Was it only yesterday that I heard pieces like Momente (1961–64), Stimmung (1968), and Hymnen (1966–67) for the first time? By then, Gruppen (1955–57) and Kontakte (1958–60) had already been accepted into the canon of contemporary masterpieces.

For me, almost a working life away now, these were the pieces that stirred and furnished my interest in contemporary music. As each new piece arrived in the ’60s, there was an unquenchable thirst to discover what this great mind would think of next. Each live performance he supervised was a unique experience, his personality and aura always visible. These were the stepstones of my entrance to the new-music world—experiences so strong they forced me in the direction of giving life to new music rather than spending my life in a “classical” museum.

I spent many years trying to extract a string quartet from Stockhausen—one that could become

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