Iannis Xenakis

IANNIS XENAKIS (1922 – 2001) was born in Romania in the family of Greek parents. During the Second World War he fought joined the Greek Resistance. Sentenced to death following a political trial, he emmigrated to France in 1947, becoming a French citizen in 1956. At first he began to study architecture, after settling in Paris he became assistent of Le Corbusier, but at the same time he studied composition with Olivier Messiaen at Conservatory National Supérieur de Musique and also with Darius Milhaud and Arthur Honegger at Ecole Normale de Musique. With Le Corbusier, Xenakis co-operated closely on a number of a well-known buildings, designing. He was a creator of stochastic and symbolic music. The innovations he introduced into his compositions (instrumental, electronic and computerised) were based on the probability calculus and mass theory. He produced a series of compositions of a “son et lumiére”, which he called polytopes. His innovative techniques quickly became the lingua franca of the musical avant-garde. He was founder and and director of the School of Mathematical and Automated Music in Paris and also founding a similar research centre – Centre for Mathematical and Automated Music.

Works (selection): Metastasis for orchestra (1954), Pithoprakta for orchestra (1956), Achorripsis for 21 instruments (1957), Concret PH for tape (1958), Syrmos for 18 or 36 string instruments (1959), Orient-Occident for tape (1960), Herma for piano (1961), ST/4 for string quartet (1962), Eonta for piano and brass instruments (1964), Terretektorh for orchestra (1966), Polytope de Montréal, audiovisual performance with music for 4 orchestras (1967), Nomos Gamma for orchestra (1967 – 1968), Anaktoria for instrumental ensemble (1969), Charisma for clarinet and cello (1971), Linaia Agon for instrumental ensemble and winds (1972), Cendreés for chorus and orchestra (1973), Gmeeoorh for organ (1974), Phlegra for 11 wind instruments (1975), Kottos for cello (1976), Jonchaies for orchestra (1977), Le légende d’Eer for 1600 flashlights, laser beams, 400 mirrors and 7-track tape (1977), Pléiades for 6 percussionists (1978), Serment-Orkos for chorus a cappella (1981), Mists for piano (1981), Pour la Paix for mixed chorus, tape and reciters (1982), Tetras for string quartet (1983), Naama for amplified harpsichord (1984), Akea for piano and string quartet (1986), Horos for orchestra (1986), Keqrops for piano and orchestra (1986), XAS for saxophone quartet (1987), Traceés for large orchestra (1987), Waarg for 13 musicians (1988), Rebonds for percussions (1988), Echange for basclarinet and 13 musicians(1989), Oophaa for harpsichord and percussions (1989), Tetora for string quartet (1990), Knepphas for mixed chorus (1990), Kyania for orchestra (1990), Dox-Orkh for violin and orchestra (1991), Paille in the wind for cello and piano (1992), Les Bacchantes d’Euripide for baritone, female chorus and instrumental ensemble (1993), Dämmerschein for orchestra (1993 – 1994), Mnamas Xapis Witołdowi Lutoslawskiemu for 2 trumpets and 2 horns (1994), Koiranoi for orchestra (1994), Ergma for string quartet (1994), Ioolkos for orchestra (1995), Ittidra for string sextet (1995), Rascobeck for cello and double bass (1996), Zythos for 7 musicians (1996), Sea-Change for orchestra (1997), O-Mega for solo percussions and 13 instruments (1997).