PIANO RECITAL CLEARS ROOM,
Local Pianist Wins Prize and Distances Fans with New 12-Tone Composition
From The Lehigh Valley Luna, March 15, 1933
At the recent 2nd annual Sussex County Young Pianists Competition, a local girl performed an original composition. 12-year-old Selene Medium introduced her work as, “Voices of the Past,” and claimed it to be an actual interpretation of voices from deceased residents of the tri-state area.
Because of the general cacophony one would expect from such a piece, the audience grew restless. They soon began to leave, grumbling quietly to themselves about “heebee-jeebees.”
“At first I thought she just couldn’t play,” said local Music Guild vice president Ernest Bowtie, “and then she started speaking along with the music, saying all sorts of things my mother would say before she passed away.”
The piece was of the contemporary variety: without a sense of key, rhythm, melody, or any of the other niceties of music (the Guild had enough good sense to put the performance last). By the end of the performance, the only people left were the members of the girl’s family, and a Mr. John Cage from New York’s New School for Social Research. Mr. Cage enjoyed the piece thoroughly and has commissioned another on behalf of a circle of Greenwich Village composers. Go figure.