a pictureOn Silence is a project conceived, produced and performed by Juraj Kojs to celebrate the centennial of John Cage (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992). The project consists of 13 new commissioned compositions, each 4 minutes and 33 seconds long. The duration references Cage’s infamous 1952 opus with the title 4'33", which was premiered by David Tudor sitting at the instrument for the assigned time, occasionally turning score pages and performing nothing.

Thirteen young and up-and-coming composers from the US, Europe, South America and Japan were invited to reflect on what John Cage means in their creative life. They were asked to compose a work with duration of 4 minutes and 33 seconds, drawing sources from grand piano, software and hardware technologies, everyday objects and musical toys.

The commissioned composers are Christopher Cerrone (USA), Natacha Diels (USA), Kasia Glowicka (Poland), Andrew Greenwald (USA), Adrian Knight (Sweden), Juraj Kojs (Slovakia/USA), Jessie Marino (USA), Paula Matthusen (USA), Chikashi Miyama (Japan), Spencer Topel (USA), Chester Udell (USA), Jorge Variego (Argentina) and Henry Vega (Venezuela/USA).


(Click on individual items to unfold details.)

1. John Cage: 4'33"
"The most famous event in the history of the Maverick series occurred in the late evening of August 29, 1952: the premiere of John Cage's 4'33". Pianist David Tudor set down at the piano on the small raised wooden stage, closed the keyboard lid over the keys, and looked at the stopwatch. Twice in the next four minutes he raised the lid up and lowered it again, careful to make no audible sound, although at the same time he was turning pages of the music, which were devoid of notes. After four minutes and thirty-three seconds had passed, Tudor rose to receive applause-- and thus was premiered one of the most controversial, inspiring, surprising, infamous, perplexing, and influential musical works since Igor Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps." (from K. Gann (2011). No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage's 4'33". Yale University Press, pp. 2-3)
2. Christopher Cerrone: Harriman for amplified piano and electronics

a picture  John Cage's music is about borrowing. Harriman is based on a field recording that I took in August 2011 in Harriman State Park. The struck sounds are imitations of a lovely tune that my friend Adrian Knight brought to me one day and extracted on a piece that we borrowed together. The drones in the electronics are themselves filtering I did of the field recording.

Christopher Cerrone, hailed as “a rising star” (The New Yorker) and “dangerously talented” (The New Haven Advocate), composes intricate and evocative works that range from ambient electronics to fully staged operas. His music has been described as “skillful and economical,” and “the program’s highlight” by the New York Times. He has received awards from American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Jerome Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, ASCAP, and the American Music Center and recently named as part of NPR’s “100 Composers Under 40.” He studied at Yale and the Manhattan School of Music, and his works are published by Project Schott New York.

3. On Structure (Natacha Diels and Jessie Marino): fourminutesandthirtythreeseconds

a picturerecipe:
one tea kettle
one glockenspiel
six squelching, boofing and tinkling buttons
two tacky gloves
one metal orb
one ticking clock
steep until clear, stir until graceful.

On Structure is a sound-centric performance duo featuring Jessie Marino and Natacha Diels. The
New York based ensemble uses improvised and composed

Sounds {and the fluctuation of these sounds} to brew
Transferable art pieces which may
Ravage the realms of the performer, audience or space itself.
Uncovering the hidden motion of sound, freeing
Compositions from the fluorescence of the concert expectation.
Unable to
Relate to
Earth. {Saturnicentric}

4. Kasia Glowicka: 1, 43, 33, 43, 33, 43, 33, 43, 1 for piano, objects and electronics

a pictureCage's approach to music and art opened my ears for exploring psychology of listening. I thank him for that. Here is my tribute.

Kasia Glowicka's artistic output embraces musical media of every kind. Her works are distinguishable by their force of expression and colour. Her works have been premiered by renowned international ensembles and soloists such as Scottish Ensemble, Ensemble Recherche, Holland Symfonia, among many others. She graduated from the Wroclaw Academy of Music in Poland before pursuing postgraduate studies under Louis Andriessen. Her fervent belief in the new computer medium has taken her to Northern Ireland where she completed her PhD at the Sonic Arts Research Centre. Currently she is a freelance musician in the Netherlands and a lecturer of computer music at Royal Conservatory Brussels.

5. Andrew Greenwald: On Silence for piano, playback and dictaphones

a picture3 iterations;
9 "pitches" (27 nodes);
1 optimal golumb ruler (0 1 6 10 23 26 34 41 53 55);
2 aggregates:
4 Juraj.


a pictureAndrew Greenwald (born 1980, Queens N.Y) produces work which satisfies his fascination with the extremes of duration, density, texture, and their collective absence. His works have been performed throughout the United States, Canada, and recently in Europe. Andrew has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, the latter allowing him to pursue graduate composition studies first at Wesleyan University (working with advisor Alvin Lucier), and presently at Stanford University, as a Doctoral student working with Brian Ferneyhough.

6. Adrian Knight: Long Gone John for 4-channel electronic sounds

a picture "Where did you go, John? This one's in deep trouble."

Featuring the voice of Fay Wang.

Adrian Knight is a Swedish composer. He currently lives in New York. Since 2008, he operates “the smallest record label in the world,” Pink Pamphlet. His works are published by Pink Pamphlet and distributed exclusively by Project Schott New York and the Swedish Music Information Center. He is a member of Fylkingen and FST (Society of Swedish Composers). Recent activities include performances at Orchestra Hall (Minneapolis), Yale School of Drama (New Haven), Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Norberg Festival, Yale Cabaret, Littlefield (Brooklyn), Yale School of Music, Tenri (New York), Audiorama (Stockholm), Fylkingen (Stockholm), Billings Forge (Hartford), Roulette (New York), Mcguffey Art Center (Charlottesville), Schloss Gottesaue (Karlsruhe) and additional performances in Miami, Millerton, Danbury, New Haven and New York.

7. Juraj Kojs: There Is Nothing Lacking Where All Is Present for piano and electronics

a pictureImpregnated silence—imagine those actions—moving air particles—molding tangible—rendering—imagine that ephemeral physics—dance of an unspeaking ocean—reach in and manifest an iceberg—cracking & splashing inseparably—frozen melt of movement—cutting in the cold air—leaving thunder on your fingertips—frost in your ears—imagine—make it painful—make it beautiful—breeze the molecules—in eternal creation—still—imagine—what must be.

Juraj Kojs is a Slovakian composer, performer, multimedia artist, producer, researcher and educator residing in the US. His compositions received awards at Europe—A Sound Panorama, Miami New Times Best Off Award, Eastman Electroacoustic Composition and Performance Competition and the Digital Art Award. He received commissions from The Quiet Music Ensemble, Miami Light Project and Meet the Composer. Kojs is the director of Miami-based Foundation for Emerging Technologies and Arts (FETA). He is also currently a full time faculty in the Audio Production Department at Miami International University of Art and Design.

8. Paula Matthusen: let us say yes for pre-recorded voice and live electronics

a picturelet us say yes draws from John Cage's essay, "Where are we going? What are we doing?" The original text features four essays to be read or played back simultaneously. In "let us say yes," a number of people were surveyed to peruse the text as published in "Silence," and to select – either randomly or based on personal preference – lines to recite from each of the four texts. These selected lines are randomly selected for playback during performance, while the unselected lines are heard in the periphery. What emerges are a series of shifting textual topographies that result from the desire or refusal to respond to the questions proposed in the original title of Cage's essay.

Special thanks to Laura Kuhn, the John Cage Trust, and Wesleyan University Press for making use of this text possible. Many special thanks as well to the those who have participated in the recording of these essays: Liz Allbee, Jessica Best, Joanna Bourain, Jack Chelgren, Ismael R. Coleman, Ben Guilmette, Jessie Marino, Juraj Kojs, Liam Murphy, Rafael Romo Tavizon, Peter Stratis, Max Tfirn, Kelsey Vela, and John Welsh.

Paula Matthusen writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realizes sound installations. Her work often considers discrepancies in musical space--real, imagined, and remembered. Her music has been performed by Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), orchest de ereprijs, Ballett Frankfurt, Dither, Glass Farm Ensemble, Kathryn Woodard, James Moore, Jody Redhage, Todd Reynolds, Kathleen Supové, and Margaret Lancaster. Awards include a Fulbright Grant, two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers' Award, a Van Lier Fellowship, and the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Matthusen is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan University.

9. Chikashi Miyama: Radioscape for electronics

a pictureThis composition is an homage to Cage‘s Imaginary Landscape 5 (1952), which was composed in the same year as 4‘33“. As Cage employs 42 phonograph records in his work, this composition utilizes 42 sound samples randomly downloaded from the internet. These samples are often heavily and randomly processed by a software, programmed by the composer. In addition to them, various noise recorded from composer‘s radio are employed in this piece. In the beginning, these two kinds of sound materials, samples from the internet and noise from composer's radio, are alternately used. However, the relationship between them varies gradually as the piece unfolds.

Chikashi Miyama is a composer, video artist, interface designer, and performer. He received a MA from Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo, Japan, a Nachdiplom from Music academy of Basel, Switzerland, and a Ph.D from University at Buffalo, USA. He was recently selected as a recipient of the DAAD research grant and is currently working as a visiting artist/researcher at ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany. His compositions have received an ICMA student award, a second prize in SEAMUS commission competition, a special prize in Destellos Competition. His works and papers have been accepted by ICMC twelve times, by NIME four times, and selected by various international festivals in 18 countries.CD/DVD(2005/2011).

10. Spencer Topel: Discerning Silence for any instrument and live electronics

a pictureDiscerning Silence creates a dialogue between the live performance and ten prior performances of 4'33'' by people around the world by accurately matching sounds it "hears" in the live performance to the prior performances using Michael Casey's SoundSpotter. The aim is to create a sort of "entanglement" between different moments of time where this piece was experienced and documented.


a pictureSpencer Topel’s music recently appeared on concert programs in major venues including Orchestra Hall, Minnesota, Chiesa di Sana Caterina Treviso, Venice, Spaulding Hall, Hanover, Alice Tully and Weill concerthalls, New York, and In Tokyo City Opera Hall. Mr. Topel is a top prizewinner in composition competitions including the American Modern Ensemble, the Palmer Dixon Prize for Outstanding Composition at Juilliard and the Diploma di Merito at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, as well as awards and commissions from organizations such as ASCAP, BMI, and Cornell University. As an assistant professor at the Dartmouth College’s Digital Musics program, Mr. Topel engages in research on Music Information Retrieval, digital musicology, and teaches music composition and technology courses. Upcoming projects in 2011-2012 include a site-adaptive sound/visual installation at the DeCordova Museum in Boston with artist Soo Sunny Park and is a curator at the 2012 Sound and Music Computing Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

11. Chester Udell: Camera Obscura for objects and live electronics

a pictureIn homage to John Cage, this work engages with indeterminacy and spectrally "prepared" sonic objects. A performer chooses what he believes to be three interesting sounding objects and performs them based on the prescription of a single score. As an alternative look at Cage's prepared piano (where foreign objects inserted into piano strings serve as transforms for each string's spectrum), each object is "spectrally" prepared through the use of live impulse response filtering.

From the ancient cypress swamps of Wewahitchka, Chester Udell is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Florida in Music Composition with outside studies in Electrical  Engineering. He currently lives in St Augustine with his wife and two ferrets.
Some of his honors include: SEAMUS/ASCAP Student Commission Competition 2010 1st prize Prix Destellos 2011 Nominee, and Sound in Space Competition Finalist. His music can be heard on the SEAMUS and Summit record labels. His dissertation research focuses on creating new wireless sensor interfaces for gestural control of sound with conventional acoustic instruments.

12. Jorge Variego: At this very moment, not before not after for piano, pianist, audience and video

a pictureThe topic of the work is spontaneity and how it can be put to its limit in a performance setting. It is neither improvisation nor chance, just spontaneity to its pinnacle. Both the piano performer and the audience are presented with the score and directions through a video projected for the first time at the moment of the performance. Everyone will learn about the work at that very moment, not before, not after.

Jorge Variego is a composer and performer from Argentina who obtained his master's degree with double major in composition and clarinet performance from CMU and his PhD in music composition from UF. His music has been unanimously rejected from renowned institutions such as the BTW ensemble, the WTF orchestra and the LOL consort to name a few. However, his latest solo CD was never aired in the RBD, and the BSG contemporary music radio stations. Additionally, his research is hardly selected for publication and/or presentation. If you want to ignore or unlisten his work, please do not got to www.jorgevariego.com

13. Henry Vega: A Thousand Tones for electronics

a pictureA Thousand Tones is a tape piece played by noise and recorded by me. When I think about Cage, I think about failure and nature, and this relates to me and my ideas about organized sound and composed sound and instruments. What we hear in this piece is that approach but on a much lower level, which is where the machine expresses itself in a density of numbers. The music is noise used to trigger the elements of sound given only a few rules and conditions and letting it draw out changing patterns and rhythms that seem static but are in fact a dynamic system; something I visualize as a bored taping while waiting for the bus or the seemingly odd way branches divide out as they grow.

Henry Vega, born in New York City (1973), is an active composer and performer of new music whose works appear in productions of theatre, dance and concert music that focus solely on modern artistic trends. His music ranges from virtuosic instrumental writings to subtle colourful compositions orchestrating traditional instrumentations with the world of electronic sound. His current interests lie within theatrical settings of his music in combination with video in the space of minimal aesthetics that crosses simple harmonies over noisy counterpoints. Vega’s works have been performed at festivals and venues in Europe and the Americas often performing with his trio The Electronic Hammer and his electronic music theatre group The Spycollective. He has had the pleasure to write music for ensembles such as the MAE, VocaalLab, Ensemble Integrales and the Roentgen Connection.


March 2, 2012 premiere at Issue Project Room, NYC

March 25, 2012 at University of Miami, FL

March 27, 2012 at Wesleyan University, CT

June 25, 2012 at Galeria P. M. Bohuna, Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia

September 7, 2012 at PAX, Miami. John Cage: A Centennial Celebration Miami.

September 22, 2012 at Minsky Hall, University of Maine, ME

The program is supported by Foundation for Emerging Technologies and Arts and endorsed by Laura Kuhn and the John Cage Trust.