How To Play A Cactus

Robert Worby explores the adventures undertaken by performers tackling John Cage's music.

As the BBC Proms marks John Cage's centenary, Robert Worby explores the adventures undertaken by performers tackling his music, with contributions from Ilan Volkov and John Tilbury.

John Cage re-defined what a performance could be: experiments with silence, everyday objects as instruments, early electronics, chance procedures and irreverent subterfuge. As performances are mounted around the world to mark John Cage's centenary Robert Worby - himself a noted interpreter of Cage's music - goes behind the scenes of rehearsals as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Ilan Volkov rehearse for performances of Cage's works in Glasgow and at the BBC Proms.

He explores the adventures they undertake tackling the unusual requirements of pieces such as those to be heard at this evening's Prom, listening-in to the orchestra's interpretation of scores generated from the marks on a star chart in 'Atlas Eclipticalis', John Tilbury's meticulous piano manipulation for the Concerto for Prepared Piano and Ilan Volkov's solo performance of 'Child of Tree' for amplified cactus plants.

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Robert Worby explores the adventures undertaken by performers tackling John Cage's music.

As the BBC Proms marks John Cage's centenary, Robert Worby explores the adventures undertaken by performers tackling his music, with contributions from Ilan Volkov and John Tilbury.

John Cage re-defined what a performance could be: experiments with silence, everyday objects as instruments, early electronics, chance procedures and irreverent subterfuge. As performances are mounted around the world to mark John Cage's centenary Robert Worby - himself a noted interpreter of Cage's music - goes behind the scenes of rehearsals as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Ilan Volkov rehearse for performances of Cage's works in Glasgow and at the BBC Proms.

He explores the adventures they undertake tackling the unusual requirements of pieces such as those to be heard at this evening's Prom, listening-in to the orchestra's interpretation of scores generated from the marks on a star chart in 'Atlas Eclipticalis', John Tilbury's meticulous piano manipulation for the Concerto for Prepared Piano and Ilan Volkov's solo performance of 'Child of Tree' for amplified cactus plants.