PRINT March 2008


I FIRST MET STOCKHAUSEN in 1962 or ’63. He was in Los Angeles on a lecture tour and already quite famous. Someone, probably Luciano Berio, had told him about the San Francisco Tape Music Center, which Ramon Sender and I had just started. Stockhausen flew up in a private plane so that he could meet us and be part of the scene. I can’t think of many other composers who would have had that sort of openness.

I recall that, early on, many in the so-called serious-music world had substantial problems with him. Some still do. But his output was generative and full of life and energy. He was willing to take chances. It’s not surprising that so many rock and techno musicians have a deep admiration for him.

Stockhausen’s work solidified major ideas in the history of the avant-garde. He had a piece for almost every step along the way. Refrain (1959), for example—an indeterminate composition that

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