Personalities | Iannis Xenakis | Contemporary | Classical

(Yan’-nis Ze-na’-kis) 1922–2001
French/Greek composer

Xenakis took up the formal study of music late, having lessons with Honegger, Milhaud and Messiaen in Paris in the early 1950s. He developed a technique in which masses of sound were manipulated according to laws of mathematical probability. This can be clearly heard in the accumulation of overlapping string glissandos in Metastasis (1954), his first acknowledged composition and the foundation of his musical ideology. Throughout the late 1970s and early 80s Xenakis concentrated on a series of pieces combining sound and light, including Polytope de Mycènes (1978) and Diatope (1978). His final work, O-Mega, was written for percussionist Evelyn Glennie and the London Sinfonietta.

Recommended Recording:
Metastasis, Pithoprakta, Eonta, Yuji Takahashi, Orchestre National de l’ORTF (cond) Maurice Le Roux, Konstantin Simonovic (Chant du Monde)

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