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Avant-garde composer John Cage is focus of Convocation events at School of Music
Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Amplified Cactus
Above, Christopher Shultis plays an amplified cactus to perform John Cage's "Child of Tree." Below, Shultis.

Christopher Shultis at Yale

Writer, composer and scholar Christopher Shultis will give the talk,“After the Silence: John Cage, Chance and Change,” on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at  6 p.m., in Rosch Recital Hall at SUNY Fredonia.  His three-day visit to campus is part of the 2012-13 Convocation at SUNY Fredonia, which has been focusing on the theme, "Time for Change: Shifting Paradigms, Creating Possibilities."  

A percussionist, Shultis will give a concert on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 8 p.m. in Rosch Recital Hall, where he will perform (with amplified cactus) Cage’s works, “Child of Tree” and “Branches,” along with his own piece written in homage to Cage, “64 Statements."  Earlier in the week, Shultis will conduct an open coaching class and workshop on Monday, Oct. 15, at 5 p.m., in Rosch Recital Hall. 

John Cage 
(photo at left)

An influential American composer, music theorist, writer and artist whose inventive compositions and unorthodox ideas profoundly influenced mid-20th-century music, John Cage is the subject of a book by Shultis entitled, "Silencing The Sounded Self: John Cage and the American Experimental Tradition."  Cage experimented with and pushed the boundaries music, intent on creating what became called "chance music."

Cage used found objects and ambient sound, experimented with magnetic tape editing and splicing and used a variety of composing methods (including using the I Ching and star maps) to create compositions that were usually performed live instead of recorded. He became known outside the art world in the 1960s as an influence on pop art and rock music, and continued to lecture and compose until his death in 1992.

About Christopher Shultis:

Shultis was Regents' Professor of Music at the University of New Mexico, where he taught from 1980 to 2011. The recipient of two Fulbright Awards, his early musical life was as a performer, specifically a percussionist and conductor specializing in the interpretation of experimental music. 

Shultis’ activities as a scholar and creative artist continually draw upon his previous activities as a solo percussionist and conductor of the highly acclaimed UNM Percussion Ensemble. As Director of Percussion Studies at UNM from 1980-1996, Shultis worked closely with many composers including, among others, Ernst Krenek, Lou Harrison, Michael Colgrass and John Cage.


Christopher Shultis Schedule at SUNY Fredonia School of Music Oct. 15, 16, 17 

Monday, October 15

  • Open Rehearsal & Coaching with Christopher Shultis for "Concert of the music of John Cage:"  3 p.m., Mason 1080, Free

Tuesday, October 16

  • Convocation Lecture: Dr. Christopher Shultis ... "After the Silence: John Cage, Chance and Change:" 6 p.m., Rosch Recital Hall, Free

Wednesday, October 17

  • Open Rehearsal & Coaching with Christopher Shultis for "Concert of the music of John Cage:" 3 p.m., Mason 1080, Free
  • Convocation Guest Artist Recital: Concert of the music of John Cage: 8 p.m., Rosch Recital Hall, Free
    Guest percussionist and composer, Christopher Shultis with the Fredonia Percussion studio give a concert including a performance of Cage's "Child of Tree" "Branches," and Shultis' "64 Statements."

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