Images from the History of Experimental Music in Northern California

John Cage

These images submitted by Warner Jepson, with these comments:

Doris Dennison worked with John and Lou Harrison in the 30's and 40's in San Francisoc, doing percussion concerts. Doris was accompanying Welland Lathrop modern dance classes when I applied for a job for the same in '53. She decided to quit and just work at Mills. She has a number of programs with Henry Cowell, John, Lou, and others doing percussion programs during those years; actually only 3. I made a short video interview with her recently (after I saw her on a PBS bio of John and called her up after 40 years; she's in good shape at 85). She and her pal have decided to close up house and go into a final home in Marin so are cleaning up and out. Picking up music, which included her manuscripts which I swiped rather than have her toss out as worthless, I also found included hand printed (it looks like in her hand) on that then-required transparten onion skin, pieces by John, "Jazz Study", by Lou, "Saraband", by your dad, Ivan, "Capriccio", all short.

On the wall I found the following double exposure photograph of John, which I'm inclined to think is rare. Si? I only have the picture because I had it mounted and sealed for Doris and am returning it. The music, I suspect, should go to Mills, unless someone has a better suggestion. I will check with Doris. There's actually a little more to the picture than is here; his hands appear on the keyboard. If anyone wants to see it all, I'll be happy to email it off.

Here are 3 [not all here yet-tectmtgf] more pics--not all at once--that I found in Doris Dennison's papers.

There was a letter to Doris, July 8 1939: [he was 27]

"I just got a job working in the mornings at the U.C. Demonstration School. So we're safe for this month. I'm planning to go ahead against obstacles and give some percussion concerts down here....How soon could you come?...We'll give a concert at Mills, one somewhere in Berkeley, and one somewhere in S.F. It's really quite indefinite as fasr as details but will quite definitely be done.

I saw Henry; he is fine. Went to a Chinese shadow play...heard Russell play, most beautifully, Chinese music. Lou Harrison is in Carmel..."

There are a number of programs of the three composers Cage, Cowell, and Harrison. If anyone would like infro from them make your request and I'll take a look at them.

There is a newspaper article which has that picture of John without the superimposed score, 1949; he was 37.

+++++ The caption for this picture: 'Flower pots and frying pans are a few of the"instruments" to be used by a "persuccion" orchestra for a Mills College concert tonight. Rehearsing are (rear, l to r) Lou Harrison, John Cage and(front) Doris Dennison, Jargaret Jansen, Xenia Cage.'