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  • Provenance

    Stable Gallery, 1958
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Stable Gallery, New York, May 3-13, 1958

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Concert for Piano and Orchestra was premiered at the concert arranged as a twenty five year retrospective by his friends at Town Hall in New York in May 1958. Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Emile de Antonio joined forces to produce the concert, David Todor selected the music and Merce Cunningham agreed to be the conductor. The concert was to include the new work which Cage was freed to complete. Cage's music not only used chance but employed it as a discipline requiring the invention of many new compositional notations, partly in deference, he says, to the abundant variety of Nature. Cage spent several weeks working day and night to complete the manuscript which appears unlike any previous conventionally written music. Since the music is defined by time rather than movements or bars guided by the conductor, Cunningham's role was to act as a human chronometer. Cage said "The only thing I was being consistent to in this piece was that I did not need to be consistent."

    The original score of the Concert for Piano and Orchestra: Solo for Piano is in the Northwestern University Music Library, John Cage Notations Collection, Evanston, Illinois. According to Merce Cunningham, who collaborated with the composer for many years, Cage would often duplicate individual pages of a score to give to friends.

    Richard Francis, Dancers on a Plane: Cage-Cunningham-Johns

44

Concert for Piano and Orchestra, Solo for Piano, 1957-58, Stony Point, New York

1957-58
Ink drawing, on cream tracing paper,
S. 11 x 17 in. (27.9 x 43.2 cm)
annotated `40' in black ink and in pencil (page 40 from the score of 63 pages), commissioned by Elaine de Kooning.

Estimate
$10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for $10,625

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Kelly Troester
Director Modern Editions
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Evening & Day Editions

New York Auction 26 October 2015