© Christine Ettenauer

the pianist :: CAGE

ISABEL: "1993 marked a turning point in my life. It was in February at the newly founded contemporary piano course 'Wiener Tage der zeitgenössischen Klaviermusik' when I encountered the music of John Cage, which turned my musical life upside down. When I first heard a prepared piano I was absolutely mesmerized, and back home I went through my dad's toolbox, prepared my piano (which I would never have dared before) and improvised all night. I'm eternally grateful for that extraordinary experience (many thanks to the founders of that wonderful course at the Vienna Music University, Ursula Kneihs and Emmy Henz-Diémand!).

Impossible to imagine what would have happened if Cage hadn't died a few months before, as he had confirmed to visit the Vienna course. Well, although I didn't have the chance to meet him anymore, I got to know Cage very well through his music and writings.

After one week of Cage's music I was totally infected by the new music virus, and my ears and mind were open for all sorts of new adventures.

John Cage, the great musical figure in the 20th century (1912-1992) keeps fascinating and inspiring me. I have performed a number of his piano works, and his Opus Magnum for prepared piano, Sonatas and Interludes, is a central work in my repertoire."

"...what a wonderful and enrapturing performance you gave of Sonatas & Interludes this afternoon. I cannot stop thinking about it - it's still resonating with me. Your performance was elegant, cogent and thoroughly captivating. I was moved as were we all and right with you for the full 75 minutes. I hope you play it everywhere. It was made for you and you should continue playing this as a life's mission. It's only a pity Cage wasn't alive to hear you this afternoon. He would have loved it."
Composer Stephen Montague, a long term colleague and friend of John Cage, comments on Isabel's London performance of 'Sonatas and Interludes', 16 January 2001

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