JOHN CAGE, American composer born (d. 1992). American composer. He was a pioneer of Chance music, non-standard use of musical instruments, and electronic music.

He is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4’33”, whose three movements are performed without a single note being played. Though he remains a controversial figure, he is generally regarded as one of the most important composers of his era. Cage was a long-term collaborator and romantic partner of choreographer Merce Cunningham. In addition to his composing, Cage was also a philosopher, writer, printmaker and avid amateur mycologist and mushroom collector.

Cage always referred to his The Perilous Night (1943) as his “autobiographical” piece, and biographer, David Revill has associated it with the traumas associated with Cage’s sexual reorientation, culminating in divorce from his wife (1945) and the beginning of his monogamous partnership with Merce Cunningham, that lasted to the end of his life.