49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs

Call for Participation/Composition:

Cage Hop NYC is looking for performers and composers of all genres to participate in a realization of John Cage’s Forty-Nine Waltzes for the Five Boroughs. All performances would take place over the month of September 2012.

About Forty-Nine Waltzes for the Five Boroughs:

John Cage’s work “Forty-Nine Waltzes for the Five Boroughs” appeared in the October 6, 1977 Rolling Stone magazine — a gala issue celebrating their move to New York.

He constructed his “waltzes” through chance operations as a series of 49 multi-colored triangles superimposed on the Hagstrom map of New York City. Later, he published a score for “performer(s) or listener(s) or record maker(s)” with the exact street locations depicted by each point of the triangle.

The first version of this composition is a graphic city map of New York, containing numerous lines and points, determined through chance operations. The second version consists of a list of 147 New York street addresses, arranged in 49 groups of three. In a 1980 Nonesuch recording (LP no longer available) this has been interpreted as a list of places, where recordings of existing waltz melodies may be made, mixed with the sounds of the city. Cage mentions that transcriptions may be made for other cities by assembling a list of 147 addresses and arranging these in 49 groups of three, using chance operations.

Performance options:

  • Pre-existing music performed live or from a recording
  • Performer’s own music performed live or from a recording
  • Recording of the sounds of the environment at the specified location
  • Any number of musicians/dancers, any instrumentation

Performance requirements:

  • All performances must be recorded as digital video or audio and uploaded to our YouTube channel, or sent directly to 49Waltzes@cagehop.com
  • Waltzes should be relatively short (less than 10 minutes)
  • The locations of the performances are determined by chance, therefore, while we might try to keep your convenience in mind, you may also have to travel to an inconvenient location
  • Each performer, or group, is responsible for 3 locations

**The final performance will be held at Spectrum 121 Ludlow, NYC on 9/29 @ 6:00, and will also be available on the internet.

To participate, send an email expressing your interest to:

Once you contact us, you will be sent your locations, along with further information regarding YouTube channel uploading and the final performance.

Thanks so much, and feel free to pass this information along!

Melinda Faylor
Director, ARETÉ Ensemble
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