On the death of ... August 12, 1992

John Cage's death has got me remembering the past.  I would be
afraid to eat wild mushrooms. Does one have to be gay to be be a really
great American Composer? Maybe the time is over for really great American
Composers. I think we are maybe suffering from the same immersion in
potential that happens to all unsupported artists. Serge Tcherepnin called
me the afternoon of Cage's death and we had a long conversation about the
change that has come over the aesthetic of music. I think on the dark side
of all this  that possibly Cage enjoyed being the last real classical
music superstar. The "unaesthetic" cult of personality that rises around great
composers may be a thing of the past. It is our time to think clearly.
We all have strong senses of vison that we must use. It becomes clear that the
experimental edge of "modern" music is being absorbed by technical gimmicks,
concepts that are more important than the music that is produced, and trivial
cults of personality built around people who can raise funds and act like
moody artists. Cage was able to transcend all that, but it is his legacy
none the less. Serge was under the impression that the only real future
would be in collective work and cooperation between artists, colaboration.
I see his point, to a certain extent an individual's vision is too myopic
to encompass the large framework left by Cage. At the same time we are alone
in the world and it is the rare individual that helps another without some
long range payoff or career advantage. It is time for the new revolution
of ideas that return the mental and physical ecstacy that drives us to
listen and work so intensely to become a part of the large multicultural
world. This is the beauty we can find in the passing of this man come
icon that has just left his body. We are now the body of this work.