John Cage (American, 1912-1992)

Cage was an avant-garde experimental composer based in Los Angeles. He attended Pomona College and University of California, Los Angeles before traveling throughout Europe. Cage worked with percussion groups and composed music for dance performances, including collaborating with dancer Merce Cunningham and artist Robert Rauschenburg at Black Mountain College. Inspired by avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp using everyday objects, Cage experimented with tape recorders, record players, radios, and prepared pianos, where objects like bolts, screws, and erasers were placed on or between the strings. Throughout his career, he believed in the randomness and the inherent value of all forms of sound, which would hold great influence with contemporary composers for decades to come.