Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him “one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music” (Hewett 2007). He is known for his ground-breaking work in electronic music, aleatory (controlled chance) in serial composition, and musical spatialization.
He was educated at the Hochschule für Musik Köln and the University of Cologne, and later studied with Olivier Messiaen in Paris, and with Werner Meyer-Eppler at the University of Bonn.
One of the leading figures of the Darmstadt School, his compositions and theories were and remain widely influential, not only on composers of art music, but also on jazz and popular-music artists. His works, composed over a period of nearly sixty years, eschew traditional forms. In addition to electronic music—both with and without live performers—they range from miniatures for musical boxes through works for solo instruments, songs, chamber music, choral and orchestral music, to a cycle of seven full-length operas. His theoretical and other writings comprise ten large volumes. He received numerous prizes and distinctions for his compositions, recordings, and for the scores produced by his publishing company.
Some of his notable compositions include the series of nineteen Klavierstücke (Piano Pieces), Kontra-Punkte for ten instruments, the electronic/musique-concrète Gesang der Jünglinge, Gruppen for three orchestras, the percussion solo Zyklus, Kontakte, the cantata Momente, the live-electronic Mikrophonie I, Hymnen, Stimmung for six vocalists, Aus den sieben Tagen, Mantra for two pianos and electronics, Tierkreis, Inori for soloists and orchestra, and the gigantic opera cycle Licht.
He died of sudden heart failure at the age of 79, on 5 December 2007 at his home in Kürten, Germany. — From Wikipedia
UBU has collected a couple of interesting Stockhausen films here.
“TRANS und so weiter…” (colour film by Gérard Patris, 1973)
Duration:ca. 60 minutes, Contents: In 1973 Gérard Patris made this film for the Zweite Deutsche Fernsehen (Second German Television) station during rehearsals and performances of Stockhausen works for the Recontres Internationales de Musique Contemporaine, in Metz: TRANS, MIKROPHONIE I, ZYKLUS, REFRAIN, KONTAKTE, AM HIMMEL WANDRE ICH, CEYLON. Language:German
Download English transcription [PDF, 82k]