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John Cage (1921–1990) By Bernstein, David W.

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM945-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 21 May 2024, from


A leading figure in the twentieth-century avant-garde, John Cage was a prolific composer, writer, and artist. His early works show Schoenberg’s influence in their use of a naive modification of the latter’s twelve-tone system. By the late 1930s Cage had begun to pursue his own compositional interests, embarking on a career as a musical innovator who, for fifty years, would send ‘shock waves’ throughout the music world. In ‘The Future of Music Credo’, a manifesto written in 1940, Cage declared that in the future the distinction between ‘noise’ and so-called ‘musical sounds’ would no longer exist.

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Citing this article:

Bernstein, David W.. John Cage (1921–1990). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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