"I want to free my music from my memory and taste and from my likes and dislikes so that my music, instead of saying something that I have to say or expresses me, changes me. Instead of self-expression I'm involved in self-alteration." —John Cage <br /><br />
John Cage was one of the most influential composers in modern American music. He raised fundamental questions about the nature of music, and invigorated, provoked, and perplexed audiences throughout his long career. In this lecture from 1987, excerpts of "Music For" and "Thirty Pieces for Five Orchestras" are played and discussed in detail. Afterward, Cage takes questions and shares his thoughts on subjects ranging from the origins of his impulse to make music—"Many composers hear music before they write it, but I write music in order to hear it"—to using chance to create without ego or intention. He asks why we should listen to music instead of just listening to the sounds around us, and answers: "There's no reason."