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December 13, 2012

TMU celebrates the life and works of John Cage


TMUWith 10 years of traditional rhythms, experimental music and percussions theatre, the Temporal Mechanics Union, the percussion ensemble at Cowley College, presented a tribute to American avant-garde composer John Cage on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The concert was well attended by students and community members at large.

After their customary program of traditional rhythms, including a collection of dances from West Africa, the ensemble performed Cage's Rocks. The concert concluded with a tribute composition to Cage, entitled "Chance Structures," by TMU’s musical director Chris Mayer. This piece intertwined the two essential themes of Cage's works: the complexity of formal structure, and the uncertainty of his 'chance operations,’ random events within the parameters of instructions to the performers. The piece also featured recitation of passages of Cage's Silence, a collection of essays and lectures on the subject of experimental music, the creative process and musical aesthetics.

“I really hope that one or two people might have been inspired to join TMU after attending the performance,” Mayer said. “We're very happy to welcome all those who are in the Cowley community to join us. I would like to give special thanks to Laura Kuhn, the John Cage Professor of Art at Bard College and executive director of the John Cage Trust for making the score of Cage's Rocks available to us, as well as the Special Collections staff at the New York Public Library, who keep Cage's papers.”

The New York Public Library also has a web project called John Cage Live, showcasing performances of Cage's music. They have invited TMU to contribute videos to the project.

More information on the ensemble can be found at, or by calling 620-441-5229.

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