Paul Lazar – Photo © Martin Rottenkolber

Cage Shuffle; Created and Performed by Paul Lazar; Choreographed by Annie-B Parson

Cage Shuffle is beautiful, profound and hilarious—as all things should be.” – David Byrne 

Opening John Cage’s Japan at Japan Society; An Original Performance Series Celebrating the Composer’s Relationship with Japanese Culture

Two Nights Only: Thursday, September 28 at 7:30 pm – Followed by a Private Gathering for Artists and Members; Friday, September 29 at 7:30 pm – Followed by an Artist Q&A; Tickets to each show are $35; $28 for Japan Society members; Tickets On Sale Now at

Discover Cage Shuffle, the critically acclaimed 50-minute spoken-word solo work comprising a randomly determined set of texts taken from John Cage’s 1963 “score,” Indeterminacy. In this captivating performance, the beloved New York performer Paul Lazar brings dozens of Cage’s personal anecdotes to life, following the composer’s notated instructions to present each aloud in exactly one minute. Through a mesmerizing blend of spoken word and meticulously choreographed movement by Tony Award-winner Annie-B Parson, audiences are treated to a thrilling experience where text and motion intertwine, creating connections that amuse and provoke contemplation. This production has wowed audiences worldwide since its 2017 premiere in New York but, for this one-of-a-kind John Cage’s Japan performance, Lazar has packed the overall deck of roughly 200 pieces with handpicked Cage commentary on Japanese themes, Zen philosophy, and reminiscences as well as quotes from Cage’s noteworthy friends and contemporaries, including D.T. Suzuki, Isamu Noguchi and Hidekazu Yoshida.

Cage Shuffle is the opening performance in Japan Society’s multi-month celebration of the special relationship between the iconoclastic American composer John Cage and the country of Japan. When Cage first toured Japan in 1962, the resulting series of concerts served to draw attention to the rhymes between his works and the sounds of avant-garde and classical Japanese music, cementing him as a pivotal artistic figure in the East and reinforcing many of Cage’s creative impulses. Cage would continue to visit and perform in Japan multiple times throughout his life. Indeed, as Japan Society’s Artistic Director Yoko Shioya boldly posits, “If John Cage had not encountered Japanese culture, there would have been no John Cage!” In support of this assertion, Japan Society presents John Cage’s Japan, an original series of Cage-centric programming scheduled to take place this fall and winter at the Japan Society auditorium at 333 East 47th Street.

Following Cage Shuffle, John Cage’s Japan continues with innovative concerts curated by the composer, musician and internationally-recognized Cage expert Tomomi Adachi, in collaboration with New York’s own International Contemporary Ensemble, America’s leading ensemble for new instrumental work. Programs on October 21, November 16, and December 7 will each feature unique programming and acclaimed international guest performers, including Broadway vocalist and avant-garde composer Gelsey Bell, Noh actor Wakako Matsuda, and experimental sound artists Tania Caroline Chen and Victoria Shen. Program details and lineup are subject to change.

Tickets for Cage Shuffle and all John Cage’s Japan performances are on sale now. Visit for ticket links and more information.

Future Programs in the JOHN CAGE’S JAPAN Schedule


John Cage’s Ryoanji 

Directed by Tomomi Adachi

Performed by International Contemporary Ensemble with Hitomi Nakamura and Maki Ota

Saturday, October 21 at 8:30 pm

Preceded by a Lecture from Cage Scholar James Pritchett at 7:30 pm

Tickets are $40; $32 for Japan Society members


Tomomi Adachi’s Noh-opera / Noh-tation: Decoding John Cage’s Unrealized Project 

Composed by Tomomi Adachi

Performed by Gelsey Bell, Wakako Matsuda, and Tomomi Adachi with International Contemporary Ensemble

Thursday, November 16 at 7:30 pm

Followed by an Artist Q&A 

Tickets are $40; $32 for Japan Society Members


Cage Shock: An Homage to His First Japan Visit

Curated by Tomomi Adachi

Performed by Tania Caroline Chen, Victoria Shen, and Tomomi Adachi with International Contemporary Ensemble

Performing John Cage’s HaikuAriaSolo for Piano with Fontana Mix0’00” 

and Toshi Ichiyanagi’s Sapporo

Thursday, December 7 at 7:30 pm

Followed by a Private Gathering for Artists and Members

Preceded by a Lecture from Cage Scholar James Pritchett at 6:30 pm

Tickets are $40; $32 for Japan Society members 

About Japan Society

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Japan Society is the premier organization connecting Japanese arts, culture, business, and society with audiences in NYC and around the world. In over 100 years of work, we’ve inspired generations by establishing ourselves as pioneers in supporting international exchanges in arts and culture, business and policy, as well as education between Japan and the US. From our New York headquarters, a landmark building designed by architect Junzo Yoshimura that opened to the public in 1971, we are perfectly situated to strive forward into the next century.  

Since the inception of Japan Society Performing Arts Program, the Program has brought 1000+ productions of and inspired by Japan to audiences in NYC and beyond through North American tours organized by Japan Society. Programs range from the traditional arts to contemporary theater, dance and music. Since the establishment of the Performing Arts Endowment in 2005, the Society also commissions non-Japanese artists to create Japan-related new works through fostering cross-cultural collaboration that has become part of its important mission.

Support for the 2023-2024 Japan Society Performing Arts Season

The season is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Major support for the season is generously provided by Doug and Teresa Peterson, and Hisamitsu America, Inc. Endowment support is provided by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund; the John and Miyoko Davey Endowment Fund; and the Endowment for the Performing Arts, established with a leadership gift from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Additional support is provided by Nancy and Joe Walker, Dr. and Mrs. Carl F. Taeusch II, Dr. Jeanette C. Takamura, Estate of Alan M. Suhonen, and Friends of the Performing Arts. All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. is the official airline of the Japan Society Performing Arts Program. Yamaha is the official piano provider of Japan Society.

Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Support for John Cage’s Japan is generously provided by Doug and Teresa Peterson and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from Nancy and Joe Walker and the Nomura Foundation.