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Cage, John (1912–1992)
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Thomas S.Hines, who interviewed Cage in his last years, has been able to fill in the details of the early life. The son of a male inventor and a woman with feminist leanings, Cage grew up in the Los Angeles area, graduated from Los Angeles High School and Pomona College, and then in 1930 took the familiar path for American artists to Paris. In this foreign atmosphere his interest in all the arts-and his sexuality-flourished. He returned to the United States in 1931 with a lover, an aspiring artist named Don Sample, with whom he lived for a number of years in a nonexclusive relationship. Feeling that his sexual life was chaotic (did his later musical ideas of chance and indeterminacy owe something to his cruising episodes along the Palisades in Santa Monica?), he began to have affairs with women, eventually marrying the highly artistic Xenia An-dreevna Kashevaroff. It was also during the Los Angeles years that he began to focus increasingly on music, rather than art, and studied with Richard Bühlig, Henry Cowell, and even the European master-composer Arnold Schoenberg. A year in New York got him introduced into the Virgil Thomson circle, which he took by storm, having a short affair with the architect Philip Johnson. In 1938 Cage and Xenia moved to Seattle, where they met a teenaged dancer named Merce Cunningham, whose effect on Cage led at length to a painful breakup with Xenia: he moved to New York with Cunningham in 1942, the year he wrote Credo in Us.