Cage Percussion Players
During the summer of 1939, the Bennington School of Dance hosted a groundbreaking concert on the campus of Mills College in Oakland, CA. This performance did not feature dancers, but rather musicians playing on clay pots, chunks of metal, and blocks of wood. This unique concert was presented by John Cage and his percussion group from the Cornish School in Seattle, WA. They performed music that was specifically composed for them by West coast composers such as Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell, William Russell, Johanna Beyer, and Cage himself. John Cage created this opportunity by establishing his own creative outlet, a percussion ensemble, which scarcely existed at this time. The group, made up of mostly dancers and artists, continued to perform and tour the United States through the early 1940s. In doing so, they brought many of our most important early percussion ensemble works to audiences for the first time.
Currently in residence at the University of Central Florida, the modern reincarnation of the Cage Percussion Players aims to establish a performing body of repertoire that is similar to that of the original ensemble. This task includes seeking out original parts and authenticating instruments, implements, and performance practice.