Founders Room, Claremont Colleges Library

Description: Bill Alves (Professor of Music, Harvey Mudd), Kevin Dettmar (Director of the Pomona College Humanities Studio) and Kay Larson (filmmaker and Pomona alumna) discuss John Cage’s time at the Claremont Colleges and the Claremont connection to his work.

Light refreshments will be provided.

When: Tuesday 9/25, 6-10 p.m.

Where: Founders Room, Claremont Colleges Library

Description: Students will create their own performance of John Cage’s FOUR6, including instrument building and working with Cage’s timeframe notation, under the guidance of producer Gino Robair.

Dinner will be provided.

Sponsored by the Pomona College Humanities Studio.

When: Wednesday 9/26, 4:15 p.m.

Where: Founders Room, Claremont Colleges Library

Speaker: John Thomason (Research Editor at The Intercept; Pomona ’12)

Description: John Cage may never have completed 4’33” if not for the confluence of intellectual and artistic currents he encountered as a summer instructor at North Carolina’s Black Mountain College in 1948 and 1952. In particular, Cage’s encounter with Robert Rauschenberg’s White Paintings, he claimed, gave him “the courage to take the path, come what may.” This talk explores these encounters, focusing on Cage’s complicated relationship with Josef Albers, the rector of the College at the time of Cage’s arrival.  

Light refreshments will be provided.

When: Wednesday 9/26, 7-9 p.m.

Where: The Hive

Speaker: Kay Larson

Description: “I Have Nothing to Say and I am Saying It: A Performance” : A two-hour interlude in which a performance will be created from texts extracted from John Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing,” 1952. To make this event we will use the instructions Cage gave his friends when he invited them to perform in the dining hall of Black Mountain College in 1952 — the debut of Theater Piece No. 1,now universally called the first “happening.”

Dinner will be provided.

Sponsored by DH@CC (Digital Humanities at The Claremont Colleges).

When: Thursday 9/27, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Where: Founders Room, Claremont Colleges Library

Speaker: Jon Leidecker (aka Wobbly)

Description: In the 1950’s, dueling manifestos attempting to define the true potential of electronic music emerged from France’s GRM and Germany’s WDR Studios.  Within ten years, the manifestos insisting on pure ‘Concrète’ or ‘Elektronische’ approaches had given way to a flood of composers availing themselves of every available technique.  But if Louis and Bebe Barron’s liner notes for Forbidden Planet, describing their interest in cybernetics, feedback, and self-playing circuits had emerged in 1950 instead of 1976, it would have held up historically as a prescriptive statement of purpose for the next twenty years of compositions investigating feedback as the defining idiomatic voice of the new medium, and the central organizing principle for a live performance method.  This lecture traces commonalities in the works of the Barrons, Vladimir Ussachevsky, David Tudor, and the members of the Sonic Arts Union:  Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, David Behrman and Gordon Mumma, before flying across the Atlantic to include the work of Eliane Raidgue, Jaap Vink and Roland Kayn.

When: Thursday 9/27, 4:15 p.m.

Where: Lyman Hall, Thatcher Music Building, Pomona College


Gino Robair leads this workshop, open to all who want to explore spontaneity and improvisation as an artistic practice. Bring instruments and/or sound making objects (phones, pots and pans, sticks, etc).

When: Friday 9/28, 11:30 a.m.

Where: Keck Classroom, Claremont Colleges Library


Producers Cheryl Pawelski (Omnivore Recordings) and Gino Robair will discuss the current state of record producing and sales, with an emphasis on licensing.

Co-sponsored by Pomona College Music Department.

When: Friday 9/28, 8 p.m. Pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m.

Where: Bridges Hall of Music, Pomona College

Performers Tania Chen, Thurston Moore, Jon Leidecker, and David Toop perform John Cage’s “Electronic Music for Piano.”

Pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. Reception to follow.

Full details available on the Pomona Music website.

Tickets are now available for the 9/28 concert! Reserve your tickets here.


FMI: Rebecca Lubas |