Cherry blossom is of such importance in Japan, that weather stations track the sakura zensen (cherry blossom front). Hanami, the centuries old practice of drinking under the bows of a blossoming sakura still continues to this day. In Japan, people meet beneath the burgeoning cherry trees in parks and public spaces to celebrate this natural spectacle and welcome in spring.
The cherry blossom is an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, something known in Japan as mono no aware, or the ‘passing of things’.
These concepts were no doubt familiar to John CageRyoanji takes its title from the famous ornamental ‘zen’ garden at the Ryoan-ji temple in Kyoto, considered the finest surviving example of karesansui (dry landscape) rock garden. It comprises 15 rocks placed in a landscape of white, raked sand. At no point is it possible to view all 15 rocks at once, symbolising the mystery and ‘unknowingness’ at the heart of Zen Buddhism. Cage began composing Ryoanji in 1983. At the same time he began a series of drawings Where R=Ryoanji by tracing round 15 different stones, at various systematic and chance dependent rotations.

BCMG Artistic Director, Stephan Meier says:

"It’s only natural to search for nature, from which our ways of living have secluded us more and more. And whilst any idyll of nature might seem to have disappeared altogether, there remains the need for reassuring ourselves just how much we are feeling the lack.
Precisely the same is true in music: composers articulating this search, au recherche de la nature perdu, with the true and encouraging answers only music can provide."