Symphony Space is to present three performances of composer John Cage's How to Get Started, November 1, November 15, and December 13 in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre. The production will celebrate Cage's centennial year.
In How to Get Started, on each of ten index cards, a performer writes down a different topic of interest. A notecard is chosen in random order, and the performer extemporizes on the topic as his or her words are recorded. As the speaker moves on to the next notecard and topic, all of the previous recordings are played back simultaneously, multiplying the usual challenge of speaking contemporaneously.
Each of the performances will feature a pair of noted musicians and writers who know each other well. The two artists will perform the piece in sequence and then engage discuss the experience. The artist pairings will be: author Oscar Hijuelos and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill on November 1, playwright Wallace Shawn and his composer sibling Allen Shawn on November 15, and poet Robert Pinsky and singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding on December 13.
Artistic director, Laura Kaminsky will moderate the conversation between Hijuelos and O'Farrill. Writer/cultural critic Wendy Lesser will moderate the following evenings.