Southwest Chamber Music

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 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    
February 2, 2012                                                                                              626.685.4455
(Press contact)


2011-2012 Southwest Chamber Music

 Celebrates John Cage Centennial 


From the balcony
Southwest Chamber Music 



Los Angeles, CA - SOUTHWEST CHAMBER MUSIC continues its 25th anniversary season with Cage 2012, a festival celebrating the centennial of composer John Cage, March 3 through March 24 at various locations in Los Angeles and Pasadena. 


Southwest Chamber Music has performed and recorded the music of John Cage consistently throughout it's twenty-five year history. In its Cage Festival alone, begun in 2010, it has performed 31 works, three of which have been repeated with different instrumentations.  For the first time, the Festival has covered John Cage as a composer with three distinct periods of early, middle and late works, as has been done with other iconic classical composers such as Beethoven or Stravinsky. Throughout its history, Southwest Chamber Music has performed as much or more Cage as any other musical organization in the Los Angeles area.    


I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones. 

--John Cage 


Why do we celebrate Cage's centennial?  Perhaps because Cage's music embodies a study in contrasts and a spirit of inclusiveness that is endemic to the American cultural landscape. Or perhaps it's his penchant for quoting Thoreau and Emerson or his emphasis on American individualism and ingenuity that makes celebrating Cage a celebration of our American heritage. But most of all, we celebrate Cage for his provocative masterpieces and as a lasting influence on the music of our time.


His music can be performed by trained musicians and amateurs; it is facile and impossible; there is activity and inactivity; technology and primitivism; solos and ensembles; teachers and students; order and chaos; sound and silence. Cage 2012 highlights these contrasts into a compelling and important portrait of a master composer.

 Concert Information and Listing 


Southwest Chamber Music 2011-2012 25th Anniversary Season


Tickets: $38 general admission, $28 seniors over 65, and $10 students with full-time ID

For tickets or information: 1.800.726.7147 or  


CAGE 2012

John Cage color
John Cage

Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 4 at 5 p.m. 




With Shalini Vijayan, violin and audio-kinetic sound sculptures by Mineko Grimmer 

Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m. 

Atlas Eclipticalis

Variations IV

4'33" (no. 2) (0'00")

With the Southwest musicians and guests. 

Join us for a post-concert discussion and reception with the artists


Sunday, March 11 at 5 p.m.
Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena 


Music for Carillon No. 5 

Radio Music
Etudes Boreales I - IV
With Lynn Vartan, percussion and Peter Jacobson, cello

Saturday, March 24 at 8 p.m.
The Colburn School, Los Angeles  


Lecture on the Weather (with film)
Score (40 Drawings by Thoreau) & 23 Parts: Twelve Haiku followed by a Recording of the Dawn     at Stony Point, New York, August 6, 1974
With a cast of 12 speakers and 23 musicians



Location, Parking and Tickets


Concerts will take place at the following locations:

Japanese American National Museum , 369 East First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Art Center College of Design, 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, CA 91103
Pacific Asia Museum, 46 N. Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
The Colburn School, 200 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Parking is available adjacent to each of the above locations.


$38 General Admission, $28 Seniors over 65, and Student Rush tickets (with full-time ID) are available on the day of the concert for only $10.


For more information, 

or call 1-800-726-7147 
(please use this number in all published materials).

Background information: 

Concert 1:

The programs begin March 3 and 4 at the Japanese-American National Museum in Little Tokyo with a rare performance of One 6 and One 10 which Cage composed around two audio-kinetic sculptures by artist Mineko Grimmer designed as a duet with the violin, which will be performed by Southwest violinist Shalini Vijayan.  The performances are repeated at the museum on March 4.


Concert 2:

On March 10, in the Williamson Gallery at Art Center College of Design, Cage's Atlas Eclipticalis, Variations IV, and 4'33" (no. 2) (0'00") are performed together for the first time ever, though originally intended by Cage to be performed this way. Students from the Hamilton Academy of Music join musicians of Southwest for the concert. The three works represent various states of being: Nirvana (Atlas), Samsara (Variations IV), and Individual Action (0'0"), which is appropriate to the exhibit in the Gallery curated by Jay Belloli.   


The exhibit, "The History of Space Photography," premieres in the Williamson Gallery at Art Center College of Design Friday, February 24, 2012, where it will be on view through May 6.  The exhibition presents the extraordinary variety of astronomical photographs that have been created since the development of the photography in the early 19th century through some of the most recent images received from space.  The exhibition includes photographs of the Earth from space, the solar system, and the universe beyond.


Concert 3:

The Pacific Asia Museum hosts the concert on March 11 which focuses on Cage's use of percussion in many guises, and it is performed this evening by Southwest percussionist Lynn Vartan. In Branches the percussionist uses amplified pods, cacti and other plant materials and I-ching chance operations. Music for Carillon #5 is written on an old board, following the grain structure of the wood as music staff lines. 


Radio Music is a work composed using chance operations. The 8 parts indicate between 26 (part E) and 64 (parts C and G) different frequencies between 55 and 156 kHz, notated using numbers not conventional staves.  Lines indicate silences, "expressed by maximum amplitude." The number of silences varies between parts and are to be programmed by the player.


In Etudes Boreales I - IV, for cello and percussion, Cage used the star-charts of the Atlas Borealis to compose this work. In the cello part, pitch, duration, articulation, color and dynamics are notated precisely for every sound. The piano part is written for a percussionist. Peter Jacobson, cellist at Southwest, joins Vartan in this work.


The Pacific Asia Museum was once the Pasadena Art Museum where in 1965 John Cage was interviewed by David Tudor at the groundbreaking "Encounters Series," a collaboration of the Coleman Chamber Music Association, the museum, and CalTech from 1964 to 1973. 


Cage? score on music stand with percussion instruments
John Cage score
Photo: Shalini Vijayan

Concert 4:

The concert on March 24, in Zipper Concert Hall at The Colburn School, is a celebration of Henry David Thoreau, a major influence on Cage. The program consists of two works engaging Thoreau's words and drawings.  Lecture on the Weather (with film), was commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Company and composed in collaboration with a filmmaker and a recording engineer.  It is prefaced with an essay by Cage, read live, and followed by fragments of Thoreau's "Walden," his Journal, and "Lecture on Civil Disobediance," selected in chance operations.  It is to be performed, according to Cage, by 12 men, "preferably American men who have become Canadian citizens."


Helping make up the 12 men of "Lecture" will be Terrence Roberts, a member of the Little Rock 9 which de-segregated Central High School in Little Rock in 1954 during the Civil Rights Movement;  E. Randol Schoenberg, grandson of the composer Arnold Schoenberg; Michael Alexander, Executive Director of "Grand Performances" in Los Angeles; Thor Steingraber, Vice President of Programming for the Music Center; John Schneider, host of "Global Village" on KPFK-FM; and Charles Dillingham, former Managing Director of the Center Theater Group. 

Score (40 Drawings by Thoreau) & 23 Parts: Twelve Haiku followed by a Recording of the Dawn at Stony Point, New York, August 6, 1974 (full title), was composed by means of the Thoreau drawings upon twelve lines of music staves which serve as graphic notation for the musicians.  The drawings upon each line are arranged in the 5-7-5 structure of a Haiku poem, and each line is a Haiku.  Finally, the musicians stop and a tape of the dawn at Stony Point invites the world into the concert hall.  


The concert is performed with a cast of 12 guest speakers and 23 musicians.



Cage 2012 is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts American Masters program, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and E. Randol and Pamela Schoenberg.

And upcoming: 


The Colburn School, Los Angeles

May 9-24, 2012       

Dates and programs will be announced in March, 2012

The Southwest concert season concludes May 9 - 24 at The Colburn School with a festival of new works commissioned to celebrate the ensemble's 25th anniversary.

Programs will include world premieres of commissioned works by

Unsuk Chin (Homage to Gyorgy Ligeti), Anne LeBaron, Vu Nhat Tan (The Song of Napalm), Hyo-shin Na (Morning Study), Gabriela Ortiz (De animos y quebrantos) and others to be announced. National and international co-commissioners include the Nieuw Ensemble in Amsterdam, the Tanglewood Music Center of the Boston Symphony, members of the New York Philharmonic, FONCA in Mexico City, and the Vietnam National Academy of Music in Hanoi, Vietnam. The final schedule and programs will be announced in March 2012.


Commissions for the 25th Anniversary of Southwest Chamber Music are supported by the James Irvine Foundation, Meet the Composer, Sue Bienkowski and Wang Chung Lee, and the Schoenberg Family Charitable Foundation.



 L to R: Vu Nhat Tan, Unsuk Chin, Anne LeBaron, Hyo-shin Na, Gabriela Ortiz 


Huntington Group Photo compressedPerformers for the 2011-2012 25th Anniversary Season include: Alison Bjorkedal, harp; Jim Foschia, clarinet; Lorenz Gamma, violin; Peter Jacobson, cello; Larry Kaplan, flute; Tom Peters, double bass; Ming Tsu, piano; Lynn Vartan, percussion; Shalini Vijayan, violin; Jeff von der Schmidt, conductor. 

For biographies on the performers, please visit
Southwest Chamber Music

638 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 201

Pasadena, CA 91101-2006