John Cage (1912–1992) is one of the composers who changed the tenets of music most in the 20th century. Before Cage, the foundations of music were so completely shaken by one of his teachers, Arnold Schönberg. Cage’s work is a constant journey of invention. In 1938, he composed the first piece for a prepared piano. In 1951, he assembled a group of musicians and engineers who made tape music. The following year, he organized a theatre event that is considered to be the first happening. Significant changes were introduced into Cage’s way of thinking when he came into contact with Oriental cultures. At the end of the 1940s, he studied Indian philosophy and Zen Buddhism, which led him to writing the Music of Change in 1951. After that, his “Bible” and the basis for his method of composition became the ancient Chinese “Book of Changes” or “Yi Jing”.
Cage’s contribution to widening the horizons of music was already clear during his lifetime. He received many important honors and awards and was elected as an honorary professor at several educational and research institutions. Outside of his work in the field of music, composer and thinker John Cage wrote books and poetry, was a graphic artist and an amateur mycologist.