BGSU pianist honors John Cage at concert

BOWLING GREEN, O.—The audience at Thomas Rosenkranz’s free, 3 p.m. piano concert Feb. 19 in the Toledo Museum of Art’s Great Gallery will hear the instrument played in a different way. Rosenkranz, an assistant professor of piano at Bowling Green State University, will perform “Sonatas and Interludes” by renowned American composer John Cage using Cage’s “prepared piano” technique.

“John Cage came up with this way of preparing the piano when he was asked to compose a percussion piece for an upcoming dance ensemble,” Rosenkranz said in an email. “There happened to be no percussion instruments around at the time and only a grand piano. As a result, he famously turned the piano into something drastically different by changing each of the string's timbre by way of inserting these nuts and bolts in between the strings.

“It ends up sounding like a strange Indonesian Gamelan or something from the Far East,” he said.

“Sonatas and Interludes” is about 50 minutes long and has no intermission.

This year marks the 100th birthday (Sept. 5) of Cage, a pioneer of experimental, avant-garde music and electroacoustic music.

Rosenkranz has been a faculty member at BGSU since 2008. He has performed on four continents and in 2011 was a visiting professor at Sichuan Conservatory of Music in China. As a Cultural Ambassador sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, he often travels to North Africa and the Middle East promoting goodwill through his performances and his longstanding collaborations with musicians from other cultures. He received the Classical Music Fellowship Award from the American Pianists Association.

For more information about Rosenkranz, visit his website at


(Posted February 06, 2012 )

Updated: 12/02/2017 12:57AM