Karlheinz Stockhausen

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Karlheinz Stockhausen August 22 1928 -

Modern composer.

Born in Burg Modarath, near Koln. He studied at the Cologne Musikhochschule and University (1947-51), at Darmstadt in 1951 and with Messiaen in Paris (1951-53). From 1954 to 1956, at the University of Bonn, he studied phonetics, acoustics, and information theory and composition. After lecturing at the contemporary music seminars at Darmstadt (1957), Stockhausen gave lectures and concerts in Europe and North America.

Stockhausen worked with serial and electronic procedures, with spatial placements of sound sources, and with graphical notation. Stockhausen is unconcerned with musical tradition and his work is influenced by Messiaen and Webern. He claims that he explores fundamental psychological and acoustic aspects of music. Despite his interest in electronic music he gives performers a large role in determining certain 'parameters' of a composition, in "Zyklus" for example the score is written is written so that the performance can start on any page, and it may be read upside down, or from right to left, or not, as the performer chooses.

In most of his works elements are played off against one another, simultaneously and successively: in "Kontrapunkte" (1953) pairs of instruments and extremes of note values 'confront' one another; in "Gruppen" (1959) fanfares and passages of varying speed are flung between three full orchestras, giving the impression of movement in space.

Stockhausen has written over 200 individual works.