RIP Karlheinz Stockhausen

You will be severely missed. Stockhausen’s influence will always have a lasting effect on how and why I create music.

From the AP:

BERLIN (AP) — Karlheinz Stockhausen, one of the most important and controversial postwar composers who helped shape a new understanding of sound through electronic compositions, died at his home in western Germany. He was 79.

Stockhausen, who gained fame through his avant-garde works in the 1960s and ’70s and later composed works for huge theaters and other projects, died in the town of Kuerten on Wednesday, his publisher, the Stockhausen Verlag, said Friday. No cause of death was given.

Stockhausen’s electronic compositions were a radical departure from musical tradition and incorporated influences as varied as psychology, the visual arts and the acoustics of a particular concert hall.

He was considered by some an eccentric member of the European musical elite and by others a courageous pioneer in the field of new music. Rock and pop musicians such as John Lennon, Frank Zappa and David Bowie have cited him as an influence, and he is also credited with having influenced techno music.

Stockhausen sparked controversy in 2001 when he described the Sept. 11 attack on the United States as “the greatest work of art one can imagine.”

The composer, who made the comment during a news conference in the northern German city of Hamburg, where several of the suicide pilots had lived, later apologized but insisted he had been misquoted.

Stockhausen wrote 362 individually performable works, according to his publisher, including more than 140 of electronic or electro-acoustic music, and brought out more than 100 albums.

In one of his lager-scale operas, “Licht,” Stockhausen tried to capture all of the facets of the world with sound and noises and set them in relation to the human spirit, speech, smells and colors. The piece, which took 25 years to compose, is an enormous sonic representation of the seven days of the week.

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