Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for John Cage

Music History Monday: John Cage, we miss you

On August 12, 1992 – 27 years ago today – the American composer, inventor, philosopher, facilitator, agent provocateur, shaman, clown, and guru, John Cage died in New York City at the age of 79.

On Birthdays

Among the top pick-up lines of my generation was the irksome “what’s your sign?”. I myself never used the line because one, I was too embarrassed to do so and two, I never gave much credence to the whole astrology trip, even as an ice-breaker. If you ask me (which you didn’t, but then you are reading this post), our actual birthdates are much less significant than the dates on which we were conceived. Now please, I am not venturing into the social/religious/emotional minefield of “when” life begins (although I would invoke the joke that has a priest declare that life begins at conception, a reverend assert that life begins at birth, and a rabbi proclaim that “life begins when the kids go to college and the dog is DEAD!”). Rather, I’m merely pointing out that if the heavens truly affect our spirits and reproductive urges and fluids, then conception (and the physical activity that leads to such) seems much more likely to be affected by unseen gravitational tides than the rather more straightforward, contraction-dominated acts of labor and birth. I will gladly acknowledge the advantages of celebrating “birthdays” rather than “days of conception”. First (and we’re all adults here,… 

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