Charles Amirkhanian Collection ➔ John Cage in Conversation with Morton Feldman, Radio Happening 5 of 5

Digital Audio

Event Type
Other Finds
C Amirkhanian
Program Length
55 min
1967-10-25 | broadcast
| 1967-01-16 | created
John Cage and Morton Feldman recorded four open-ended conversations at the studios of radio station WBAI in New York. These meetings spanned six months between July 1966 and January 1967, and were produced as five "Radio Happenings". Both men were at transitional points in their music. Cage had completed “Variations V” in 1965 and “Variations VI” and “Variations VII” in 1966, and would publish "A Year from Monday" in 1967. Most of Feldman's important work was yet to come. These conversations between two old friends, relaxed, smoking, and throwing out ideas, are full of laughter and long ponderous silences. They form an incredible historical record of their concerns and preoccupation with making music, art, society, and politics of the moment.

In 1993 these conversations were transcribed and published as "Radio Happenings I-V" by Edition MusikTexte in Cologne, Germany, with a German translation and a preface by Christian Wolff. However, the printed page loses so much that can only be experienced by hearing these two speaking together again - even those long, meaningful silences.

Thanks to the Estate of Morton Feldman and the John Cage Trust for permission to share this historic interview. All Rights Reserved.
Musical Selections
Varese or Webern? On Boulez. On an upcoming concert in Cincinnati. Problems, stories of performances. "Why do you continue to compose?" Creating new notation. Students making compositions. The way things are done nowadays. Things are "less narrow now". Children, and the Middle Ages. "If we apply ourselves to the social situation... as composition rather than criticism, we'll get somewhere!"
Art, Modern
Avant-garde (Art)
Music -- Philosophy and aesthetics
New music
Related places
New York (N.Y.) (was recorded at)
Berkeley (Calif.) (was broadcast at)
Related Entities
Cage, John
Feldman, Morton, 1926-1987