In honor of John Cage's centennial, PEN festival and Symphony Space join forces with the John Cage Trust and Slought Foundation to revive for the first time ever in New York, John Cage's 1989 work How To Get Started--a collaborative experiment that explores improvisation and the origin of ideas. In the piece, Cage took the stage with ten note cards, shuffled the deck and spoke 'off the cuff' for no more than three minutes on each idea. His monologue was recorded in collaboration with engineers and looped back as the next card was addressed, creating a complex acoustic layering of his ideas. All events will take place at Symphony Space in New York City.
- On May 4th, 2012, from 11:00am-9:00pm, minds from across the arts -- including Etgar Keret, David Harrington (Kronos Quartet), Aleksandar Hemon, Sonia Sanchez -- will perform How to Get Started in this daylong 'happening'. As an audience member, you are also invited to contribute your own thoughts to the official archive of How to Get Started through a lottery selection (here to download instructions). Dare to think aloud in front of a live audience and your favorite literary celebrities!
- On November 15, 2012, writer and actor Wallace Shawn and and composer and professor Allen Shawn will perform How to Get Started. They share a family history, both as brothers and sons of the legendary editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn, as well as a professional collaboration (they have created an opera together, The Music Teacher). Following their performances, they engage in conversation with Wendy Lesser, editor of The Threepenny Review.
- On December 13, 2012, former Poet Laureate, currently poetry editor at Slate, poet, essayist, literary critic, translator, and jazz aficionado Robert Pinsky, and the pop-folk singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding, a.k.a the novelist Wesley Stace, author of Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer will perform How to Get Started. Following their performances, they engage in conversation with Wendy Lesser, editor of The Threepenny Review.
- On April 2, 2013, interdisciplinary artist/conceptualist Ralph Lemon and Grammy Award-winning Founder and Artistic Director of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance Arturo O'Farrill will perform How to Get Started. Following their performances, they engage in conversation with Symphony Space Artistic Director Laura Kaminsky.
Before you come, visit howtogetstarted.org or the permanent installation at Slought in Philadelphia.
Tickets are available from the Symphony Space Box Office (2537 Broadway at 95th Street in New York City) at (212)864-5400. To purchase tickets online:
Presented by PEN World Voices Festival and Symphony Space
Produced by Slought Foundation and John Cage Trust
Dramaturgy - Aaron Levy
Staging and Scenography - Ken Saylor
Sound Design and Programming - Peter Price
Graphic Design - Project Projects
How to Get Started at Symphony Space is adapted for the theater from the the installation at Slought, which was curated by Laura Kuhn, John Cage Trust; Aaron Levy, Slought Foundation; and Arthur J. Sabatini, Arizona State University.
How to Get Started at Symphony Space is co-sponsored by American Express, Office of Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Israel, and Peter Norton Symphony Space.
How to Get Started at Slought has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. Support has also been provided by the Samuel S. Fels Fund, the John Cage Trust, and the Society of Friends of the Slought Foundation.