Overview

Iannis Xenakis

(1922—2001) French composer and architect, of Greek descent


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(b Braila, Romania, 1922; d Paris, 2001).

Romanian‐born Gr. composer (Fr. cit. 1965). Parents moved back to Gr. in 1932. Began mus. study 1934 with Kundurov. Fought in Gr. Resistance during Second World War and was condemned to death. Went to Paris 1947, studying with Honegger and Milhaud, later with Messiaen 1950–1. Worked as architect with Le Corbusier 1947–60; designed Philips pavilion for 1958 Brussels Exhibition. Est. School of Mathematical and Automated Music, Paris 1966 and at Indiana Univ. where he also taught 1967–72. Prof. of mus., Sorbonne, 1972–89. Although he used elecs., most of Xenakis's works employ traditional human forces, but embody his concept of stochastic music. This mathematical term, as applied to mus., is a theory of probability: that the results of chance will reach a determinate end. In contrast to the aleatory processes of Cage and others, Xenakis worked to retain the composer's domination of his material, and calculated the events in his mus. himself or by means of a computer, e.g. speeds of glissandi, density of sonorities, etc. Xenakis converted the printout from the computer either into a score for conventional instr. or into an elec. comp. In 2 works, Duel and Stratégie, he used his ‘theory of games’ to introduce an aleatory element into perf., but the rules of the games are strictly pre‐determined. Prin. works:

ballets:

Kraanerg

, orch., tape (1968–9);

Antikhthon

(1971).

theatre music:

Oresteia

, bar., ch., chamber ens. (1965–6);

The Bacchae

(1992–3).

orch.:

Metastasis

(After‐standstill), 61 players (1953–4);

Pithoprakta

, 50 players (1955–6);

Achorripsis

, 21 players (1956–7);

ST/10

, 10 players (1956–62);

Atrées

, 10 instr. (1958–62);

Analogiques A and B

, str., tape (1959);

Duel

, 2 orch. (1959);

Syrmos

, 18 str. (1959);

ST/48

, 48 instr. (1959–62);

Stratégie

, 2 orch. and 2 cond. (1959–62);

Akrata

, 16 wind instr. (1964–5);

Terrêtektorh

, orch. deployed among audience (1966);

Polytope de Montréal

, 4 small orch. (1967);

Nomos gamma

, orch. deployed among audience (1967–8);

Synaphaï

, pf., orch. (1969);

Aroura

, str. (1971);

Eridanos

, 68 players (1973);

Erikhthon

, pf., orch. (1974);

Noomena

(1975);

Empreintes

(1975);

Ionchaies

(1977);

Pour les Baleines

, str. (1982);

Palimpsest

, pf., ens. (1982);

Shaar

, str. (1983);

Lichens

(1983);

Alax

(1985);

Horos

(1986);

Keqrops

, pf., orch. (1986);

Tracées

(1987);

Ata

(1987);

Tuorakemsu

(1990);

Kyania

(1990);

Krinoïdi

(1991);

Roáï

(1991).

tape:

Diamorphoses

, 2‐track (1957–8);

Conret PH

, 2‐track (1958);

Analogique B

, 2‐track (1958–9);

Orient‐Occident

, 2‐track (1960);

The Thessaloniki World Fair

, 1‐track (1961);

Bohor

, 4‐track (1962);

Hibiki‐han‐ama

, 12‐track (1969–70);

Persepolis

, 8‐track (1971);

Polytope de Cluny

, 8‐track, lighting (1972);

Polytope II

, tape, lighting (1974);

Bohor II

, 4‐track (1975);

Diatope

, 4 or 8‐track (1977);

Mycènes Alpha

, 2‐track (1978);

Pour la paix

, vers. for 4‐track (1981);

Taurtriphanie

, 2‐track (1987);

Voyage absolu des Unari vers Andromède

, 2‐track (1989);

Gendy3

, 2‐track (1991).

chamber & ens.:

ST/4

, str. qt. (1956–62);

ST/10

, cl., bcl., 2 hn., hp., perc., str. qt. (1956–62);

[...]

Subjects: Music.



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