Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks - BRSO

105 Friends – Chamber Concerts

Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg, Twombly, Johns, and the BRSO

Museum Brandhorst © Cy Twombly Foundation. Foto: Haydar Koyupinar, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Museum Brandhorst, München

In 2025, Munich hosts the exhibition “Five Friends” (April 10 – August 17, 2025) at the Museum Brandhorst, dedicated to the works of Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Merce Cunningham, and John Cage – thus, for the first time, addressing the exploration of this artistic community.

With its focus on cultural policy during the Cold War and especially on the question of what it means to be a homosexual artist during this time, the exhibition offers new perspectives on the historiography of post-war modernism.

Now, with the BRSO, roughly 100 friends join: As part of a collaboration with the Museum Brandhorst, the focus is on the composer John Cage. The museum hosts various chamber music evenings and discussion events, as well as programmes from “BRSO und du“.

“105 Friends” – Chamber Concerts

Sat. April 26, 2025, 7:00 pm
Tue. May 6, 2025, 7:00 pm
Tue. May 13, 2025, 7:00 pm

Tue. June 17, 2025, 7:00 pm
Additional dates to be announced

Concert Introduction and Exhibition Tour: 6:00 pm
€ 18 | 10


Background information

Late 1930s: John Cage and Merce Cunningham meet, become a couple, and start their collaboration, which will go on to last over 50 years.

In 1952, they teach at the legendary Black Mountain College (BMC) in North Carolina, where they encounter the two art students Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly. Subsequently, Rauschenberg creates numerous stage sets and costume designs for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, also founded at BMC.

In 1953, Twombly and Rauschenberg travel to Italy, Spain, and North Africa, developing their specific visual language: Twombly with his eccentric, graffiti-like painting, Rauschenberg with his famous “Combines,” which merge the traditional media of painting, sculpture, drawing, and photography.

In 1954, Rauschenberg meets Jasper Johns, and they too work side by side for years, in close personal and conceptual exchange with Cunningham and Cage.

From 1954, Rauschenberg becomes the artistic advisor to the Cunningham Dance Company.

In 1964, John Cage organizes a world tour of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, accompanied by Rauschenberg as a set designer. From then on, they are world-famous.

In 1965, Jasper Johns takes over the artistic direction of the company.

Museum Brandhorst © Cy Twombly Foundation. Foto: Haydar Koyupinar, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Museum Brandhorst, München

The political context of the Cold War permeates the work of all five artists. They articulate a nuanced critique of the imperial world power of the USA and develop visions of a free and non-hierarchically organized society.

Although the five artists never formed a fixed group, they share a common aesthetic idea and profoundly influence international art, music, and dance history.