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All Things Cage: Laura Kuhn Talks with Ken Tabachnick

May 25, 2024: 7pm - 8pm
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All Things Cage: Laura Kuhn Talks with Ken Tabachnick Broadcast Image

All Things Cage: Laura Kuhn Talks with Ken Tabachnick Broadcast Image. Courtesy the John Cage Trust.

Hosted by Laura Kuhn, Executive Director of the John Cage Trust.

Laura Kuhn talks with Ken Tabachnick, who is currently the Executive Director of the Merce Cunningham Trust, where he oversees all operations and long-term planning. Prior to that, he worked as a consultant on strategic planning and other organizational matters, independently and as a Senior Associate at AEA Consulting. From 2013-2016, he was Deputy Dean at the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU and prior to joining Tisch, he was the first Dean of the School of the Arts at Purchase College, where he oversaw the arts Conservatories and served on the Performing Arts Center Renovation Committee. Before joining academia, Ken was the General Manager for New York City Ballet (NYCB), where, in addition to overseeing administrative aspects of operations, he supervised the renovation of the David H. Koch Theater.

Ken began his career as a lighting designer working with clients such as the Bolshoi Ballet, Kirov Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, Trisha Brown Company, Live from Lincoln Center, Robert Wilson, Susan Marshall, and Karole Armitage, among others. He was awarded a Bessie Award for excellence in lighting design for his work with Stephen Petronio, with whom he has collaborated for more than 30 years. Ken earned his J. D. from Fordham Law School in 1996. From 1997-2004 he maintained a solo practice in New York City and also served as general counsel for Rising Tide Studios, a publishing and conference company focused on the internet and related industries.

We listen at the close of tonight’s program to the entirety of the music heard with Summerspace – Morton Feldman’s Ixion (1958), in its version for two pianos, performed by David Tudor and John Cage. This work is contained on the New World Records 10-CD box set from 2004, Music for Merce (1952-2009).

"All Things Cage" is a weekly program featuring conversations between Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust, and Cage experts and enthusiasts from around the world. If you’d like to propose a guest or a topic for a future program, write directly to Laura at lkuhn@johncage.org. She’d love to hear from you.

The late Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Kenneth Silverman once described his Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage (Knopf, 2012) as the hardest book he’d ever written. This was because, as he put it, pick up any rock and there’s John Cage! Indeed, Cage was not only a world-renowned composer, numbering among his compositions the still notoriously tacet 4’33”, but a ground-breaking poet, a philosopher, a chess master who studied with Marcel Duchamp, a macrobiotic chef, a devotee of Zen Buddhism, a prolific visual artist, and an avid and pioneering mycologist. He was also life partner to the celebrated American choreographer, Merce Cunningham, for nearly half a century, and thus well known in the world of modern dance.

No wonder, then, that nearly everyone who encounters the man or his life’s work has something interesting to say about John Cage!

  • Thurne Mill / Bill Vine
  • Hazy Shade of Winter / The Bangles
  • Ixion / David Tudor, John Cage