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Young Harris, GA (03/20/2024) — Young Harris College will bring the unique and ground-breaking work of American composer John Cage to life in the Susan B. Harris Chapel Thursday at 7 p.m.

John Cage, referred to as “not a composer but an inventor of genius,” by Viennese composer Arnold Schoenberg, was renowned for his approach to music, said Dr. Hayes Bunch, assistant professor of Music at Young Harris College and Director of Bands.

“Cage was an artistic revolutionary who embraced the young Indian musician Geeta Sarabhai’s formulation of music’s purpose: ‘to sober and quiet the mind, thus rendering it susceptible to divine influences.’ He believed in letting sounds just be sounds,” Bunch said.

Born in 1912, Cage is lauded as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He was a believer in the non-standard use of musical instruments and indeterminacy – a composing approach in which some aspects of a musical work are left open to chance or to the interpreter’s free choice. His best-known work is the 1952 composition 433, a piece performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing but be present for the duration specified by the title.

Bunch, who will be performing a selection of Cage’s work, quoted author Alex Ross: “His music required us to change our attitude about what constitutes music. In some cases, Cage largely thought his musical works should not be a means by which to communicate his intentions, but rather to shift responsibility from the composer to the performer and listener in how a work of art is consumed or created.”

The Chapel doors will open at 6:30 p.m. to the public, with the recital starting at 7.