Paul Williams: The Cage Mix

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Demystifying a largely misunderstood chapter in John Cage's biographical narrative, this article explores the pivotal role architect and philanthropist Paul Williams played in Cage's life, and for whom Cage named his famous magnetic tape composition Williams Mix (1952-53). Retracing the activities of both men, beginning with their earliest encounter at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1948, this investigation documents for the first time the extent of their mutually devoted relationship. Newly uncovered source material and photographs also reveal the valuable contributions Williams made as primary benefactor and mastermind of the intentional community called the Gatehill Cooperative (a.k.a. Stony Point), a place Cage called home for seventeen years (1954-71). There Cage developed a hunger for nature, wrote his widely read and influential book Silence (1961), and undertook some of his most significant musical projects.

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