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Variations VIII

  • Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture 136 W 22nd St New York, NY, 10011 United States (map)

Composition and notation by John Cage (F '67)
Original performance with Merce Cunningham (F '67) & Keith McGary

Re-imagined and re-performed by
John Dombroski (A '13) & Ander Mikalson (A '12)
Thursday, December 18, 2014 // 7:30 PM
SkowheganNYC // 136 W. 22nd Street

Photo by Maria Baranova

An environment and experience rooted in being present with community, history and site—ingenuity and responsiveness are the name of the game at Skowhegan. When John Cage arrived at Skowhegan in 1967 as a Visiting Artist, he was ready to participate in the life on campus, yet unprepared to perform. After seeing posters announcing his performance on the drive into town, Cage composed Variations VIII in a single evening. Echoing the continually inventive energy of campus, Cage envisioned the piece as site-specific and centered on openness. Using only what is present as inspiration, instrument, and instruction—the piece is written to be adapted for each time and place it would be performed.


Photo by Maria Baranova

Alumni John Dombroski (A '13) and Ander Mikalson (A '12), using Cage's intentionally vague notation, will re-imagine the composition for Skowhegan’s new program space. Dombroski & Mikalson will, in a singular present, use the building and its contents as both the location and conduit for Cage's piece.

This event is produced in partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, on the occasion of Black Mountain Songs, which was co-commissioned by BAM and Brooklyn Youth Chorus for the 2014 Next Wave Festival.

Earlier Event: November 8
Chelsea Gallery Tour
Later Event: February 18
Staging Sex, Staging Self: Nadia Ayari