August 22, 1928
Mödrath, near Cologne, Germany
December 5, 2007 in Kürten, Germany
Also Known As:
Karlheinz Stockhausen was an influential and innovative German composer and educator of the 20th and early 21st century. He was the first to compose music from sine-wave sounds. Stockhausen experimented with tape recorders and electronic instruments.
Type of Compositions:
Stockhausen's works were influenced by the principles of serialism and indeterminancy. Serialism was based on Schoenberg's 12-tone system which was continued by his student Anton von Webern. Serialism used a strict musical formula that was difficult to play. Indeterminancy, also called aleatonic or chance music, is a technique popularized by John Cage wherein the composer gives the musician the freedom to interpret his music.
Stockhausen attended Cologne's State Academy for Music and further pursued his education at the University of Cologne. Afterward, he went to Paris and studied with Olivier Messiaen and Darius Milhaud. He also attended the University of Bonn from 1954 to 1956 where he studied with Werner Meyer-Eppler. From 1963 to 1977, Stockhausen was the artistic director of the West German Broadcasting, He also taught composition at the State Academy for Music in Cologne from 1971 to 1977.
His notable works include: "Studie," "Studie II," "Kreuzspiel," "Momente," "Klavierstück XI," "Kontra-Punkte," "Gruppen," "Zeitmasze," "Gesang der Jünglinge," "Kontakte" (for electronic tape, live piano and percussion), "Mikrophonie I," "Stimmung," "Hymnen" (includes various national anthems), "Mantra," "Licht" (an opera cycle), "Klang," "Zyklus," "Kurzwellen mit Beethoven," "Aus den sieben Tagen," "Trans" and "Sirius."
Stockhausen published 10 volumes of texts about music. He established a publishing company called Stockhausen-Verlag. He has honorary doctorates from the Free University (Berlin) and Queen’s University (Belfast).
More information is available at Karlheinz Stockhausen's official Web site.
Listen to Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Hymnen" courtesy of YouTube.