RENGA:Cage:100 - a sneak peek
We have begun our final series of rehearsals on the 100-composer collaborative project that we are curating in honor of John Cage’s centenary. We will premiere RENGA:Cage:100 at the Museum of Modern Art on Thursday, August 9, with a preview performance taking place at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on Tuesday, August 7.
Each of our 100 composers has written 5-7 seconds of music, and we are stringing together all 100 composer contributions to create a single piece of music that our friend Jen Richards from eighth blackbird described here as “the first true musical expression of social media culture.” Not our original intention - but perhaps an appropriate tribute to a composer whose work seems as relevant, innovative, even topical today as it did 20, 30, 40…even 70 years ago (as is the case with his early percussion music).
It has been very interesting to see what composers choose to do with their 5-7 seconds. We asked composers to spend at least 100 seconds on their contributions to the project, but not more than 100 minutes. So hopefully the result is a sort of musical stream of consciousness from 100 very different minds, all of whom are creating music in our world today.
Some contributions look very much like (and in some cases are) an excerpt from a percussion piece with standard notation, such as this beautiful contribution we received from Paul Lansky:
Others have maintained certain temporal parameters of standard notation (time is represented as moving forward from left to right across the page) while abandoning other standard parameters, as in this contribution from Stephen Miles:
On the far end of the spectrum, certain RENGA contributions are a series of instructions written out as text, with little or no relationship to standard musical notation, such as this brilliant and very fun piece from Jay Alan Yim: