Dr.Godfried-Willem RAES

Kursus Experimentele Kompositie: Inleiding

Hogeschool Gent : School of Arts

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[persbericht van Associated Press, 04.02.2001:]

Composer Iannis Xenakis, known as one of contemporary music's most innovative and erudite creators, died Sunday, february 4th of 2001, in his Paris home, the Association of Friends of Xenakis said. He was 78.

Also a mathematician and engineer, Xenakis first attracted attention as an architect, working with Le Corbusier on the French designer's famous pavilion for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair.

For the fair, Xenakis composed an electronic work that brought recognition to his musical talent: ``Concerto PH,'' whose sole sound source was amplified burning charcoal. Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Xenakis would be remembered for compiling ``one of the most progressive chapters in the history of music.'' . Claude Helleu, secretary-general of the Association of Friends of Xenakis, called the composer, ``one of the greatest geniuses of this century.'' ``He connected his notions of mathematics and his profession of architecture to a unique oeuvre that we're realizing has greater and greater importance,'' Helleu said.

Born in Romania on May 29, 1922 to wealthy Greek parents, Xenakis moved to Greece at age 10. He earned an engineering degree at Athens Polytechnic.

When World War II began, Xenakis joined the resistance against German occupation of Greece and suffered an injury that caused him to lose sight in one eye. Under the postwar Greek government, Xenakis was condemned to death in 1945, prompting him to flee the country and begin a new life in France. The death sentence was lifted 29 years later. In Paris and Switzerland, Xenakis took up music, studying with composers Hermann Scherchen, Darius Milhaud and Olivier Messiaen. ``We will not forget that Iannis Xenakis ... chose France for deploying his talent,'' French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said in a condolence statement. Xenakis is credited with having invented ``stochastic music,'' composed with computers and based on mathematical probability systems. One of his electro-acoustic manipulations is the eerie yet delicate ``Bohor,'' using sounds derived from jingling jewelry and coupling freight cars. He is also widely recognized for percussion-ensemble works, notably ``The Pleiades.'' Honored around the world, Xenakis won Sweden's Polar Music Prize - along with Stevie Wonder - in 1999. The annual prize goes to one classical and one popular musician. He became a member of France's Academie des Beaux Arts in 1984, won Japan's Kyoto Prize in 1997 and Italy's Critic's Prize of Turin in 1990.



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