Pioneering Electronic Composer Dies

Stockhausen Tribute      09/12/07
Pioneering Electronic Composer Dies

Avante garde electronic composer Karlheinz Stockhausen has died at the age of 79.
During a long and prolific career he composed a total of 362 works.
His compositions consistently challenged convention and classification and he was all too familiar with carefully defining the line between genius and absurdity.

He is known for building his intricate layered soundscapes using a combination of electronics, unconventional instruments and found sound. Notably he once composed an opera in 7 parts with duration of 29 hours.
Other Masterworks included Gruppen composed for 109 players divided into 3 sections and situated on 3 sides of the audience.
In 1967 he wrote a piece that included snatches from 137 radio transmitted national anthems with static and crowd noises.
Keen to experiment with juxtaposition, ‘Gesang der Junglinge’ places a young boys voice against an unearthly electronic backdrop.

He has accumulated a number of awards and honours including the Distinguished Service Cross (1st Class), membership of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome, the Academy of the Arts in Berlin, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and honoury membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London.

A major influence on contemporary music of the 50s and 60s, artists such as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa and notably The Beatles have all paid homage to his genius. The Beatles offering the ultimate accolade with his inclusion among the cut out icons on the cover of Sgt. Peppers.

The composer was married twice and had six children. He will be buried in a forest cemetery in the town of Kuerten, near Cologne.

There will be further reference to Stockhausen’s work in Sonic State’s upcoming series on the world of found sound, The Art Of Sampling.

  • Official Stockhausen Website
  • Stockhausen Discography
  • Top 5 Greatest Samplers Episode One


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    8 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
    Catalin Truta    Said...

    I really don't get this "genius" thing regarding Stockhausen. If crazy, or strange is what genius is then it would be possible. And I listened some of his music. "Do not confuse the new Art with the new artists", said a true genius, Constantin Brancusi. Just being an avantgardist doesn't automatically imply geniality IMHO.

    09-Dec-07 04:30 PM

    Jason Noghani    Said...

    Stockhausen was a genius. He constantly requestioned what music was and was capable of in every piece which he wrote, and that is true genius! He once said that the more unlike anything else something is than the greater it is, and his music doesnt sound like anything else. Thats pure genius!

    09-Dec-07 06:35 PM

    Mr. Tunes    Said...

    this news clipping, as well as many others that i've skimmed over on google, do not mention the cause of death.

    09-Dec-07 06:44 PM

    anony    Said...

    "excessive lack of life"

    10-Dec-07 06:39 AM

    Daniel Diver    Said...

    His funeral march will be played on three radios and a sine wave generator.

    10-Dec-07 06:53 AM

    Floyd Thursday    Said...

    Rest in peace. If peace is the right word for that racket.

    10-Dec-07 06:56 AM

    Ambience    Said...

    He was a genius and at least half a century ahead of his time.

    10-Dec-07 11:16 AM

    zj    Said...

    Berio, Ligeti, Stockhausen... who is going to take it over? are we ready?

    10-Dec-07 05:43 PM

    Post a comment 

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