Must-See: Vortex Percussion Ensemble Celebrates Cage/Cunningham Sunday at Ingram Hall



Vortex Percussion Ensemble Celebrates John Cage and Merce Cunningham
Where: Ingram Hall, Blair School of Music
When: 8 p.m. Sunday, April 1. (Festivities begin at 7 p.m. with The Cage Musicircusa; a pre-concert talk begins at 7:40.)

A hundred years after his birth, can we call John Cage an old master of new music? After all, the controversial and widely influential avant-garde composer was never one to shun paradox: "I have nothing to say and I am saying it" is just one of his charmingly gnomic conversation-starters.

At any rate, the Blair School of Music's Vortex Percussion Ensemble stages a Cage retrospective concert this weekend to celebrate both the composer's centenary and his 50-year partnership with modern dance legend Merce Cunningham. And in a terrific coup for the innovative student ensemble, the show's closing "MinEvent" will feature former members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, which disbanded last year after a farewell tour following the choreographer's death in 2009.

The evening should offer surprises for Cage fans and novices alike. "The impetus for this concert is to present the broadest Cage to the broadest audience," says Vortex director Michael Holland. "We hope to break some stereotypes of Cage as a shock-value artist or an anything-goes kind of guy."

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