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132 composers. 8 performers. Celebrating the life and music of John Cage with 840 variations on Erik Satie's Vexations!
132 composers. 8 performers. Celebrating the life and music of John Cage with 840 variations on Erik Satie's Vexations!
26 backers pledged $1,420 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The Generous Ensemble will celebrate John Cageʼs 100th Birthday in a manner unlike any other Cage centennial concert this year.

In July, Scott Comanzo, the artistic director of the Generous Ensemble, put out a call for 16-second long contributions (or shorter!) to a 40-minute collage piece based on Erik Satieʼs Vexations. 133 composers, ages 16 to 74, from all over the world (including Australia, Japan, Lithuania, Great Britain, and Canada) have responded and written these tiny vignettes to be performed as one piece on September 5th.

Vexations was written in 1893, likely as Erik Satieʼs own music therapy for the end of a short but intense relationship. It has become most famous for a vague recommendation asking performers to play the piece 840 times. It remained unpublished and unperformed publicly until John Cage brought it to light in the 50ʻs and organized its first (over 18-hour) performance in September of 1963.

Cage is credited for being the first and foremost Satie champion in the United States among his many innovations that have changed the face of art, society, and the course of history.

One of Cageʼs innovations was the use of “chance operations” in music composition. The Generous Ensemble employed chance operations to determine the order of performance for the contributions, which will be played consecutively as if one large piece. This collage style also draws inspiration from two additional Cage innovations: the “Exquisite Corpse” style of music composition collaboration and the “Musicircus.”

The Generous Ensemble will open the concert with a performance of Variations I by Cage, accompanied by a projection of the piece's non-traditional graphic score to be viewed by audience and performers alike.

All funds raised toward our goal go into paying the eight performers who have contributed their time, energy, and enthusiasm to make this project a reality. Money above the goal will be split between production costs (including travel, food, photography, and videography), paying the musicians more competitively, and keeping the Generous Ensemble alive!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Our heartfelt thanks, as expressed with Artistic Director Scott's patented overlong email or voicemail!

    EVERY DONATOR will get a mention on our website, future programs and any other place we can fit it in!

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    Pledge $9 or more About $9

    An official concert poster or official concert program

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    Pledge $28 or more About $28

    A fancy CD of the concert, produced and designed by our fearless artistic director, Scott!

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    Pledge $37 or more About $37

    Reward #2 and #3 combined!

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    Pledge $44 or more About $44

    A DVD of the performance, in the same fancy packaging as the CD!

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    Pledge $53 or more About $53

    Reward #2 and #5 combined!

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    Pledge $111 or more About $111

    The grand package!

    The CD, DVD, official poster and program
    and your choice of above item autographed by the Ensemble

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    Pledge $333 or more About $333

    The Absolute Package!

    Everything that's included in the Grand Package PLUS a commemorative score of the Vexations project - a 2 inch volume containing every 16-seconds-or-less work in order of this, the premiere performance.

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    Pledge $999 or more About $999

    A Generous Ensemble recording of a new original composition written by Scott Comanzo (or possibly your favorite composer in the GE family pending negotiations with said composer) to your specifications! (except for duration, which will be subject to good faith negotiation)

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Funding period

- (18 days)