John Cage  

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"I'm devoted to the principle of originality."

John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912August 12, 1992) was an American composer, philosopher, writer and printmaker. He is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4'33", whose three movements are performed without playing a single note.

Cage was an early composer of what he called "chance music"—referred to by others as aleatoric music—where some elements are left to be decided by chance; he is also well known for his non-standard use of musical instruments and his pioneering exploration of electronic music. His works were sometimes controversial, but he is generally regarded as one of the most important composers of his era, especially in his raising questions about the definition of music.

John Cage put his Zen Buddhist beliefs into practice through music. He described his music as "purposeless play", but "this play is an affirmation of life—not an attempt to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we are living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and desires out the way and lets it act of its own accord." Hence comes his favorite saying nichi nichi kore kōnichi or, every day is a good day.

Cage was also an avid mushroom collector. He was a long-term collaborator and romantic partner of choreographer Merce Cunningham.

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