A permanent installation that features a rarely heard performance by John Cage, and will evolve over time through participation from the public


How to Get Started - Live at Bard College

Bard College joins Slought and the John Cage Trust in reviving John Cage's "How To Get Started" (1989) for the first time in Annandale-on-Hudson

Fields of Knowledge
  • Artistic legacies
  • Performance

Organizing Institutions

Slought, John Cage Trust

Contributing Institutions

Bard College


Laura Kuhn, Aaron Levy


Ken Saylor, Peter Price, Arthur J. Sabatini, Project Projects


Sound Cluster / Sound Symposium 2016

Opens to public



László Z. Bitó '60
Conservatory Building

Bard College
New York

On the web



50% Formal - 50% Informal

Join Bard College, the John Cage Trust, and Slought on April 8-9, 2016 for a newly staged version of John Cage's work "How To Get Started," which is a collaborative experiment that explores improvisation and the origin of ideas.

Nine performers -- Roger Berkowitz, Olive Carrollhach, David Degge, Brian Dewan, John Kelly, Chris Mann, Pauline Oliveros, Jamie Parry, and Bobby Previte -- will draw upon Cage's realization as a script in effect and add new layers to the mix: their extemporizations on ten topics of interest, in their voices. The event will include introductory remarks by curators Laura Kuhn and Aaron Levy and collaborating sound engineer Peter Price, and post-performance conversation with the artists.

In 2010, the John Cage Trust joined with Slought in Philadelphia to create a permanent installation of this little-known work by John Cage, which was first performed by him at Skywalker Ranch in Nicasio, California, on Aug. 31, 1989. In the piece, Cage took the stage with ten note cards, shuffled the deck and spoke 'off the cuff' for no more than three minutes on each idea. His monologue was recorded in collaboration with engineers and looped back as the next card was addressed, creating a complex acoustic layering of his ideas. This amounted to an experiment having to do with thinking out loud, in public, before a live audience.

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Roger Berkowitz is the Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College.

Olive Carrollhach is a Bard student majoring in Human Rights and Studio Art and is a member of the Mediacorps.

David Degge is the Percussion Teaching Fellow at the Bard College Conservatory of Music.

Brian Dewan is a musician, inventor, instrument maker, and performance artist.

John Kelly is a New York-based performance and visual artist of innovative stage creations.

Chris Mann is an Australian-American composer, poet, and performer specializing in compositional linguistics.

Pauline Oliveros pioneered the concept of Deep Listening, an aesthetic based upon improvisation, ritual, and meditation.

Jamie Parry is the executive chef and owner of Another Fork in the Road, a Red Hook restaurant.

Bobby Previte is a drummer, composer, and bandleader.


Friday, April 8, 2016
2-5 pm

Roger Berkowitz
Jamie Parry
Brian Dewan

Friday, April 8, 2016
7-10 pm

Pauline Oliveros
Bobby Previte
David Degge

Saturday, April 9, 2016
2-5 pm

Chris Mann
John Kelly
Olive Carrollhach


Presented by Bard College, John Cage Trust, and Slought.

Sound Design and Programming by Peter Price; Staging by Ken Saylor; Graphic Design by Project Projects.

How to Get Started - Live! is adapted for Bard College from the permanent installation at Slought.

Initial productions of How to Get Started – Live! have been staged at Symphony Space in New York City and at Bryn Mawr College's Hepburn Teaching Theater in Pennsylvania, and featured performers such as violinist David Harrington (Kronos Quartet), poets Etgar Keret and Anne Waldman, and choreographers Douglas Dunn and Elizabeth Streb.

Related publications

Artist John Cage performs How to Get Started (1989), in which he explores the usefulness of improvisation and engages in an experiment with thinking in public, before a live audience.

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