Blair McMillen‘s “Whatever Cage You Find Yourself In” program centers around Cage’s landmark 1948 prepared-piano piece, Sonatas and Interludes, and features optional live video processing.

Blair writes, “I have always been as intrigued by the PROCESS of preparing the piano as I have been in playing it.  I find that I get a terrific sense of satisfaction out of sharing the preparation process with other people.  Of course, this program stands on its own as a musical statement, as a singular event.  But when possible, I would very much like to hold a prepared-piano workshop before the concert, the day of or the day before, where attendees join in and help me prepare the piano for the performance.  Measuring distances, inserting pieces of plastic and rubber, screwing bolts and screws between specific strings. Workshop attendees can include almost anyone: concert-goers, music students, composers, people young and old, musicians and non-musicians alike.  This program is about the bizarre and beautiful sounds of the prepared piano.  And the not-insubstantial process of preparation.  And finally; sitting back, closing your eyes, and taking in what you’ve helped to create.”

The title of the program is taken from the John Cage quote: “Get yourself out of whatever cage you find yourself in.” A discussion about Cage, and a session preparing the piano with willing participants, is ideal but not mandatory.


Works to be performed on the “Whatever Cage You Find Yourself In” program include:

Cage, Sonatas and Interludes (1948)
Cage, 4’33 (1952)