All Things Cage: John Cage’s “Anarchy” (1988) (Audio)

Oct 29, 2022
Hosted by Laura Kuhn, Executive Director of the John Cage Trust.

Laura Kuhn presents a live recording of John Cage’s performance of his “Anarchy” (1988) on the final day of “John Cage at Wesleyan: A Festival/Symposium about John Cage’s Work and Influence,” organized by his friend and colleague, Neely Bruce. Cage’s lengthy text piece brought together writings by such individuals as Emma Goldman, Walt Whitman, Peter Kropotkin, Mario Malatesta, Michael Bakunin, Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, Norman O. Brown, and others, including bits of writings by Cage himself. Cage would go on to perform “Anarchy“ several more times that year, in fairly quick succession – at the North American New Music Festival at SUNY Buffalo on March 14, at a Meet the Composer/Mid-America Arts Alliance Program on April 28, at the 8th Almeida Festival of Contemporary Music and Performance in London on June 19, and finally at Cooper Union in New York City on Nov. 9. Anarchy would be published in book form nearly a decade after Cage’s death, in 2001, by Wesleyan University Press.

To follow suit with last week’s program, we begin this week’s program with a letter on the subject, this time one written by Cage himself to his young student Christian Wolf, dated Jan. 17, 1974. Cage was 61 years old at the time of its writing.