TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT March 2008

MUSIC OF THE SPHERES: REFLECTIONS ON KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN

When Stockhausen died on December 5, 2007, at his home in Kürten, Germany, his fame as a composer of startlingly original and uncompromising music—whether groundbreaking experiments in electronic sound, innovative manipulations of traditional instrumentation, or unorthodox approaches to the human voice—had long since peaked, and his work was perhaps spoken of more eagerly than it was performed. Moreover, his reputation had been irremediably if unfairly sullied by an oft-repeated comment he made at a press conference only days after September 11, 2001, calling the terrorist attacks “the greatest work of art” ever. Concerned that Stockhausen’s death was, as a consequence, largely remarked as a cultural curiosity, and seeking to offer a corrective, we turned to a diverse group with deep ties to his work: composers Robin Maconie, La Monte Young, Morton Subotnick, and Maryanne Amacher (all but one of whom attended Stockhausen’s famous seminar in Darmstadt); violinist Irvine Arditti and pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard (two important champions of the work of contemporary composers); and alternative singer-songwriter Björk. Together they reflect on the musical legacy of a man who must, by any accounting, figure among the most influential composers of the postwar era.