John Cage in Soviet Russia 'Tempo', 66 ( 266), 2013: 1- 10

Ivashkin, Alexander V.. 2013. John Cage in Soviet Russia 'Tempo', 66 ( 266), 2013: 1- 10. Tempo, 66(3), pp. 1-10. ISSN 0040-2982 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

John Cage’s music was little known in the Soviet Union until the late 1960s, as official
communist cultural policy would not allow his music to be performed or researched. This
makes it all the more surprising that the only visit by the composer to Soviet Russia had become
possible by 1988. The Soviet officials were planning a large festival of contemporary music in St
Petersburg in 1988. With the changing climate Tikhon Khrennikov, the secretary of the All
Soviet Union League of Composers, appointed by Stalin in 1948, was keen to be seen as a progressive
at the time of Gorbachev’s perestroika, and he approved the invitation for Cage to be
present at the performances of his works in St Petersburg. This article includes interviews with
the composer conducted by the author in 1987–1989, as well as recollections of the meetings
with Cage at his home in New York City and in Moscow.

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October 2013Published

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Date Deposited:

27 Aug 2013 13:43

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:53

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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