Karlheinz Stockhausen

About Karlheinz Stockhausen

Who is it?: Composer
Birth Day: August 19, 1922
Birth Place: Mödrath, German
Died On: December 5, 2007
Birth Sign: Virgo

Karlheinz Stockhausen


Karlheinz Stockhausen is Composer born on August 19, 1922 in Mödrath, German. As of 2018 Karlheinz Stockhausen net worth is approximately $1.7 Million. Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer who is widely regarded as one among, if not the most influential figure of the world of music in the 20th century.

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💰 Net worth: $1.7 Million

Famous Quotes:

a spherical space which is fitted all around with loudspeakers. In the middle of this spherical space a sound-permeable, transparent platform would be suspended for the listeners. They could hear music composed for such standardized spaces coming from above, from below and from all points of the compass. (Stockhausen Texte, 1:153)



His Father, Simon Stockhausen, was a schoolteacher, and his mother Gertrud (née Stupp) was the daughter of a prosperous family of farmers in Neurath in the Cologne Bight. A daughter, Katherina, was born the year after Karlheinz, and a second son, Hermann-Josef ("Hermännchen") followed in 1932. Gertrud played the piano and accompanied her own singing but, after three pregnancies in as many years, experienced a mental breakdown and was institutionalized in December 1932, followed a few months later by the death of her younger son, Hermann (Kurtz 1992, 8, 11, 13).


From the age of seven, Stockhausen lived in Altenberg, where he received his first piano lessons from the Protestant organist of the Altenberg Cathedral, Franz-Josef Kloth (Kurtz 1992, 14). In 1938 his Father remarried. His new wife, Luzia, had been the family's housekeeper. The couple had two daughters (Kurtz 1992, 18). Because his relationship with his new stepmother was less than happy, in January 1942 Karlheinz became a boarder at the teachers' training college in Xanten, where he continued his piano training and also studied oboe and violin (Kurtz 1992, 18). In 1941 he learned that his mother had died, ostensibly from leukemia, although everyone at the same hospital had supposedly died of the same disease. It was generally understood that she had been a victim of the Nazi policy of killing "useless eaters" (Stockhausen 1989a, 20–21; Kurtz 1992, 19). The official letter to the family falsely claimed she had died 16 June 1941, but recent research by Lisa Quernes, a student at the Landesmusikgymnasium in Montabaur, has determined that she was gassed along with 89 other people at the Hadamar Euthanasia Centre in Hesse-Nassau on 27 May 1941 (Anon. 2014). Stockhausen dramatized his mother's death in hospital by lethal injection, in Act 1 scene 2 ("Mondeva") of the opera Donnerstag aus Licht (Kurtz 1992, 213). In the autumn of 1944, he was conscripted to serve as a stretcher bearer in Bedburg (Kurtz 1992, 18). In February 1945, he met his Father for the last time in Altenberg. Simon, who was on leave from the front, told his son, "I'm not coming back. Look after things". By the end of the war, his Father was regarded as missing in action, and may have been killed in Hungary (Kurtz 1992, 19). A comrade later reported to Karlheinz that he saw his Father wounded in action (Maconie 2005, 19). Fifty-five years after the fact, a Journalist writing for the Guardian newspaper stated unequivocally, though without offering any fresh evidence, that Simon Stockhausen was killed in Hungary in 1945 (O'Mahony 2001).


Stockhausen's two early Electronic Studies (especially the second) had a powerful influence on the subsequent development of electronic music in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly in the work of the Italian Franco Evangelisti and the Poles Andrzej Dobrowolski and Włodzimierz Kotoński (Skowron 1981, 39). The influence of his Kontra-Punkte, Zeitmasse and Gruppen may be seen in the work of many composers, including Igor Stravinsky's Threni (1957–58) and Movements for piano and orchestra (1958–59) and other works up to the Variations: Aldous Huxley In Memoriam (1963–64), whose rhythms "are likely to have been inspired, at least in part, by certain passages from Stockhausen's Gruppen" (Neidhöfer 2005, 340). Though music of Stockhausen's generation may seem an unlikely influence, Stravinsky said in a 1957 conversation:


In August 1951, just after his first Darmstadt visit, Stockhausen began working with a form of athematic serial composition that rejected the twelve-tone technique of Schoenberg (Felder 1977, 92). He characterized many of these earliest compositions (together with the music of other, like-minded composers of the period) as punktuelle ("punctual" or "pointist" music, commonly mistranslated as "pointillist") Musik, though one critic concluded after analysing several of these early works that Stockhausen "never really composed punctually" (Sabbe 1981). Compositions from this phase include Kreuzspiel (1951), the Klavierstücke I–IV (1952—the fourth of this first set of four Klavierstücke, titled Klavierstück IV, is specifically cited by the Composer as an Example of "punctual music" (Stockhausen Texte, 2:19)), and the first (unpublished) versions of Punkte and Kontra-Punkte (1952) (Stockhausen Texte, 2:20). However, several works from these same years show Stockhausen formulating his "first really ground-breaking contribution to the theory and, above all, practice of composition", that of "group composition", found in Stockhausen's works as early as 1952 and continuing throughout his compositional career (Toop 2005, 3). This principle was first publicly described by Stockhausen in a radio talk from December 1955, titled "Gruppenkomposition: Klavierstück I" (Stockhausen Texte, 1:63–74).


In many of his works, elements are played off against one another, simultaneously and successively: in Kontra-Punkte ("Against Points", 1952–53), which, in its revised form became his official "opus 1", a process leading from an initial "point" texture of isolated notes toward a florid, ornamental ending is opposed by a tendency from diversity (six timbres, dynamics, and durations) toward uniformity (timbre of solo piano, a nearly constant soft dynamic, and fairly even durations) (Stockhausen Texte, 2, 20–21). In Gruppen (1955–57), fanfares and passages of varying speed (superimposed durations based on the harmonic series) are occasionally flung between three full orchestras, giving the impression of movement in space (Maconie 2005, 486).


After lecturing at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik at Darmstadt (first in 1953), Stockhausen gave lectures and concerts in Europe, North America, and Asia (Stockhausen-Verlag 2010, 2, 14–15). He was guest professor of composition at the University of Pennsylvania in 1965 and at the University of California, Davis in 1966–67 (Kramer 1998; Stockhausen-Verlag 2010, 2–3). He founded and directed the Cologne Courses for New Music from 1963 to 1968, and was appointed Professor of Composition at the Hochschule für Musik Köln in 1971, where he taught until 1977 (Kurtz 1992, 126–28, 194; Stockhausen-Verlag 2010, 3). In 1998, he founded the Stockhausen Courses, which are held annually in Kürten (Stockhausen-Verlag 2010, 6–9, 15).


Stockhausen was born in Burg Mödrath, the "castle" of the village of Mödrath. The village, located near Kerpen in the Cologne region, was displaced in 1956 to make way for lignite strip mining, but the castle itself still stands. Despite its name, the building is not actually a castle at all, but rather was a manor house built in 1830 by a local businessman named Arend. Because of its imposing size, locals began calling it Burg Mödrath (Mödrath Castle). From 1925 to 1932 it was the maternity home of the Bergheim district, and after the war it served for a time as a shelter for war refugees. In 1950, the owners, the Düsseldorf chapter of the Knights of Malta, turned it into an orphanage, but it was subsequently returned to private ownership and became a private residence again (Anon. n.d.; Anon. 1950). In 2017, an anonymous patron purchased the house and opened it in April 2007 as an exhibition space for modern art, with the first floor to be used as the permanent home of the museum of the WDR Electronic Music Studio, where Stockhausen had worked from 1953 until shortly before WDR closed the studio in 2000 (Bos 2017).


Other important articles from this period include "Elektronische und Instrumentale Musik" ("Electronic and Instrumental Music", 1958, Stockhausen Texte, 1:140–51; Stockhausen 2004), "Musik im Raum" ("Music in Space", 1958, Stockhausen Texte, 1:152–75), "Musik und Graphik" ("Music and Graphics", 1959, Stockhausen Texte, 1:176–88), "Momentform" (1960, Stockhausen Texte, 1:189–210), "Die Einheit der musikalischen Zeit" ("The Unity of Musical Time", 1961, Stockhausen Texte, 1:211–21; Stockhausen 1962), and "Erfindung und Entdeckung" ("Invention and Discovery", 1961, (Stockhausen Texte, 1:222–58)), the last summing up the ideas developed up to 1961. Taken together, these temporal theories


Throughout his career, Stockhausen excited controversy. One reason for this is that his music displays high expectations about "shaping and transforming the world, about the truth of life and of reality, about the creative departure into a Future determined by spirit," so that Stockhausen's work "like no other in the history of new music, has a polarizing effect, arouses passion, and provokes drastic opposition, even hatred" (Ulrich 2001, 25). Another reason was acknowledged by Stockhausen himself in a reply to a question during an interview on the Bavarian Radio on 4 September 1960, reprinted as a foreword to his first collection of writings:


In 1961, Stockhausen acquired a parcel of land in the vicinity of Kürten, a village east of Cologne, near Bergisch Gladbach in the Bergisches Land. He had a house built there, which was designed to his specifications by the Architect Erich Schneider-Wessling, and he resided there from its completion in the autumn of 1965 (Kurtz 1992, 116–17, 137–38).


Some of these ideas, considered from a purely theoretical point of view (divorced from their context as explanations of particular compositions) drew significant critical fire (Backus 1962, Fokker 1968, Perle 1960). For this reason, Stockhausen ceased publishing such articles for a number of years, as he felt that "many useless polemics" about these texts had arisen, and he preferred to concentrate his attention on composing (Stockhausen Texte, 4:13).


He pioneered live electronics in Mixtur (1964/67/2003) for orchestra and electronics (Kohl 1981, 51–163), Mikrophonie I (1964) for tam-tam, two microphones, two filters with potentiometers (6 players) (Maconie 1972; Maconie 2005, 255–57), Mikrophonie II (1965) for choir, Hammond organ, and four ring modulators (Peters 1992), and Solo for a melody instrument with feedback (1966) (Maconie 2005, 262–65). Improvisation also plays a part in all of these works, but especially in Solo (Maconie 2005, 264). He also composed two electronic works for tape, Telemusik (1966) and Hymnen (1966–67) (Kohl 2002; Stockhausen-Verlag 2010, 21). The latter also exists in a version with partially improvising soloists, and the third of its four "regions" in a version with orchestra (Stockhausen-Verlag 2010, 21). At this time, Stockhausen also began to incorporate pre-existent music from world traditions into his compositions (Kohl 1981, 93–95; Stockhausen Texte, 4, 468–76). Telemusik was the first overt Example of this trend (Kohl 2002, 96).


Stockhausen was influential within pop and rock music as well. Frank Zappa acknowledges Stockhausen in the liner notes of Freak Out!, his 1966 debut with The Mothers of Invention. On the back of The Who's second LP released in the US, "Happy Jack", their primary Composer and Guitarist Pete Townshend, is said to have "an interest in Stockhausen". Rick Wright and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd also acknowledge Stockhausen as an influence (Macon 1997, 141; Bayles 1996, 222). San Francisco psychedelic groups Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead are said to have done the same (Prendergast 2000, 54); Stockhausen himself says the former band included students of Luciano Berio, and the Grateful Dead were "well orientated toward new music" (Stockhausen Texte, 4:505). Founding members of Cologne-based experimental band Can, Irmin Schmidt and Holger Czukay, both studied with Stockhausen at the Cologne Courses for New Music (Stockhausen Texte, 3:196, 198, 200). German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk also say they studied with Stockhausen (Flur 2003, 228), and Icelandic vocalist Björk has acknowledged Stockhausen's influence (Heuger 1998, 15; Björk 1996; Ross 2004, 53 & 55).


French Composer and Conductor Pierre Boulez once declared, "Stockhausen is the greatest living Composer, and the only one whom I recognize as my peer" (Anon. 1967; Anon. 1971). Boulez also acknowledged the influence of performing Stockhausen's Zeitmaße on his subsequent development as a Conductor (Boulez 1976, 79–80). Another French Composer, Jean-Claude Éloy, regards Stockhausen as the most important Composer of the second half of the 20th century, and cites virtually "all his catalog of works" as "a powerful discoveration [sic], and a true revelation" (Éloy 2008).


After the student revolts in 1968, musical life in Germany became highly politicized, and Stockhausen found himself a target for criticism, especially from the leftist camp who wanted music "in the Service of the class struggle". Cornelius Cardew and Konrad Boehmer denounced their former Teacher as a "servant of capitalism". In a climate where music mattered less than political ideology, some critics held that Stockhausen was too élitist, while others complained he was too mystical (Kurtz 1992, 188–89).


As reported in the German magazine Der Spiegel, the première (and only performance to date) on 15 November 1969 of Stockhausen's work Fresco for four orchestral groups (playing in four different locations) was the scene of a scandal. The rehearsals were already marked by objections from the orchestral Musicians questioning such directions as "glissandos no faster than one octave per minute" and others phoning the artists union to clarify whether they really had to perform the Stockhausen work as part of the orchestra. In the backstage warm-up room at the premiere a hand-lettered sign could be seen saying: "We're playing, otherwise we would be fired". During the première the parts on some music stands suddenly were replaced by placards reading things like "Stockhausen-Zoo. Please don't feed", that someone had planted. Some Musicians, fed up with the monkeyshines, left after an hour, though the performance was planned for four to five hours. Stockhausen fans protested, while Stockhausen foes were needling the Musicians asking: "How can you possibly participate in such crap?" ("Wie könnt ihr bloß so eine Scheiße machen!"). At one point someone managed to switch off the stand Lights, leaving the Musicians in the dark. After 260 minutes the performance ended with nobody participating any more (Anon. 1969).


Beginning with Mantra for two pianos and electronics (1970), Stockhausen turned to formula composition, a technique which involves the projection and multiplication of a single, double, or triple melodic-line formula (Kohl & 1983–84a; Kohl 1990; Kohl 2004). Sometimes, as in Mantra and the large orchestral composition with mime soloists, Inori, the simple formula is stated at the outset as an introduction. He continued to use this technique (e.g., in the two related solo-clarinet pieces, Harlekin [Harlequin] and Der kleine Harlekin [The Little Harlequin] of 1975, and the orchestral Jubiläum [Jubilee] of 1977) through the completion of the opera-cycle Licht in 2003 (Blumröder 1982; Conen 1991; Kohl & 1983–84a; Kohl 1990; Kohl 1993; Kohl 2004; Stockhausen-Verlag 2010, 10). Some works from the 1970s did not employ formula technique—e.g., the vocal duet "Am Himmel wandre ich" (In the Sky I am Walking, one of the 13 components of the multimedia Alphabet für Liège, 1972, which Stockhausen developed in conversation with the British biophysicist and lecturer on mystical aspects of sound vibration Jill Purce), "Laub und Regen" (Leaves and Rain, from the theatre piece Herbstmusik (1974), the unaccompanied-clarinet composition Amour, and the choral opera Atmen gibt das Leben (Breathing Gives Life, 1974/77)—but nevertheless share its simpler, melodically oriented style (Conen 1991, 57; Kurtz 1992, 192–93). Two such pieces, Tierkreis ("Zodiac", 1974–75) and In Freundschaft (In Friendship, 1977, a solo piece with versions for virtually every orchestral instrument), have become Stockhausen's most widely performed and recorded compositions (Anon. 2007a; Deruchie 2007; Nordin 2004).


Other large works by Stockhausen from this decade include the orchestral Trans (1971) and two music-theatre compositions utilizing the Tierkreis melodies: Musik im Bauch ("Music in the Belly") for six percussionists (1975), and the science-fiction "opera" Sirius (1975–77) for eight-channel electronic music with Soprano, bass, trumpet, and bass clarinet, which has four different versions for the four seasons, each lasting over an hour and a half (Stockhausen-Verlag 2010, 24–25).


His work with electronic music and its utter fixity led him to explore modes of instrumental and vocal music in which performers' individual capabilities and the circumstances of a particular performance (e.g., hall acoustics) may determine certain aspects of a composition. He called this "variable form" (Wörner 1973, 101–105). In other cases, a work may be presented from a number of different perspectives. In Zyklus (1959), for Example, he began using graphic notation for instrumental music. The score is written so that the performance can start on any page, and it may be read upside down, or from right to left, as the performer chooses (Stockhausen Texte, 2, 73–100). Still other works permit different routes through the constituent parts. Stockhausen called both of these possibilities "polyvalent form" (Stockhausen Texte, 1:241–51), which may be either open form (essentially incomplete, pointing beyond its frame), as with Klavierstück XI (1956), or "closed form" (complete and self-contained) as with Momente (1962–64/69) (Kaletha 2004, 97–98).


Stockhausen's fame is also reflected in works of literature. For Example, he is mentioned in Philip K. Dick's 1974 novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (Dick 1993, 101) and in Thomas Pynchon's 1966 novel The Crying of Lot 49. The Pynchon novel features "The Scope", a bar with "a strict electronic music policy". Protagonist Oedipa Maas asks "a hip graybeard" about a "sudden chorus of whoops and yibbles" coming out of "a kind of jukebox." He replies, "That's by Stockhausen... the early crowd tends to dig your Radio Cologne sound. Later on we really swing" (Pynchon 1999, 34).


The seven operas were not composed in "weekday order" but rather starting (apart from Jahreslauf in 1977, which became the first act of Dienstag) with the "solo" operas and working toward the more complex ones: Donnerstag (1978–80), Samstag (1981–83), Montag (1984–88), Dienstag (1977/1987–91), Freitag (1991–94), Mittwoch (1995–97), and finally Sonntag (1998–2003) (Stockhausen-Verlag 2010, 3–7, 26–48).


This dramatic simplification of style provided a model for a new generation of German composers, loosely associated under the label neue Einfachheit or New Simplicity (Andraschke 1981). The best-known of these composers is Wolfgang Rihm, who studied with Stockhausen in 1972–73. His orchestral composition Sub-Kontur (1974–75) quotes the formula of Stockhausen's Inori (1973–74), and he has also acknowledged the influence of Momente on this work (Frobenius 1981, 53 + note 59–60).


The French Writer Michel Butor acknowledges that Stockhausen's music "taught me a lot", mentioning in particular the electronic works Gesang der Jünglinge and Hymnen (Santschi 1982, 204).


Robin Maconie finds that, "Compared to the work of his contemporaries, Stockhausen's music has a depth and rational integrity that is quite outstanding... His researches, initially guided by Meyer-Eppler, have a coherence unlike any other Composer then or since" (Maconie 1989, 177–78). Maconie also compares Stockhausen to Beethoven: "If a genius is someone whose ideas survive all attempts at explanation, then by that definition Stockhausen is the nearest thing to Beethoven this century has produced. Reason? His music lasts" (Maconie 1988), and "As Stravinsky said, one never thinks of Beethoven as a superb orchestrator because the quality of invention transcends mere craftsmanship. It is the same with Stockhausen: the intensity of imagination gives rise to musical impressions of an elemental and seemingly unfathomable beauty, arising from necessity rather than conscious design" (Maconie 1989, 178).


In the early 1990s, Stockhausen reacquired the licenses to most of the recordings of his music he had made to that point, and started his own record company to make this music permanently available on Compact Disc (Maconie 2005, 477–78).


Jazz Musicians such as Miles Davis (Bergstein 1992), Cecil Taylor, Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock, Yusef Lateef (Feather 1964; Tsahar 2006), and Anthony Braxton (Radano 1993, 110) cite Stockhausen as an influence.


Stockhausen had dreams of flying throughout his life, and these dreams are reflected in the Helikopter-Streichquartett (the third scene of Mittwoch aus Licht), completed in 1993. In it, the four members of a string quartet perform in four helicopters flying independent FLIGHT paths over the countryside near the concert hall. The sounds they play are mixed together with the sounds of the helicopters and played through speakers to the audience in the hall. Videos of the performers are also transmitted back to the concert hall. The performers are synchronized with the aid of a click track, transmitted to them and heard over headphones (Stockhausen 1996c, 215).


Early in 1995, BBC Radio 3 sent Stockhausen a package of recordings from contemporary artists Aphex Twin, Richie Hawtin (Plastikman), Scanner and Daniel Pemberton, and asked him for his opinion on the music. In August of that year, Radio 3 reporter Dick Witts interviewed Stockhausen about these pieces for a broadcast in October, subsequently published in the November issue of the British publication The Wire asking what advice he would give these young Musicians. Stockhausen made suggestions to each of the Musicians, who were then invited to respond. All but Plastikman obliged (Witts 1995).


Stockhausen wrote 370 individual works. He often departs radically from musical tradition and his work is influenced by Olivier Messiaen, Edgard Varèse, and Anton Webern, as well as by film (Stockhausen 1996b) and by Painters such as Piet Mondrian (Stockhausen 1996a, 94; Stockhausen Texte, 3:92–93; Toop 1998) and Paul Klee (Maconie 2005, 187).


In a short essay describing Stockhausen's influence on his own work, Richard Barrett concludes that "Stockhausen remains the Composer whose next work I look forward most to hearing, apart from myself of course" and names as works that have had particular impact on his musical thinking Mantra, Gruppen, Carré, Klavierstück X, Inori, and Jubiläum (Barrett 1998).


In 1999, BBC Producer Rodney Wilson asked Stockhausen to collaborate with Stephen and Timothy Quay on a film for the fourth series of Sound on Film International. Although Stockhausen's music had been used for films previously (most notably, parts of Hymnen in Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout in 1971), this was the first time he had been asked to provide music specially for the purpose. He adapted 21 minutes of material taken from his electronic music for Freitag aus Licht, calling the result Zwei Paare (Two Couples), and the Brothers Quay created their animated film, which they titled In Absentia, based only on their reactions to the music and the simple suggestion that a window might be an idea to use (Anon. 2001). When, at a preview screening, Stockhausen saw the film, which shows a madwoman writing letters from a bleak asylum cell, he was moved to tears. The Brothers Quay were astonished to learn that his mother had been "imprisoned by the Nazis in an asylum, where she later died. … This was a very moving moment for us as well, especially because we had made the film without knowing any of this" (Aita 2001).


Amongst British composers, Sir Harrison Birtwistle readily acknowledges the influence of Stockhausen's Zeitmaße (especially on his two wind quintets, Refrains and Choruses and Five Distances) and Gruppen on his work more generally (Cross 2000, 48; Cross 2001; Hall 1984, 3, 7–8; Hall 1998, 99, 108; Pace 1996, 27). Brian Ferneyhough says that, although the "technical and speculative innovations" of Klavierstücke I–IV, Kreuzspiel and Kontra-Punkte escaped him on first encounter (Ferneyhough 1988), they nevertheless produced a "sharp emotion, the result of a beneficial shock engendered by their boldness" (Ferneyhough 1988) and provided "an important source of motivation (rather than of imitation) for my own investigations" (Ferneyhough 1988). While still in school, he became fascinated upon hearing the British première of Gruppen, and


(To see how the excerpt appeared out of its context, and in English translation, see Tommasini 2001. For a translation of a larger context of the exchange, see Hänggi 2011. The full text of the press conference, in German, is printed as Stockhausen 2002.)


As a result of the reaction to the press report of Stockhausen's comments, a four-day festival of his work in Hamburg was canceled. In addition, his Pianist daughter announced to the press that she would no longer appear under the name "Stockhausen" (Lentricchia and McAuliffe 2003, 7).


Stockhausen, along with John Cage, is one of the few avant-garde composers to have succeeded in penetrating the popular consciousness (Anon. 2007b; Broyles 2004; Hewett 2007). The Beatles included his face on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Guy and Llewelyn-Jones 2004, 111). This reflects his influence on the band's own avant-garde experiments as well as the general fame and notoriety he had achieved by that time (1967). In particular, "A Day in the Life" (1967) and "Revolution 9" (1968) were influenced by Stockhausen's electronic music (Aldgate, Chapman, and Marwick 2000, 146; MacDonald 1995, 233–34). Stockhausen's name, and the perceived strangeness and supposed unlistenability of his music, was even a punchline in cartoons, as documented on a page on the official Stockhausen web site (Stockhausen Cartoons). Perhaps the most caustic remark about Stockhausen was attributed to Sir Thomas Beecham. Asked "Have you heard any Stockhausen?", he is alleged to have replied, "No, but I believe I have trodden in some" (Lebrecht 1985, 334, annotated on 366: "Apocryphal; source unknown").


On hearing about this, Conductor Michael Gielen stated: "When he said he knew what was happening at Sirius, I turned away from him in horror. I haven't listened to a note since", and called Stockhausen's statements "hubris" and "nonsense", while at the same time defending his own belief in astrology: "Why should these large celestial bodies exist if they do not stand for something? I cannot imagine that there is anything senseless in the universe. There is much we do not understand" (Hagedorn 2010).


Although Stockhausen and Piene's planned multimedia project, titled Hinab-Hinauf, was developed in detail (Stockhausen Texte, 3:155–74), the World Fair committee rejected their concept as too extravagant and instead asked Stockhausen to present daily five-hour programs of his music (Kurtz 1992, 178). Stockhausen's works were performed for 5½ hours every day over a period of 183 days to a total audience of about a million listeners (Wörner 1973, 256). According to Stockhausen's biographer, Michael Kurtz, "Many visitors felt the spherical auditorium to be an oasis of calm amidst the general hubbub, and after a while it became one of the main attractions of Expo 1970" (Kurtz 1992, 179).


He was educated at the Hochschule für Musik Köln and the University of Cologne, later studying 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. 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 Karlheinz Stockhausen images