American Trailblazers: Cage's Sonatas and Interludes

Born of the classical tradition and laced with the spirit of the land of opportunity, these bold voices pushed sonic boundaries. John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes, perhaps his finest works for prepared piano, were born of American pragmatism. His ability to see the infinite possibilities of the sounds around him defined a new generation of composers and expanded the auditory world we live in today.

"Those who have an image of Cage as a kind of wild-man composer for whom 'anything goes' are often surprised by the Zen-like calm of most of his prepared piano music."

Kyle Gann - John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes

Gilles Vonsattel Prepares the Piano

Pianist Gilles Vonsattel talks through the process of preparing the piano for John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes.

Pianist Gilles Vonsattel

Watch "American Trailblazers" Live

Watch live November 7 at 7:30 PM ET

This New Milestones concert features Ruth Crawford's Diaphonic Suite No. 4, John Corigliano's The Food of Love, John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes, and Elliott Carter's Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello, and Harpsichord. Performed live by CMS Artists pianist Gilles Vonsattel, cellist Mihai Marica, flutist Tara Helen O'Connor, and oboist James Austin Smith. Watch live from anywhere in the world or watch on demand 72 hours following the performance.

Rather attend in person? Purchase tickets here.

Unwind with the Ultramodernists Playlist

On this playlist, an assortment of works on the April 1930 Carnegie Hall concert shown above, you can hear a mix of ultramodernist and Pan-American aesthetics—an eclectic combination of musical styles that was the cornerstone of this collective’s programming philosophy.

John Corigliano (2018)

(View more interviews with Corigliano and a specially curated playlist by the composer here.)