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John Cage was born in Los Angeles in 1912. An experimental music composer, writer, and visual artist, Cage pioneered composition techniques in aleatory (chance) and electronic music. He attended Pomona College, the New School for Social Research, where he studied with Henry Cowell, and the Cornish School of the Arts. During his early studies, Cage took free lessons from Arnold Schoenberg, a professed idol. Years of working with found sound, noise, and unusual instruments brought Cage to his notorious 1952 piece 4'33", three movements performed without playing a single note.
During a rich career in composition and experimental writing, Cage taught at the Chicago School of Design, the New School, and Black Mountain College, where he collaborated regularly with choreographer Merce Cunningham. Among Cage's compositions are Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (1951), Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1958), Atlas Eclipticalis (1961), Musicircus (1967), Lecture on the Weather (1975), Hymns and Variations (1979), Roaratorio: An Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake (1979), and Litany for the Whale (1980). His published writing includes Silence (1961), A Year From Monday (1968), M (1973), Empty Words (1979), and X (1983). Cage died in New York City on August 12, 1992.