In the 1930s John Cage studied music composition under the famous composer Arnold Schoenberg and came under his spell.
“I worshipped him like a God,” said Cage.
In the 1940s he developed a close creative relationship with a number of modern dance companies and choreographers – including Merce Cunningham, the man who was to become Cage’s romantic partner for most of his life.
Importantly, Cage developed a friendship with the legendary avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp. They played chess together regularly.
At this time Cage was also heavily influenced by both Zen Buddhism and the I-Ching, which he used in his composing to introduce strong elements of randomness and chance.
Cage is credited with instigating the first ever artistic ‘Happening’ at Black Mountain College in 1952. He went on to inspire and collaborate with a number of important 1960s & 1970s artists and performers including Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik and Robert Rauschenberg.