PUBLISHED: 6:21 PM on Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Adam Tendler presents John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes
JUNEAU - The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council welcomes back Adam Tendler for a Sunday afternoon of "Talk, Tea and Tones" featuring John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes. This third and final concert in the JAHC's Sunday Salon Series takes place Nov. 2 at 4 pm at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.

  Adam Tendler
Pianist Adam Tendler first made national headlines with his landmark America 88x50 project, a first-ever grassroots piano recital tour in which he lived out of his car and performed modern music for free in all fifty states. Now he is returning to Juneau with John Cage's legendary masterpiece, Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano. Cage requires the pianist to meticulously prepare the piano with metal, plastic, and rubber objects inserted between the strings to create a sonic landscape of gongs, bells, and drums.

Tendler's unique interpretation of this work, performed remarkably from memory for the first time in its history, celebrates one of America's most provocative and important composers in the 60th anniversary of this notorious work.

After the Concert, Tendler will give a talk about John Cage, the social context of Sonatas and Interludes, its Eastern roots, and its historical significance both musically and in terms of Cage specifically, as well as the accidental origins of the prepared piano. The audience is encouraged to ask questions.

Born in 1982, Adam Tendler grew up in a musical family that simultaneously immersed itself in the traditions of classical music while experiencing an overhaul of modern popular and local rural culture. Beginning classical performance training at the age of 7, Tendler immediately began to compose and perform music that often inadvertently fused the two.

One might consider the "invention" of the prepared piano one of John Cage's happiest accidents. In 1938, choreographer Syvilla Fort approached Cage, then 26 years old, to compose a new work for her dance company. Cage wrote mainly for percussion ensemble at the time, but Fort's space only had enough room for a grand piano. So Cage improvised, placing ordinary objects between some of the piano strings to create percussive effects and, in doing so, effectively put "in the hands of a single pianist the equivalent of an entire percussion orchestra." Choosing his sounds "as one looks for shells on the beach," Cage delighted in how "with just one musician, you can really do an unlimited number of things." He called it "an exploded keyboard."

The Sonatas and Interludes, for all its modernist innovation, borrowed heavily from the Baroque.

Each time the Sonatas and Interludes are being played they sound different. Adam Tendler became very sensitive to that.

"And what is the purpose of writing music?" Tendler says. "One is, of course, not dealing with purposes but dealing with sounds. Or the answer must take the form of paradox: a purposeful purposelessness or a purposeless play. This play, however, is an affirmation of life -- not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we're living, which is so excellent once one gets one's mind and one's desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord."

Tickets are available online, at Hearthside Books, Rainy Retreat books or by calling 586-2787. Tickets are $17for adults, $10 for students and seniors and $5 for children 5 yrs & younger. Pie-in-the-Sky will bring tea treats. Rendezvous will bring a no-host-bar and drink specials. All under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to attend.