Chance Aesthetics Concert

Performance to feature avant-garde music Oct. 7

Since the early 20th century avant-garde writers, artists and composers have championed the creative possibilities of the arbitrary and the accidental. Next week the Department of Music and the Dance Program in the Performing Arts Department (PAD), both in Arts & Sciences, along with the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum will host a concert exploring the use of chance in modern and contemporary music.

The performance — held in conjunction with the exhibition Chance Aesthetics, now on view at the Kemper Art Museum — is free and open to the public and begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the 560 Music Center’s E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall.

Immediately preceding the concert, at 6:45 p.m., will be introductory remarks by Meredith Malone, assistant curator of the Kemper Art Museum, who organized the Chance Aesthetics exhibition; and Bruce Durazzi, assistant professor of music theory.

John Cage
John Cage

The performance will begin with Music of Changes Book IV: New York, December 13, a piece for solo piano by experimental composer John Cage (1912 -1992). Written in 1951, Music of Changes was Cage’s second fully indeterminate work, with compositional decisions made in consultation with the I Ching, the classic Chinese text. Performer will be Peter Henderson, assistant professor of music at Maryville University.

Next on the program will be The Oracle, a new improvisatory work based on a mobile hanging from the ceiling of the E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall. Performers will be guitarist William Lenihan, director of jazz performance; percussionist Henry Claude, teacher of applied music; and cellist Tracy Andreotti. In addition, the performance will feature three dancers: Mary-Jean Cowell, associate professor and coordinator of the Dance Program; David Marchant, senior lecturer in dance; and post-doctoral fellow Ting Ting Chang.

Following intermission, the program will conclude with In C, a classic 1964 work by Terry Riley (b. 1935). Often credited with launching the minimalist movement, In C consists of 53 short, simple musical phrases — lasting from one-half to 32 beats — each of which can be repeated an arbitrary number of times by any combination of musicians.

Performers for the Chance Aesthetics iteration will include Claude, Lenihan and Andreotti, as well as cellist Elizabeth Macdonald, director of strings; guitarist Vince Varvel, pianist Amanda Kirkpatrick and saxophonist Adrianne Honnold, all teachers of applied music; violist Laura Reycraft, an instructor at City Academy; and clarinetist Dana Hotle, a faculty member of Webster University’s Community Music School.

The 560 Music Center is located at 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard. A reception will immediately follow the concert in the Music Center’s Ballroom Theatre. For more information, call (314) 935-5566 or email

Calendar Summary

WHAT: Chance Aesthetics Concert

WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7; Pre-performance talk 6:45 p.m.

WHERE: E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall, 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection of Trinity and Delmar Boulevard

COST: Free and open to the public

SPONSORS: Department of Music, Dance Program in the Performing Arts Department and Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

INFORMATION: (314) 935-5566 or email