April 1, 2013
The Swiss harpsichordist Antoinette Vischer (pictured above, at the HPSCHD premiere) was a fierce advocate of contemporary music, and commissioned new takes on the harpsichord by Luciano Berio and Earle Brown, among others.  In 1962, Vischer invited Cage to write her a piece and he agreed, despite his distaste for the instrument.  The result, seven years later, was HPSCHD.  (Better late than never.) Cage’s concept to incorporate a supercomputer and stage an elaborate multimedia spectacle may have been the last thing Vischer expected from her commission.—Nick Hallett

The Swiss harpsichordist Antoinette Vischer (pictured above, at the HPSCHD premiere) was a fierce advocate of contemporary music, and commissioned new takes on the harpsichord by Luciano Berio and Earle Brown, among others.  In 1962, Vischer invited Cage to write her a piece and he agreed, despite his distaste for the instrument.  The result, seven years later, was HPSCHD.  (Better late than never.) Cage’s concept to incorporate a supercomputer and stage an elaborate multimedia spectacle may have been the last thing Vischer expected from her commission.—Nick Hallett