John Cage's 639 Year-Long Piece Changes Chords

Sep 11, 2020

It's a chord change 7 years in the making. Plus, stories about music drowning out hate speech, fixing our mental health, and more! 

1. There are few instruments that awe quite like an organ. The reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral's great organ after last year's fire gives us a unique opportunity to find out how it works.

2. Is music the key to managing your mental health during these stressful times? Some researchers think so.

3. Great Performances' series "Now Hear This" is like a food show, or a travelogue, only it's about music. Watch the trailer, and check out this article about it in The Washington Post.

4. A Danish jazz collective is drowning out hate speech at demonstrations by playing "gruesome music against gruesome words."

5. When it comes to making symphony orchestras more diverse, everyone has an idea -- but who better to ask than the musicians themselves? The New York Times did just that. Read their thoughts here.

6. UK music teacher Helen Minshall recently swam lake Windermere while playing the trombone, to help her colleagues and other musicians whos jobs have been affected by the coronavirus. 

7. Constance Weldon was the first woman to play tuba in a major American orchestra -- and it took another 50 years before the second was appointed. Weldon died in August, and her obituary is absolutely fascinating.

8. Composer John Cage's piece, "As Slow as Possible," is currently being performed at a church in Germany. Here are a couple of wild facts about it: the performance will last for 639 years; it began 19 years ago with a pause that lasted 18 months; over this past weekend, visitors flocked to hear its first chord change in 7 years