John Cage

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John Cage at the Cabrillo Music Festival, 1977, photographed by Betty Freeman.
Born September 5, 1912(1912-09-05)
Los Angeles, United States
Died August 12, 1992(1992-08-12) (aged 79)
New York City, United States
Web UbuWeb Sound, Aaaaarg, Wikipedia, Open Library,

John Milton Cage, Jr. (1912–1992) was an American composer, music theorist, writer, and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde.


  • On Ubuweb
  • How to Get Started, Slought and the John Cage Trust, 2010. CD with booklet. 67 min, 19 pp. [1]



  • Silence: Lectures and Writings, Wesleyan University Press, 1961, 276 pp, Log, ARG, IA; 50th anniv.ed., Wesleyan, 2011, PDF.
    • Silence. Vortrag über nichts, Vortrag über etwas, 45' für einen Sprecher, ed. Helmut Heißenbüttel, trans. Ernst Jandl, Neuwied: Luchterhand, 1969, 92 pp. (German)
    • A csend: válogatott írások, ed. Wilheim András, trans. Weber Kata, Pécs: Jelenkor, 1994, 207 pp. (Hungarian)
    • Sairensu [サイレンス], trans. Toshie Kakinuma (柿沼敏), Tokyo: Suiseisha (水声社), 1996, 456 pp. (Japanese)
    • Silencio: conferencias y escritos, trans. Pilar Pedraza, afterw. Juan Hidalgo, Madrid: Árdora, 2002, xii+288 pp. (Spanish)
    • Silence: přednášky a texty, trans. Jaroslav Šťastný, Radoslav Tejkal and Matěj Kratochvíl, Prague: Tranzit, 2010, xii+279 pp. (Czech)
    • Tishina: lektsii i stati [Тишина: лекции и статьи], trans. Grigorij Durnovo et al., Vologda: Poligraf-Kniga, 2012, 381 pp. (Russian)
    • Chen mo: Wu shi zhou nian ji nian ban [沉默: 五十周年纪念版], trans. Jingying Li, Gui lin: Li jiang chu ban she, 2013, 386 pp. (Chinese)
    • 사일런스: 존 케이지의 강연과 글, trans. 나현영, Openhouse (오픈하우스), 2014, lv+335 pp. (Korean)
  • Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse), New York: Something Else Press, 1962, 14 pp; Part 3, New York: Something Else Press, 1967; new ed., eds. Joe Biel and Richard Kraft, Los Angeles: Siglio, 2015, 173 pp. Pt. 1 originally appeared in Joglars 3; pt. 2 in the Spring 1967 issue of Paris Review.
    • Dagbok: hur man ska förbättra världen: du kommer bara att göra saker och ting värre, trans. Ilmar Laaban, Stockholm: Hj. Sundströms Boktryckeri (Fylkingen bulletin, no. 1), 1966, xii pp. (Swedish)
  • A Year from Monday: New Lectures and Writings, Wesleyan University Press, 1969, Log, ARG, OL.
    • Del lunes en un año, trans. Isabel Fraire, México: Biblioteca era, 1974, 210 pp. (Spanish)
    • De segunda a um ano: novas conferencias e escritos, São Paulo: HUCITEC, 1985. (Brazilian Portuguese)
  • Notations, New York: Something Else Press, 1969, Log, ARG.
  • Song Books (Solos for Voice 3-92), 3 vols., New York: Henmar Press, 1970, Log.
  • M: Writings ’67-’72, Wesleyan University Press, 1973, 217 pp, Log, ARG.
  • Empty Words: Writings ’73-’78, Wesleyan University Press, 1979, 187 pp, Log, ARG.
  • X: Writings ’78-’82, Wesleyan University Press, 1983, 187 pp, Log, ARG.
  • I-VI, Harvard University Press, 1990, 452 pp. With 2 audio cassettes. [2]
  • Anarchy. New York City - January 1988, Wesleyan University Press, 2001, 81 pp, PDF.

Selected writings[edit]

  • John Cage: radovi/tekstovi 1939-1979: izbor, eds. Miša Savić and Filip Filipović, trans. Filip Filipović, Belgrade: Radionica SIC, 1981, xxvi+233 pp. (Serbo-Croatian)
  • Przeludnienie i sztuka, trans. Andrzej Sosnowski, Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2012, 81 pp. (Polish)
  • Jon kēji chosakusen [ジョン・ケージ著作選], ed. Konuma Jun'ichi, Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō, 2009, 207 pp. (Japanese)



  • Scores and Prints, New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1982, 6 pp, IA.


  • Pour les oiseaux: entretiens avec Daniel Charles, Paris: P. Belfond, 1976, 254 pp. (French)
    • For the Birds: John Cage in Conversation with Daniel Charles, eds. Tom Gora and John Cage, Boston: M. Boyars, and Semiotext(e), 1981, 239 pp, PDF. (English)
    • Jon kēji: kotoritachi no tameni [ジョン・ケージ : 小鳥たちのために], Tokyo: Seidosha, 1982, 270 pp. (Japanese)
    • Für die Vögel, trans. Birger Ollrogge, Berlin: Merve, 1984, 317 pp. (German)
  • Robin White, "John Cage", View 1:1, Oakland, CA: Crown Point, 1978, 16 pp, PDF.
  • Richard Kostelanetz, Conversing with Cage, Routledge, 1987; 2nd ed., 2003, Log.
  • Richard Kostelanetz, "His Own Music: Ur-Conversation with John Cage", Perspectives of New Music 25:1/2 (Winter-Summer 1987), pp 88-106, & 26:1 (Winter 1988), pp 26-49, ARG/1, ARG/2.
  • with Joan Retallack, Musicage: Cage Muses on Words, Art, Music, Wesleyan University Press, 1996, Log, ARG.
  • Peter Dickinson (ed.), CageTalk: Dialogues with and about John Cage, University of Rochester Press, 2006, Log, ARG.


  • The Selected Letters of John Cage, ed. Laura Kuhn, Wesleyan University Press, 2016, 674 pp, ARG. Review: Pearlman (Leonardo).
  • Love, Icebox: Letters from John Cage to Merce Cunningham, forew., comm. & afterw. Laura Kuhn, John Cage Trust, 2019, 144 pp. Review: Alford (NY Times).


  • John Cage: From Zero, dir. Andrew Culver and Frank Scheffer, 85 min, 1995, YouTube.
  • In The Ocean, dir. Frank Scheffer, 54 min, 2001, YouTube.
  • More


  • Barbara Rose, Not wanting to say anything about Marcel [1970], Milan: Galleria Schwarz, 1971, 4 pp, JPGs. (Italian)/(French)/(English)
  • Michael Nyman, Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond, New York: Schirmer Books, 1974, 154 pp; 2nd ed., foreword Brian Eno, Cambridge University Press, 1999, 196 pp, Log.
  • Milan Adamčiak, et al., Hommage à John Cage, ed. Jozef Cseres, Bratislava: Slovenský rozhlas & SNEH, 1992, [28] pp, PDF. Exh. catalogue. (Slovak)/(English)
  • James Pritchett, The Music of John Cage, Cambridge University Press, 1993, 223 pp, Introduction. [3] [4] Reviews: Haskins (1996), Bernstein (1996), Brooks (1997).
  • William Fetterman, John Cage's Theatre Pieces: Notations and Performances, Harwood Academic, 1996; Routledge, 2010, PDF.
  • David W. Bernstein, Christopher Hatch (eds.), Writings through John Cage's Music, Poetry, and Art, University of Chicago Press, 2001, 310 pp, PDF.
  • David W. Patterson (ed.), John Cage: Music, Philosophy, and Intention, 1933-1950, Routledge, 2002.
  • Hans-Friedrich Bormann, Verschwiegene Stille. John Cages performative Ästhetik, Munich: Fink, 2005, 272 pp, JPG, PDF. (German)
  • Carolyn Brown, Chance and Circumstance: Twenty Years with Cage and Cunningham, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007, ARG. Memoir.
  • The Anarchy of Silence: John Cage and Experimental Art, Barcelona: MACBA, 2009, 304 pp, PDFs. Texts by Yve-Alain Bois, Branden W. Joseph, Rebecca Y. Kim, Liz Kotz, James Pritchett, Julia Robinson. (English),(Spanish),(Catalan)
  • Kyle Gann, No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage's 4'33", Yale University Press, 2010, 272 pp, PDF. [5] [6] Reviews: Joseph (2010), Revill (2010), Saval (2010), Richardson (2010), Berret (2010), Lefresne (2011), Weagel (2011), Hirst (2011).
  • William Anastasi, The Cage Dialogues: A Memoir, ed. Aaron Levy, Philadelphia: Slought Books, 2011, 120 pp, PDF.
  • Peter Jaeger, John Cage and Buddhist Ecopoetics: John Cage and the Performance of Nature, Bloomsbury, 2013, EPUB.
  • Martin Iddon, New Music at Darmstadt: Nono, Stockhausen, Cage, and Boulez, Cambridge University Press, 2013, PDF.
  • David Grubbs, Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording, Duke University Press, 2014, 248 pp, ARG.
  • Branden Wayne Joseph, Experimentations: John Cage in Music, Art, and Architecture, Bloomsbury, 2016, 232 pp. [7]
  • Richard H. Brown, Through The Looking Glass: John Cage and Avant-Garde Film, Oxford University Press, 2019, 256 pp, PDF. [8]


  • David Revill, The Roaring Silence: John Cage, a Life, New York: Arcade, 1992, 375 pp; 2nd ed., rev., Skyhorse, 2014, 384 pp. [9] Reviews: Driver (1993), Brooks (1997).
  • David Nicholls, John Cage, University of Illinois Press, 2007, 144 pp. [10] Review: Perry (2008).
  • Kenneth Silverman, Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010, EPUB.
  • Rob Haskins, John Cage, London: Reaktion Books, 2012, 180 pp, ARG. [11] Reviews: Delaere (2013), Sealey (2013), Shultis (2014).
  • Kay Larson, Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists, Penguin, 2012, 474 pp. Review: Ratliff (2012).


  • At A John Cage Compendium, eds. Paul van Emmerik with Herbert Henck and András Wilheim: A-C, D-J, K-P, Q-Z.