John Cage

The most influential and controversial American experimental composer of the 20th century, John Cage was the father of indeterminism, a Zen-inspired aesthetic which expelled all notions of choice from the creative process. Rejecting the most deeply held compositional principles of the past -- logical consequence, vertical sensitivity, and tonality among them -- Cage created a groundbreaking alternative to the serialist method, deconstructing traditions established hundreds and even thousands of years earlier; the end result was a radical new artistic approach which impacted all of the music composed in its wake, forever altering not only the ways in which sounds are created but also how they're absorbed by audiences. Indeed, it's often been suggested that he did to music what Karl Marx did to government -- he leveled it.