By Matt Pahulick
Staff Writer

The Arts and Humanities Division presented its Signature Series with Eliza Garth playing the piano works of John Cage Sept. 17 in the Stocker Center Studio Theatre.

Garth’s approach to John Cage’s work was to bring forth the “outside of the box” thinking that made him stand out as a composer and as an individual. After giving a brief overview of Cage’s career and life, Garth seated herself behind her prepared piano and let her hands do the remainder of the speaking. The clangs and pangs coming from within the piano silenced the room as the crowd watched in appreciation.

Eliza Garth warms up to play prepared piano for the concert. In prepared piano, objects are strategically placed inside the piano to affect the timbre and tone of the instrument. Garth performed selections from the work of John Cage. Drew Scofield/The Collegian

The phenomenon of prepared piano, or placing objects within the piano itself to alter its timbre and tone was widely used by Cage who used it in many of his sonatas and other various compositions including his interludes. Throughout the four that were introduced at the concert, without pause, Garth expressed the musical ideas of Cage.

As final notes of the lasts interlude rang to a close, applause arose from the crowd for Garth as she stood and bowed. Applause continued, amidst pleas for an encore performance. Patricia Pye, a Culinary Arts major, said of the concert, “Being an artist myself it was one of the hardest pieces to perform.” Pye said it was reminiscent of the 1962 film “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”

Another attendant of the concert, Elyria resident Mary Cooper said she appreciated Garth’s talent despite the music not being to her preference.
“She was very talented, but for me the sounds were a bit too fragmented. When it comes to classical music I prefer a steadier pace and more even keel,” said Cooper.

The Signature Series will continue Oct. 4 with Julietta Curenton playing the flute. The concert will be in the Studio Theatre at 7:30 p.m. and is free to attend.
For more information about the Signature Series, visit