No leading ensemble better embodies the fearless, trailblazing spirit of John Cage than So Percussion. In honor of Cage's centenary year, So Percussion is touring a program titled We Are All Going in Different Directions to Cambridge (MA), Toronto, and Austin, culminating in an appearance at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on Monday, March 26 (7:30 pm), as part of the American Mavericks series. Along with classic Cage scores like Credo in Us, Imaginary Landscape #1 with turntables, and Third Construction, We Are All Going in Different Directions features original compositions by the group, plus contributions by electronic artists Martin Schmidt of Matmos, Cenk Ergun, and Dan Deacon. Schmidt, Ergun, and violist Beth Meyers (janus trio and QQQ) will perform with the quartet.
Given Cage's use of indeterminacy in this program, every concert will be different. Fittingly, So Percussion is documenting these tour performances with a specially-packaged, limited-edition album, Cage 100: The Bootleg Series. Only 300 copies are being made. Each one includes a unique, handmade cover; a blank LP (in a nod to Cage's 4:33); a I Ching-inspired 64-minute CD sampler, with tracks chosen by chance operations; and a download card giving access to complete shows. Along with the hybrid physical product being created for The Bootleg Series, unique mixes of material from these concerts will be available as iTunes and eMusic Exclusives, also on March 27.
So Percussion consists of Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinksi, and Jason Treuting. Speaking for the group, Sliwinsky said, "John Cage's artistic legacy is formidable.
His innovations and accomplishments are truly staggering: He wrote some the first electric/acoustic hybrid music, the first significant body of percussion music, the first music for turntables, invented the prepared piano, and had a huge impact in the fields of dance, visual art, theater, and critical theory."
Somehow Cage's prolific output seems not to stifle, but rather to spur creativity in others. He certainly deserves surveys, tributes, and concert portraits during the centenary of his birth. But So Percussion wanted to do him honor by allowing his work and spirit to infuse our own.
"We have chosen some of our favorite Cage pieces to present on this celebration concert. We believe that although they are historical in fact, each is stunningly present and even prophetic. The pieces are woven in with new music: some by our close friends, and some of our own creation."
Tour dates for We Are All Going in Different Directions:
February 9: Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA
March 2: The Royal Conservatory, University of Toronto
March 6 + 7: The McCullough Theatre, University of Texas, Austin
March 26: Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall, NYC
In addition, So Percussion will perform Cage's Third Construction in programs at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee (Feb. 28), and Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin (March 10).
Note: The title We Are All Going in Different Directions is taken from Cage's introduction - written as a series of maxims - to his book Theme and Variations (1982).