Jacaranda’s pre-season CAGE 100 Festival begins tonight to celebrate John Cage’s 100th birthday (Sept. 5, 1912) with an emphasis on his time as a young man composing and lecturing in Santa Monica.
Four concerts, supported in part by the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Department, will be held in four locations over four days.
Admission on Thursday and Saturday evenings is $25; the Satie marathon starting Friday and continuing Saturday, as well as the Sunday afternoon finale concert, are free.
Complete program with address, times and prices below.
“Cage & Friends,” Thursday, Sept. 6. First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica
A program of early percussion works and innovative piano music titled “Cage & Friends” — Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell, Conlon Nancarrow and James Tenney — will launch the festival. Cage’s “String Quartet in Four Parts,” and excerpts from “Some of the Harmony of Maine,” for organ with six assistants on organ stops, with related early American vocal music, completes the program. Performers will include the Lyris Quartet, pianist Mark Robson, organist and Jacaranda music director Mark Alan Hilt, four singers, and a percussion ensemble led by Ted Atkatz.
“Vexations,” Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m. through Saturday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m., performed and webcast live from Miles Playhouse
A complete performance of Satie’s 1893 “Vexations,” by 32 pianists (complete list below) and lasting more than 24 hours, starts Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. “This amazingly hypnotic experience will be created by thirty-two artists from some of the premiere performing arts organizations and finest academic institutions across Southern California,” said Hilt, who will also perform as “Vexations’” final pianist. Audience members are welcome to come and go during the work — a single page of music repeated 840 times — and are encouraged to bring cushions. Onsite seating will include chairs, cushions and two sofas.
“The Ten Thousand Things,” Saturday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club
Roughly one hour after the conclusion of “Vexations,” CAGE 100 will continue six blocks away, where Cage gave talks about contemporary art and premiered his earliest works at the Santa Monica Bay Women’s Club. Part I will include a presentation by Eric Smigel, an expert in maverick American composers, and a performance of Cage’s “Perilous Night” with Aron Kallay on prepared piano. During an extended intermission, the audience may observe Kallay execute another piano preparation with screws, washers, bits of plastic and pieces of rubber. Part II will mark the first performance of Cage’s “The Ten Thousand Things,” five solo works (1954-56) known by the length of time each takes to be performed simultaneously by: speaker John Schneider, double bassist Tom Peters, Vicki Ray and Kallay on prepared pianos.
Classic Cage,” Sunday, Sept. 9 at 4:30 p.m. Annenberg Community Beach House.Manhattan-based pianist Adam Tendler will conclude the festival with an hour-long performance from memory of the complete 20-piece “Sonatas & Interludes” (1948) for prepared piano. Tendler has performed the work, often cited as a masterpiece, in 12 states.
For more information and to purchase tickets to Jacaranda music’s CAGE 100 Festival, go to jacarandamusic.org.