Recommended by Steven Laffoley-Edwards – Deputy Director (Stage & Events)

4′ 33″ composed by John Cage (1912–1992)

Pronounced: “four minutes, thirty-three seconds” or just “four thirty-three”, this is a three-movement composition.

Composed in 1952, for any instrument or combination of instruments, the score instructs the performer(s) not to play their instrument(s) during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements.

The piece consists of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed.

Although it is commonly perceived as “four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence”, the title of the piece refers to the total length in minutes and seconds of a given performance – 4′ 33″ being the total length of the first public performance.

When was the last time you listened to, or even performed this piece? Give it a go: you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.