Karlheinz Stockhausen

Mödrath, Germany, 1928 — Kürten, Germany, 2007

  • Composer

Considered a leader in international musical world, Karlheinz Stockhausen endlessly explored new paths to creativity. His work describes a particulary broad trajectory, extending its roots in the Second Viennese School (Schönberg, Berg, Webern) but reaching up in search of the sublime and métaphysics. In 1951, after studying at the Cologne National Music Conservatory, Stockhausen participated in the summer classes in Darmstadt, where he discovered Messiaen’s generalised serialism. During this period, he explored various musical genres, from the rigidity of integral serialism (Kreuzspiel, 1951; Kontra-Punkte, 1953) to the freedom of alleatory music (Klavierstücke XI, 1956; Gruppen, 1957). In the following years, he experimented with the possibilities the new technologies offered. A professor at the Kölner Kurse für Neue Musik (1963-1968), the University of Pennsylvania (1965), and the University of California (1966-1967), Stockhausen continued his many activities as a performer, a theoretician, and a lecturer in many countries. In 1977, when he was a professor of composition at the Cologne National Music Conservatory, Stockhausen wrote Der Jahreslauf, the first part of a sound fresco composed of seven operas (one for each day of the week). The performance for Licht was spread over an entire week, almost thirty-five hours of music. He has composed over 300 works and published 10 volumes of Texte zur MUSIK / Texts about music, comprising sketches and explanations about his own works (Stockhausen-Verlag). Since 1998, the Stockhausen Courses Kürten for composers, interpreters, musicologists and auditors take place annually.

SMCQ, avec la collaboration de Marie-Hélène Breault [x-08]