Iannis Xenakis was a leading avant-garde composer of the post-war era * Educated in Greece and trained as a civil engineer in Athens * Active in resistance, leading to imprisonment, violent injuries and ultimately flight to France in 1947 * Settled in Paris, in the 1950s collaborating with Le Corbusier on architectural projects, including Philips Pavilion at Brussels World Fair * Attended Messiaen's classes in 1952, and responded to his encouragement to develop an individual style based on his scientific training * Highly original music that resulted had roots in architectural structures, mathematical processes and game theory * Orchestral works Metastaseis and Pithoprakta set composer at forefront of avant-garde in late 1950s * Further explored complex rhythms and textures in ensemble works such as Eonta and Akrata * Culmination of this period came with large-scale dramatic scores Oresteia and Kraanerg * Composed prolifically, mainly for instrumental and orchestral forces * Music characterised by virtuosity, microtonal inflections, primal energy and ritualistic power * Leading interpreters include Ensemble InterContemporain, London Sinfonietta, Arditti String Quartet, Xenakis Ensemble, Percussions de Strasbourg, Roger Woodward, Siegfried Palm
Works by Iannis Xenakis include:
Metastaseis (1954) for orchestra
Eonta (1963-64) for piano, 2 trumpets and 3 trombones
Oresteia (1966, rev.1969) for baritone, mixed chorus and chamber ensemble
Kraanerg (1969) Ballet for ensemble and tape
Works since 1970 published by Editions Salabert
Looking Ahead: The Centenary of Xenakis's birth is 29 May 2022.
For details of events visit Les Amis de Xenakis website.
"...really great music combines peace and struggle, serenity and pain... to escape from the trivial cycle of relationships in music, the musician, the artist, must be absolutely independent, which means absolutely alone." — Iannis Xenakis