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Stewart Lee, Tania Chen & Steve Beresford perform John Cage’s ‘Indeterminacy’

Thursday 14th December 2017 6:30pm - 8:30pm 107 Charing Cross Road Ray's Jazz Event, Music Event, Chargeable Event

Once upon a time, Steve Beresford played Tania Chen the Folkways CD of Indeterminacy, by John Cage and David Tudor. On it, Cage told ninety stories, each one minute long, and, in another room and unable to hear Cage, Tudor played the piano and tapes - originally released on two LPs in 1959.

Tania liked the recording very much and immediately suggested performing the piece. Steve suggested Stewart Lee to read the stories. Stewart agreed.

The three of them have now performed the piece - trimmed to thirty or forty stories, randomly selected - many times. In their version, everyone can hear each other.


Stewart Lee - Reading

Tania Chen - Objects

Steve Beresford – Objects

Solo For Sliding Trombone by John Cage performed by Alan Tomlinson.


The performance will be followed by a Q&A with the performers and author, David Toop.



Stewart Lee is a writer and comedian. He won the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year in 1990. He is currently approaching the end of a 230 date tour of his new show Content Provider

Steve Beresford has been a central figure in the British improvising scene for over thirty years, working with the likes of Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, Christian Marclay and Alterations. He has an extensive discography as performer, arranger, composer and producer, and was awarded a Paul Hamlyn award for composers in 2012.

Tania Chen has been improvising since she was age 4. She sometimes plays the piano, and sometimes uses objects, electronics, and videos that she makes. Her discography includes solo recordings of quite difficult but beautiful piano music and recordings with Henry Kaiser, David Toop, Thurston Moore, and Jon Leidecker. Forthcoming releases are: John Cage's Electronic Music for Piano, and a duo album with Wadada Leo Smith. Tania has not won any awards yet.

Alan Tomlinson has been active in London and European improvised music scene since late 70's with concerts all over Europe. He works professionally in most fields of music with his own trio and as a member of the contemporary music groups Sounds Positive.

''...Tomlinson stormed away with the whole show'' - The Wire

''...a performer of uncanny precision and equipped with unlimited sound effects, played brilliantly'' - John Fordham, The Guardian

David Toop is a composer/musician, author and curator based in London who has worked in many fields of sound art, music, performance and writing. He has recorded Yanomami shamanism in Amazonas, appeared on Top of the Pops, exhibited sound installations internationally, and collaborated with many musicians and artists. His books include Ocean of SoundHaunted WeatherSinister Resonance, Into the Maelstrom and his recent autobiography Flutter Echo, published in Japan.


Venue: The Auditorium at Foyles, Level 6, 107 Charing Cross Road



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