John Cage
The Seasons – Ophelia – In a landscape


September 30th 2023

ADI Design Museum, Via Ceresio, 7 Milan

3.30 p.m. (first performance) and 6.30 p.m. (second performance)

Franco Venturini, piano [Soundinitiative – FR]
Giacomo De Luca, dancer and author
Conceived by Laura Faoro




“The first program that Cage and I shared was presented in New York in 1944. At the time, Cage worked in the mode he called “macro-micro cosmic rhythmic structure”… This method allowed music and dance to be kept separate and to meet only in certain points of the structure. Cage didn’t have to go into dance, except in some structural points, and I was free to vary the speeds and accents of the sentences and the movement inside the sentences, referring exclusively to the structural points to find ourselves.” (M. Cunningham).

Starting from “The Seasons” (1947) – design and costumes by Isamu Noguchi, former set designer for the Martha Graham Company for which Merce danced – dance and music begin to be definitively independent of each other. The two arts are no longer sisters like the Muses of ancient Greece, but share the same space and coexist at the same time. Free and autonomous. Cunningham begins to create his choreographies without music, in total silence, while Cage composes the music separately from the choreographic score. It’s an historical moment. Music and dance both gain their autonomy, unlike what had happened up to that point in both classical ballet and Modern Dance. It is the movement itself that determines its own rhythm and not an external rhythm. The choreographer/dancer learns to listen to a movement and repeat it until its definitive rhythmic form is clarified, given by the dynamics and quality of the movement itself.

By reading the I’ Ching book or Book of Changes, Cage, who previously used a magic square, understands the possibilities offered to him by the table of 64 hexagrams of the chinese I Ching and exploits it to obtain an oxymoron: the possibility to organize chance and introduce unpredictability into artistic creativity. Influenced by his discoveries, Cunningham also begins a similar research, developing his “Chance Method”: chance provides its “answer”, on movements, space, rhythm and cannot be changed, but accepted in its entirety. Thus the choreography is brought to the stage. In this way, according to Cunningham, it is possible to create choreographies which, not having underlying logical, personal or intuitive processes, can push the choreographer and the dancers outside of their habits.

“Each choreography is a set of movement problems, unpredictable, unusual, not relevant according to a traditional choreographic logic, yet fascinating. Merce Cunnigham gives us discontinuity, absence of climax, of solutions, he gives us transience, the unfinished, the possible and the impossible, but also not. Merce Cunningham gives us dance of movement and for movement”. (Anna Kisselgoff, New York Times, 1988).

This special Event at ADI Design Museum

The concert at the ADI Design Museum aims to propose a John Cage “Event”: the pianist Franco Venturini and the dancer Giacomo De Luca, assisted by the dramaturg Federica Siani, will give life to a performance that is an homage to the artistic couple Cage – Cunningham. It will combine the notes of the former with the lines of the latter, in an unprecedented site-specific rereading.

The setting for the event is the splendid Hall of the ADI Museum, a location that personifies John Cage’s tireless search for possible synergies between the arts, the event as an happening and the live performance.

For this particular performance two performances are scheduled, the first at 3.30 pm, the second at 6.30 pm.

The artists:

  • Franco Venturini, pianist and composer, member of the Paris-based multidisciplinary collective Soundinitiative New Music Ensemble and of the renowned Fontanamix ensemble from Bologna.
  • Giacomo De Luca, dance maker and researcher operating in the field of contemporary dance and visual and performing arts, is an emerging dancer, author and choreographer, trained at the Teatro alla Scala and perfected, among others, at the Venice Biennale with the dancers of the Merce Cunningham company.
Ph. credits: N. Evangelisti

Graduated summa cum laude in piano, composition, electronic music, Franco Venturini studied interpretation with M. Campanella and the Trio di Trieste at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and composition at the Accademia S. Cecilia in Rome with I. Fedele and at Université Paris 8, where he earned a Master’s degree. He furthered his training in international contexts such as the Center Acanthes in Metz and the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt, coming into contact with composers such as T. Murail, B. Furrer, W. Rihm, U. Chin, J. M. López López. The prizes and mentions obtained include: the Prix SACEM and the Prix ROUSSEL in the 8ème Concours International de piano d’Orléans, The modern recorder project–International Composition Competition of the Musikinstitut of Darmstadt, the Trio di Trieste Prize–Coral composition award, LEIBNIZ’S HARMONIES–Composition Competition in Hannover, the Forum de la Jeune Création Musicale of the S.I.M.C. in Paris, the Farnesina Sonoran Prize of the CEMAT Federation in Rome and the Sofia Soloists Composition Prize in Bulgaria.

He has performed in concert in several countries: Italy (Bologna Festival, Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna, Nuova Consonanza in Rome, REC/APERTO Festival, Ravello Concert Society, Trieste Prima, Festival Nuove Musiche in Palermo, MART in Rovereto), France (Salle Cortot, Théâtre Adyar, Center Pompidou and Manifeste IRCAM in Paris, Matinées du piano and FRAC Center in Orléans, GRAME in Lyon, Festival international de musique de Wissembourg), Spain (Centro de arte Reina Sophia in Madrid, Festival Mixtur in Barcelona), Austria (Schönberg Center in Vienna, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemasser Musik), Germany (KNM Contemporaries), Sweden (Connect Festival – Malmö), New Zealand, Australia (Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music, Brisbane Festival), Singapore (Yong Siew Toh Conservatory) , at the Zagreb Biennial and at the Slowind Festival in Ljubljana, collaborating with artists such as M. Pintscher, G. Knox, S. Gervasoni, N. Isherwood, L. Pfaff, L. Veggetti. He collaborates with the ensembles Soundinitiative, Accroche Note, FontanaMIX, particularly dedicated to the interpretation of contemporary repertoire, and with composers who have written expressly for him, carrying out first performances and recordings.

He has received commissions from the Venice Biennale Musica, the Arena Foundation in Verona, the Traiettorie Festival in Parma, Expo 2015 in Milan and L’Imaginaire in Strasbourg. He benefited from an artistic residency at the Institute of Italian Culture in Paris. His compositions have been performed in various festivals: Biennale Musica and Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Milano Musica, MITO, Traiettorie in Parma, Parco della Musica in Rome, Pharos Arts Foundation Music Festival in Cyprus, musikprotokoll in Graz, Musica par el tercer millenio in Madrid, Art Forum in Liepāja, Lee Foundation Theater of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore. The performers of his music include Quartetto Prometeo, Trío Arbós, the ensembles Proxima Centauri, Klangforum Wien, Divertimento, Icarus, FontanaMIX, Das Neue Ensemble. His works and performances have been broadcast on RAIRadio3, France Musique, Radio Österreich. His works are currently published by BABELSCORES. He obtained L’Aide à l’écriture for 2022 from the French Ministère de la Culture for a compositional project with the Soundinitiative ensemble.

He has held conference-concerts on contemporary music at music conservatories and universities in Italy and France (Roma Tre, Université de Bourgogne, Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Paris), regularly holds courses in performance practice of the contemporary repertoire at the Conservatory of Bologna and has coordinated pedagogical workshops on the practice of improvisation using electronic means in various conservatories in Île de France. He lives in Paris.

His curiosity for the arts, architecture, design, fashion, cinema, music and philosophy brings out his choreographic aptitude, exploring through the body the propagation of hybrid architectures, which weave a game of intertwining and shapes visual/sensory evolving in space.” TEDx 2022

Dancer and experimental artist, his language explores the body in a self-search that investigates human creativity.” The Venice Biennale of Dance 2022 by Wayne McGregor

“A lively performer, he ventures into a far from simple choreographic exploration, reshaping traditional movement patterns” Sipario

Giacomo De Luca, from Lecce, born in 1999, is an emerging dancer and young choreographer. Defined by La Repubblica as ‘the Italian Billy Eliot’, he currently lives and works between Italy and abroad, presenting and sharing his projects in theatres, festivals, installations, workshops and conferences. He approached dance at the age of 4 in his hometown and from the age of 13 he trained at the ballet school of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan, graduating in 2019. During the years of study he danced with the ballet company of the Teatro alla Scala for Opera and Ballet productions (2014-19) and with the Tokyo Ballet Company (2019). He performs on Rai 1 in the show “Danza con me” created and hosted by Roberto Bolle (2018,19) and he is a solo dancer for the Jas Art Ballet with the Étoile Carla Fracci (2019/20).

There are various prestigious realities in which he performs, working with international directors and choreographers such as Liliana Cavani, Alvis Hermanis, Heinz Spoerli, Alla Sigalova, Placido Domingo, Emanuela Tagliavia and on the repertoire of: Angelin Preljočaj, Maurice Béjart, William Forsythe, Jiří Kylian. Guest artist for Matteo Levaggi at the Oriente Ovest dance festival in Rovereto (2020), he is a scholarship holder for the Master in Choreography of Padova Danza Project (2020,2021). Personally chosen by Wayne McGregor, director of the Contemporary Dance sector at La Biennale Di Venezia, for La Biennale College Danza 2021 and 2022, he dance on stage unpublished creations signed by choreographers of great importance: Merce Cunningham Trust, for the homage to the American pioneer of post-modern dance, Wayne McGregor, Saburo Teshigawara (Golden Lion Award 2022), Raymond Pinto and Edit Domoszlai.

Since October 2022 he has been a member of Serra di Danza – Vivaio, the Italian company of Emio Greco | Pieter C. Scholten, with whom he joined the ICK Dans Amsterdam company for the 2023 season, dancing in the world premieres of We, the Eyes at the Ravenna Festival and We, the Angel for the summer festival at Castel Sant’Angelo. He recently joined the Nanou Group in Ravenna for the program of workshops and artistic residencies with among others Marco Valerio Amico, Stefania Tansini and Daniele Albanese. He created original works with artists from the IUAV of Venice and composers from the Pollini Conservatory of Padua for the Let us Dream International Festival (2021); he is selected for the Vetrina della Giovane Danza d’Autore of the La Sfera d’Oro Festival (2021).

He currently continues his artistic research as a dancer and young choreographer in parallel with his career as a professional dancer, investigating movement and physical thought, the places of knowledge of the body, the senses and universal connections, exploring in intensive periods the work with great names of the dance: Merce Cunningham Trust, Carolyn Carlson, Akham Khan, Cristina Krystal Rizzo, Batsheva Dance Company as well as pursuing an interest in Emio Greco, Saburo Teshigawara, Trisha Brown and continuing ballet studies, from Balanchine technique to somatic approaches, to yoga and gyrotonic.