Dancing Cage

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Very impressive was the performance of the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo. Cage’s ‘Three Dances’ turned into a fascinating work of sound: the colors and percussive sounds of the prepared pianos achieved an overwhelming effect in their speedy hands.
— Stuttgarter Zeitung

John Cage, one of the most radical and influential American composers of the twentieth-century, developed the idea of turning the piano into a “percussion orchestra” by inserting diverse objects between the strings of the instrument. This invention derived initially from his work with dancers, most saliently Merce Cunningham, but also served the creation of purely instrumental works. Remarkable among these compositions is the rarely performed Three Dances for Two Prepared Pianos from 1945. For many years, the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo wanted to play this major work, but it was impractical to program along with other repertoire because of the amount of preparations involved (nearly 200 objects including screws, bolts, plastic, rubber, coins, etc.). For the project DANCING CAGE, the Duo commissioned composers to write for the two prepared pianos as used in the Three Dances—a chance to revisit the Cage aesthetic and to produce new works with these legendary sounds. These new works include: Myzel by Carola Bauckholt, Duelocity by John King, NOMOLL I by Michèle Rusconi, Diptych by Chris Arrell, Custom Audio Products by Inouk Demers and Switch by Amy Williams.