John Cage: Variations IV

John Cage's Variations IV - Recorded live at the 2014 Avant Music Festival

This recording of Variations IV was assembled by Randy Gibson from the 8-hour performance at Wild Project on February 22, 2014 as part of the fifth annual Avant Music Festival. The assembly of these recordings was done completely using chance operations.

The score to Variations IV dictates where in the space sounds should be made, but not what those sounds are. We performed multiple layered readings of the work in chance determined blocks of time, performers were invited to perform whatever they like, provided they did so at the spot the score determined. The intention of the work is to bring sounds from outside the performance space into the performance space, and in that spirit, the lines created by the score, where amplification was permitted, were extended dramatically, bringing in radio stations from around the work, using chance operations for their on or off points. Microphones were placed around the performance space and the lobby amplifying sounds from the street and lobby, bringing the sounds of the audience into the composition, and the audience was further encouraged to explore the entire space and to interact with the sound.


  1. Variations IV - 12:00-12:29 and 12:00-12:49
  2. Variations IV - 12:29-13:45 and 12:49-13:51
  3. Variations IV - 13:45-15:15 and 13:51-14:52 06:25
  4. Variations IV - 15:15-16:23 and 14:52-15:26
  5. Variations IV - 16:23-18:39 and 15:26-16:48, 16:48-17:52, 17:52-18:00
  6. Variations IV - 18:39-19:35 and 18:00-19:39


Variations IV was performed by:

Sarah Bachelier, voice
Matt Beckemeyer, voice and keyboard
Gelsey Bell, voice and vocoder
Bob Bielecki, voice
Nicole Camacho, flutes and voice
De Fenestrated
Miguel Frasconi, electronics
Laurence Getford, animoog and pre-recorded sound
Randy Gibson, voice, electronics, radio collage implementation
Sally Gibson, voice
Olivia Giovetti, voice
GiOrgi Janiashvili, laptop / electronic music
John King, viola
Kjersti Kveli, voice
William Lang, tenor trombone
Nick Lesley
Karl Larson, piano
Alvin Lucier, voice
Emy Martin, voice
Caley Monahon-Ward, sound implementation and voice
Ken Montgomery, nut grinder and electronics
Alex Mincek, voice
Jason Oberholtzer, viola and piano
Pro Piano, piano delivery and setup
Brian Questa, guitar
James CM Rogers, bass trombone and readings from Silence
Ricardo Rivera, baritone
Mike Rugnetta, lap steel guitar
Eleonor Sandresky, small thermos, chopsticks, and glass jar while reading Silence
Megan Schubert, voice
Oscar H Scott, voice
James Sheppard, piano
Marc Thorman, reading his mesostic “JACK KEROUAC”
Kaz Tsujio, piano tuner
Andrew Weinstein, viola
Kryssy Wright, set building and voice

and many other performers, audience members, and passers-by

This album also includes recordings of John Cage reading from his mesostics I–VI: MethodStructureIntentionDisciplineNotationIndeterminacy InterpenetrationImitationDevotionCircumstancesVariableStructure NonunderstandingContingencyInconsistencyPerformance (© 1990 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College used courtesy of The John Cage Trust and The Harvard University Press) and Art Is Either A Complaint Or Do Something Else (© 1993 by The John Cage Trust, released on Mode Records #84/85 used courtesy of Mode Records).

John Cage: Variations IV