The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College

Fisher Center Events

Fisher Center and John Cage Trust present:

John Cage's Empty Words

[John Cage's Empty Words]
Tickets: $55

John Cage’s Empty Words is a 12-hour, overnight event during which participants will collectively experience a rare recorded performance by John Cage of Empty Words (1974), a marathon text drawn from the Journals of Henry David Thoreau. Empty Words is one of Cage’s most sustained and elaborate moves toward the “demilitarization” of language, in four parts: Part I omits sentences, Part II omits phrases, and Part III omits words. Part IV, which omits syllables, leaves us nothing but a virtual lullaby of letters and sounds.

The Overnight Program*
7 pm Settling in/Meet and Greet
(wine and vegetable crudité)
8:29 pm Part I
10:59 pm Intermission
(garbanzo and lentil soup)
11:29 pm Part II
1:59 am Intermission
(brown rice and vegetables)
2:29 am Part III
4:49 am Intermission
(Bancha and Gen Mai Chai, with seeds and nuts)
5:29 am Part IV

*A simple macrobiotic meal will be served at intervals throughout the night, to Cage's specifications. Dusk & Dawn Music provided by Josh Quillen of Sō Percussion, in a program of works scored for amplified plant materials, water, conch shells, and burning pinecones.

Before You Buy
  • All participants must arrive for registration no later than 7:30 pm.
  • There may be videography and/or photography documentation of this event, in which case you will be asked to sign a release.
  • All participants must be age 16 or older.
  • Please do not bring alcohol, drugs, or outside food or drink into the venue.
  • All participants are asked to stay for the duration of the event. Those who elect to leave will not be readmitted between the hours of midnight and 4:30 am.

What to Bring
  • Please arrive dressed in clothing appropriate for sleep.
  • Please bring your own bedding (duvets, quilts, pillows, inflatable mattresses).
  • Please bring a flashlight and toiletries (restrooms are available, showers are not).

This event is part of the worldwide celebration of John Cage’s Centennial Year. It is a co-production of the John Cage Trust, New Albion Records, and the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets for this event are extremely limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, contact the John Cage Trust at 845-835-8022 or emartin@johncage.org.

Tickets for this event are $55 per person. If you are ready to order tickets, please call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7948. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Ticket Information

Fisher Center, Spiegeltent

This event occurred on:

Sat. June 30


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