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Although he was an illegal immigrant in Paris, Xenakis was able to get a job at Le Corbusier 's architectural studio. He worked as engineering assistant at first, but quickly rose to performing more important tasks, and eventually to collaborating with Le Corbusier on major projects. At the same time, while working for Le Corbusier, Xenakis was studying harmony and counterpoint, and composing. He worked long and hard, frequently far into the night, [17] and sought guidance from a number of teachers, most of whom, however, ultimately rejected him.

Such was the case with Nadia Boulanger , who was the first person Xenakis approached about lessons. He then tried studying with Arthur Honegger , whose reaction to Xenakis's music was unenthusiastic.

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As Xenakis recounted in a interview, Honegger dismissed a piece which included parallel fifths and octaves as "not music". I understood straight away that he was not someone like the others. But this was a man so much out of the ordinary that I said No, you are almost thirty, you have the good fortune of being Greek, of being an architect and having studied special mathematics.

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Do them in your music. Xenakis attended Messiaen's classes regularly in — Messiaen and his students studied music from a wide range of genres and styles, with particular attention to rhythm. Messiaen's modal serialism was an influence on Xenakis's first large-scale work, Anastenaria — The third part of the triptych, Metastaseis , is generally regarded as the composer's first mature piece; it was detached from the triptych to mark the beginning of the "official" Xenakis oeuvre.

Shortly after that Xenakis met conductor Hermann Scherchen , who was immediately impressed by the score of Metastaseis and offered his support. Although Scherchen did not premiere that particular work, he did give performances of later pieces by Xenakis, and the relationship between the conductor and the composer was of vital importance for the latter.

Iannis Xenakis

By the late s Xenakis slowly started gaining recognition in artistic circles. In he received his first composition award, from the European Cultural Foundation , and in the first official commission came through, from Service de Recherche of Radio France. After leaving Le Corbusier's studio in , Xenakis supported himself by composition and teaching, and quickly became recognized as one of the most important European composers of his time.


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He taught at Indiana University in —72 and established a studio similar to EMAMu there , and worked as visiting professor at the Sorbonne in — In addition to composing and teaching, Xenakis also authored a number of articles and essays on music. Of these, Musiques formelles became particularly known.

A collection of texts on applications of stochastic processes , game theory and computer programming in music, it was later revised, expanded and translated into English as Formalized Music: Xenakis was an atheist.


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  • Harley, James - Xenakis: His Life In Music.

He thinks with his belly and feels with his mind. I would like to propose what, to my mind, covers the term "music": It is a mystical but atheistic asceticism Xenakis completed his last work, O-mega for percussion soloist and chamber orchestra, in His health had been getting progressively worse over the years, and by he was no longer able to work. In , Xenakis was awarded the Polar Music Prize "for a long succession of forceful works, charged with sensitivity, commitment and passion, through which he has come to rank among the most central composers of our century in the realm of art music, exercising within its various fields an influence which cannot be readily overstated".

He died in his Paris home four days later, on 4 February, aged He was survived by his wife and his daughter. Persephassa , commissioned by the Shiraz Arts Festival, performed by Les Percussions de Strasbourg , receiving its world premiere in Persepolis in This is a "polytope" composed specific to the historic site. Although electroacoustic compositions represent only a small fraction of Xenakis's output, they are highly relevant to musical thinking in the late 20th century.

By , he had devised a computer system called UPIC , which could translate graphical images into musical results. The drawing is, thus, rendered into a composition. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. List of compositions by Iannis Xenakis. Archived 31 October Perspectives of New Music.

Iannis Xenakis - Metastasis

International Contemporary Ensemble website archive from 11 June , accessed 29 April Confronting the Boundaries between Space and Sound ". Oxford and New York: Thought and Mathematics in Composition , second edition. Kirsty rated it really liked it Jul 15, Imri Talgam rated it liked it Nov 24, Marcy rated it really liked it Oct 06, Gerald Brennan rated it really liked it Apr 11, Steve Morrison marked it as to-read Aug 14, Brandon Wu added it Apr 27, Murray marked it as to-read Jul 04, Blake marked it as to-read Aug 19, Vasilisa Boikova marked it as to-read Jan 07, Erin Lyndal marked it as to-read Mar 20, Chris marked it as to-read May 19, Retrouse marked it as to-read Jul 31, Alexv Rolfe added it Dec 14, Lne marked it as to-read Feb 17, Petros Vouris added it Apr 28, Stavros Sakellariou marked it as to-read Dec 10, Ola marked it as to-read Sep 03, Andrew marked it as to-read Dec 27, Steve marked it as to-read Feb 27, Negative Books added it Feb 21, Timothy Tan marked it as to-read Aug 25, Erik marked it as to-read Oct 18, AE marked it as to-read Jan 18, Sean marked it as to-read Jan 23, Harry Wert marked it as to-read Feb 27, Ryan Page added it Jul 27, L marked it as to-read Aug 18, Glyven marked it as to-read Aug 27, Kristoffer added it Jan 14, ChickCounterfly marked it as to-read Mar 07, Ben added it May 02, Nicklally marked it as to-read Dec 11,