Nathan Matthews

Percussionist / Collaborator / Artist / Educator

Artist Statement: John Cage wrote 4'33" as a completely selfless piece in order to remove the composer's bias from the work. It is a misconception that 4'33" is a "silent" composition. The intent is for the audience to focus on the indeterminate natural sounds that occur by chance during the performance. Cage used the social construct of a concert piece as a format to allow the listen to elevate naturally occurring sounds to the same level as a composed piece.

However, 4'33" often does not evoke this response or understanding from many listeners anymore. Since its acceptance into canon, many audience members who are familiar with the work no longer allow themselves to participate with the piece as intended. Rather than focusing on the naturally occurring sounds during the performance, many simply wait for the ending of the piece, diluting its original intent. This perversion of the work has shifted the focus away from these sounds within the performance, to the anticipation of its ending. The time frame has transformed from something to exist in, to the marking of a countdown. 

This piece is a response to the change in perception of the original work. The Repaired Piano is the manifestation of the tension created when 4'33" is experience as a countdown.