Robert Spano gives 'Lecture on Nothing' the silent treatment

John Cage's avant garde performance is almost Seinfeldian in its nothingness


“Structure without life is dead, life without structure is unseen.” — John Cage, "Lecture on Nothing"

“I am here and there is nothing to say,” begins John Cage's Lecture on Nothing, which was performed Friday night by Atlanta Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Spano at Emerson Concert Hall in Emory University's Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.

Born in 1912, John Cage was the most famous and influential composer of the American musical avant garde movement during the latter twentieth century, his ideas touching not only music, but philosophy, social theory, visual art and performance art. Cage died in 1992, but his work continues to influence younger generations. (Sonic Youth covered music by Cage on their 1999 album SYR4, and last December the Cage Against the Machine rendition of 4'33” hit No. 21 on the British pop singles charts.)

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