Music Theater

“Theatre is obligatory eventually because it resembles life more closely than the other arts do, requiring for its appreciation the use of both eyes and ears, space and time.” – John Cage

Gordon Mumma performing in John Cage’s Musicircus; CageFest; Cowell Theater, San Francisco; October, 1989

About the Musicircus

Between 1989 and 1994, a series of Musicircus events were presented as part of the ongoing research of the history of avant-garde music theater. The Musicircus was conceived by John Cage as a collage of his works re-organized and remixed in space and time. Our first Musicircus took place at the Cowell Theater in San Francisco, as part of CageFest, with the composer in attendance. In 1992, the next Musicircus, intended for the composer’s 80th birthday, became a memorial concert for Cage who died just three weeks before. The first of three annual Cage Memorial Concerts were staged as an 8-hour performance marathon and walk-through installation including over 50 musicians, composers, performers and visual artists from the San Francisco Bay Area. These events embraced the wide range of John Cage’s prolific art, including musical, performance, text, visual and electronic media works.




Excerpts from CageFest, a performance of Musicircus by John Cage, directed by Randall Packer at the Cowell Theater in San Francisco as part of CageFest in October of 1989.  Performed by Judith Bettina, Rae Imamura, Gordon Mumma, Michael Orland, Evan Ziporyn, John Bischoff, Chris Brown, Tim Perkis, Richard Zvonar, Ramon Sender, Ken Atchley, Don Baker, William Winant, Chris Maher, Barney Jones, et al

Excerpt from the John Cage Memorial Concert by John Cage, directed by Randall Packer at the Conference Center, Fort Mason Center in San Francisco in 1992. Performers include John Bischoff and Mark Trayle.

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