Summary and Info
John Cage, whose pieces dazzled and confounded audiences for six decades, hardly seems the easiest of subjects for the biographer, but this is a well-researched, coherent, quite readable account of the composer and his work. What comes across is a man who was ferociously driven to create music and to promote it to those who could most effectively advance it. Cage was an iconoclast, yet he developed relationships—often symbiotic—with some of the iconic artists of the past century, including Arnold Schoenberg, Jasper Johns, Marcel Duchamp, Buckminster Fuller, Pierre Boulez, Robert Rauschenberg, and longtime companion Merce Cunningham. What also comes across is a humanity and openness that served Cage well in his personal life and his work, personified in his advice to young percussion student Cunningham: “You were playing everything absolutely perfectly. Now go a little further and make a few mistakes.” --Alan MooresReview_"Begin Again is a much more nuanced picture of Cage’s personal life than has currently been available . . . What emerges most powerfully is Cage’s enormous capacity for work, together with his exceptional self-discipline as an artist and his willingness to approach every new challenge with a ‘beginner’s mind.’ For this alone it is a book worthy of being read by anyone, young or old, who is faced with the daunting task of a new creative beginning." —John Adams, The New York Times Book Review _"The life of Cage is meticulously told." —_The New Yorker _"Outstanding." —_Milwaukee Journal Sentinel_ "Arty connoisseurs might find the definitive John Cage biography, Begin Again, by Kenneth Silverman, thrilling." –James Hannaham, Village Voice, Holiday Gift Books for Any Kind of Troublesome Friend "Excellent, thoroughly researched . . . The first in-depth, detailed account of Cage's rich and colorful life . . . Silverman's prose is lively and occasionally mirrors Cage's own wit." --_Library Journal (starred review)_ “Since his death almost two decades ago, Cage's influence has increased to the point where he is now seen as one of the major creative spirits of his age. This marvelous biography brings into focus the many elusive facets of his music, and situates them against the background of his personal life and the seething cultural currents of the era.” —John Ashbery “Silverman’s artful narrative lays bare Cage’s compositional processes, aesthetic posturing and the cross-cultural philosophical underpinnings to his work with a clarity that musicologists and art historians have yet to achieve. Not just an exemplary biography, but a significant contribution to the cultural history of American music.”—_Kirkus,_ starred review “John Cage, whose pieces dazzled and confounded audiences for six decades, hardly seems the easiest of subjects for the biographer, but this is a well-researched, coherent, quite readable account of the composer and his work.” —Alan Moores, Booklist “John Cage, a master of musical modernism, meets Kenneth Silverman, a master of the biographical art. Cage, the most innovative composer of recent times, comes freshly alive in Kenneth Silverman’s magisterial biography. Silverman distills an astonishing amount of information in an engaging, fluid narrative that brings alive every facet of John Cage’s life—his loves, his friendships, his career, and his path-blazing experiments with sound. Cage expanded music, and Silverman considerably expands our knowledge of Cage by interweaving fascinating new details of his everyday life with insightful accounts of his musical maturation. A gripping, ceaselessly revelatory biography.” —David S. Reynolds, author of Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson and Walt Whitman’s America: A Cultural Biography.“_Begin Again_ is a glittering manifestation of the biographer’s craft. With impeccable aim and pitch-perfect tone, Kenneth Silverman has curated the crowded, cacophonous, frenetic and fractured details of modernist master John Cage’s life into a witty and sensuous literary exhibition. Readers will feel privileged to attend the gala opening of this cosmopolitan show—performance art between two covers!” —Neil Baldwin, author of Man Ray: American Artist_ _
More About the Author
Kenneth Silverman (born on February 5, 1936 in Manhattan, New York) is a professor emeritus of English at New York University and a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer.
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