No American composer has written about his work as brilliantly and wittily as John Cage (1912-1992), one of the great avant-garde figures of the twentieth century. An essential part of his legacy are the pieces gathered herein, which span over fifty years of Cagean thought and creativity. Generally unknown, they demonstrate Cage’s skill in using language to provide insight into his own work as well as the music of Schoenberg, Boulez, and Stockhausen. In addition, he discusses collaborators and contemporaries like Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, Marshall McLuhan, and David Tudor.<br /><br />Also included are several provocative lectures and-of crucial importance to an appreciation of his music-Cage’s notes outlining the proper performance of his compositions. Other pieces tackle his experiments with prepared piano; the idea of “chance” in compositions; how he writes using the <i>I Ching</i>; and his ideas about art, film, and dance. In “A Composer’s Confessions,” Cage maligns the “essentially conservative character of musical attitudes today” and declares why he is “not interested in large audiences or the preservation of my work for posterity.” In “An Autobiographical Statement,” he offers earnest reflections upon his own life, career, and quest for self-fulfillment.<br /><br />Originally appearing in magazines, journals, catalogs, concert programs, and records, these pieces here acquire the permanence they deserve. Taken together, they reveal a lesser-known but pivotal aspect of a pioneering composer.