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Biography by A.S. Barthel-Calvet

1922

May 29 : Iannis is born in Braïla, Rumania to Clearchos Xenakis and Photini Pavlou, members of the Greek Diaspora (his actual birthday is uncertain: it may have been June1st, and the year may have been 1921). He is the eldest of three boys : his brother Cosmas became a painter and Jason became a professor of philosophy in the United States. Their father, a son of a farmer from Evvoia, was the director of an English import-export firm. Their mother, who spoke fluent French and German, was a good pianist. She gave Iannis a flute as a present when he was just a little boy and encouraged him to study music. The Xenakis couple attended the Bayreuth Festival several times during the 1920s.

1927

While pregnant, his mother contacted the measles and died after giving birth to a baby girl who also did not survive. Henceforth, the children were raised by French, German and English nannies.

1932

Iannis leaves Rumania for Greece : his father enrolled him in an English-Greek academy on the island of Spetsai. In addition to learning to love mathematics and Greek and foreign literature, Xenakis also began to discover music there.

1938

Fall : Xenakis leaves for Athens where he enrolled in a prep school in order to prepare the competition for entering the Athens Polytechnic Institute.

He begins composing and taking private lessons with Aristote Koundourov in analysis, harmony and counterpoint. He also realized a geometric transcription of some of Bach’s works.

1940

He succeeds in entering the Athens Polytechnic Institute, but the school is closed the first day of classes, October 28, since Mussolini’s troupes had just invaded Greece. The Institute is intermittently reopened and closed.

1941

Xenakis joins the Greek Resistance, first in a right-wing party, then later in the EAM (communist party) : he is in the front line of street demonstrations against the occupants, is imprisoned several times, first by the Italians and later by the Germans. His favorite readings include Plato, Marx and Lenin.

1944

October 12 : the Germans evacuate Greece.

December 5 : the British army establishes martial law.

Xenakis joins the student battalion of the ELAS (National Popular Army) and becomes commander of the "Lord Byron" unit.

1945

January 1 : A live English shell hits the building Xenakis was defending with two of his comrades: shrapnel hit his face, smashing his jaw and poking out his left eye. Considered dead and abandoned there, his father found Iannis and took him to a hospital where he underwent several operations.

March : Xenakis is released from the hospital and goes back to the Polytechnic Institute all while continuing his political activities clandestinely; he is incarcerated several times.

1946

February : Iannis passes his final exams successfully at the Polytechnic Institute despite his semi-clandestine existence.

1947

January 16 : defends his final thesis on "Reinforced concrete".

He escapes from a prisoner’s camp and stays in hiding for six months in an apartment in Athens.

September : his father manages to get him a falsified passport, and Iannis boards, under the name of Konstantin Kastrounis, a cargo en route for Italy. Intending to end up in the United States, Xenakis decides to visit Paris.

November 11 : thanks to the help of Italian communists, he illegally crosses the border at Vintimille.

In Greece, he is given the death sentence in absentia for political terrorism. His father and brother are put into prison.

December : Xenakis is hired by Le Corbusier’s as an engineer, having been recommended by a friend of the architect Georges Candilis.

Xenakis participates in several projects and realizations.

1949

Xenakis attempts studying composition with various professors, none of which however, correspond to his personality : Honegger at the Ecole normale de musique, and later Milhaud, who replaced the former.

He also approached Nadia Boulanger who declared she was too old to start reviewing the fundamentals of harmony and counterpoint with him. She suggested he contact Annette Dieudonné who, in turn, recommended he seek out Messiaen.

1949-1952

Xenakis writes twenty-four works (catalogued later by François-Bernard Mâche), mainly for piano solo ou voice and piano.

1950

Xenakis meets Françoise.

He attends the first concerts given by the GRMC (Groupe de recherche de musique concrète), the electroacoustic ("musique concrète") studio founded by Pierre Schaeffer and attempts to joins the group, in vain.

1951

Xenakis meets Messiaen and asks for advice. The latter invites him to audit his classes, which Xenakis does faithfully in 1952 and less regularly in 1953. There he met, among others, Karlheinz Stockhausen.

1953

At Le Corbusier’s request, Xenakis organizes a "spatialized concert" on the roof of the housing unit in Marseille for the CIAM (Congrès international d’architecture moderne). Three different types of music are played from three different points on the terrace (musique concrète, traditional music from India and Japan, and jazz).

August : La Colombe de la paix is played at the Fourth World Youth Festival for Peace and Fellowship in Bucharest.

Xenakis begins the composition of his "Anastenaria" triptych : Procession vers les eaux claires (completed early 1953), Le Sacrifice (summer 1953), and finally, Metastasis (end of 1954).

December 3 : marries Françoise.

1954

Le Corbusier asks Xenakis to be project manager for the commission the former received two years earlier to build a monastery at La Tourette near Eveux-sur-l’Arbresle. Xenakis worked on this project until 1957:

"The general shape is Le Corbusier’s, while the internal structure was developed by me, based on discussions with the monks. […] the glass panes under the rows of cells and the church are almost exclusively my work. The same applies to the round chapels with the ‘guns of light’ and ‘machine-guns of light’ that stick out of them. I positioned them so as to catch the light of the sun during equinox." (Balint Andras Varga, Conversations with Xenakis, Faber & Faber, London, 1996, p.23)

Xenakis unveils the triple rows of his famous "undulating glass panes" on the west facade. At the same time, he is working on the composition of Metastasis, whose textures of glissandi are based on ruled parabola and graphically conceived. Two years later, he will apply the same principle in architecture, in the construction of the Philips Pavilion.

September 23 : after having his score Procession vers les eaux claires returned back to him by Schaeffer, Xenakis finally manages to meet with the former, thanks to a recommendation by Messiaen. Schaeffer asks Pierre Henry to review Xenakis’s score Le Sacrifice, and Henry shows it to Scherchen during his rehersals of Varèse’s Déserts, which Xenakis attended. After stating that he wouldn’t conduct Le Sacrifice, Scherchen asks Xenakis to show him Metastasis, which he immediately offers to conduct.

Following Dimitri Mitropoulos’s advise, Xenakis also sends this score to Heinrich Strobel, the director of the Donaueschingen Festival, who programs it for the following fall, conducted by Hans Rosbaud.

1955

July : Xenakis publishes "La crise de la musique sérielle" (The crisis of serial music) in the first issue of the Gravesaner Blätter. This text most likely corresponds to a lecture he gave at the symposium organized by Hermann Scherchen in Gravesano between July 24 - 31 on the subject "Was ist leichte Musik?"

In this article, Xenakis denounces the very principle of the series and the polyphonic organization that is derived from it.

"[…] the serial system is thrown into question on its own two bases, which embody the seed of their own destruction and inadequacy :

the series;

their polyphonic structure.

A series (of any sort) is the result of a linear "category" of thought. It is a string of a finite number of objects. […]

Combinatory calculus is but one generalization of the serial principle. Its origin is found in the choice of how the 12 tones are arranged. […]

Linear polyphony is self-destructive in its current complexity. In reality, what one hears is a bunch of notes in various registers. The enormous complexity prevents one from following the tangled lines and its macroscopic effect is one of unreasonable and gratuitous dispersion of sounds over the whole sound spectrum. Consequently, there is a contradiction between the linear polyphonic system and the audible result, which is a surface, a mass.

This inherent contradiction with polyphony will disappear only once sounds become totally independent. In fact, since these linear combinations and their polyphonic superpositions are no longer workable, what will count will be the statistical average of isolated states of the components’ transformations at any given moment. […] Hence, the notion of probability is introduced, which, by the way, implies combinatory calculus in this specific case." ("La crise de la musique sérielle", from Kéleütha. Ecrits, L’Arche, Paris, 1994, p.40-42, previously unpublished in English).

October 15 : première of Metastasis at the Donaueschingen Festival by the Südwestfunk Orchestra, conducted by Hans Rosbaud. An outright scandal in these hallowed halls of serialism.

"I was banned for many years from all German musical avant-garde activities; however, later on, it was there that I started being well-known. […]" ("Entretien avec Mario Bois", Bulletin d’information, n° 23, Boosey & Hawkes, 1966, p.4)

Xenakis joins Pierre Schaeffer’s Groupe de recherches de musique concrète (that becomes the GRM or Groupe de recherches musicales in 1958) and remains until 1962. The first work he does there is Diamorphoses.

1956

May 16: birth of his daughter, Mâkhi Zyïa.

July : publication of his " Probability theory and musical composition" in the Gravesano Blätter, n° 6, which is later reprinted in his book, Musiques Formelles (La Revue Musicale, n° 253-254, Richard-Masse, Paris, as well as in the English translations, Formalized Music cf. under Works, then Books). There, Xenakis explains the stochastic laws used in Pithoprakta, which he was composing at the time.

In Le Corbusier’s Studio, Xenakis collaborates on the Youth and Cultural Center in Firminy. In October, he begins working on the plans of the Pavilion that Philips commissioned Le Corbusier to create for the Brussels World Fair in 1958 and that the latter simply projected as being "a free-form hollow structure." Inside, images and lights were to be projected and a spatialized electroacoustic work were to be proposed to the visitors/spectators. Le Corbusier had imposed Varèse to Philips to realize the music of this Electronic Poem.

"It was a unique opportunity for me to imagine an edifice, both in its structure and form, constructed exclusively of hyperbolic parabola (or P.H., in French) and conoids, and especially, self-supporting." (Iannis Xenakis, Musique. Architecture, Casterman, Tournai, 1976, p.134)

He uses the graphic structure of glissandi textures from Metastasis :

"My own musical research on sounds with continuous variation in relation to time […] led me to lean towards geometric structures based on straight lines : ruled surfaces." (Musique. Architecture, op.cit.)

For the first time, Xenakis had a conflict with Le Corbusier, who refused to grant him the authorship of the Pavilion that he had entirely conceived. Finally, le Corbusier accepted to allow Xenakis to co-sign the work.

Xenakis also realized Concret PH, a short work of musique concrète that was played between the performances of Varèse’s Poème électronique.

1957

Xenakis receives a grant from the European Cultural Foundation, whose jury was presided by Nicolas Nabokov.

March 8 : Pithoprakta is premièred at the Festival Musica Viva in Munich by the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, conducted by Hermann Scherchen.

1958

July 20 : Achorripsis is premièred in Buenos Aires by the Teatro Colon Orchestra, conducted by Hermann Scherchen.

In the Gravesaner Blätter, n° 11-12, Xenakis publishes his article "A la recherche d’une musique stochastique". This text is later printed in his book, Musiques Formelles (op.cit., p.37). Here he explains the principles of stochastic composition used in Achorripsis, an analyzes an excerpt of this piece.

"There is an advantage in defining chance as an aesthetic law, as a normal philosophy. Chance is the limit of the notion of evolving symmetry. Symmetry tends to asymmetry, which in this sense is equivalent to the negation of traditionally inherited behavioral frameworks. […] Everything happens as if there were one-to-one oscillations between symmetry, order, rationality, and asymmetry, disorder, irrationality in the reactions between the epochs of civilizations." (Formalized Music, p.25)

 

At the GRM (Groupe de recherches musicales), he meets François-Bernard Mâche, who will be one of his most faithful friends.

October 5 : Diamorphoses , a tape work realized in the GRM studio, is premièred in Brussells.

1959

The French première of Achorripsis at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, conducted by Hermann Scherchen leading the Concerts Lamoureux. The serialists and most of the critics assail the work with hostilities.

Summer ; première of Analogiques A & B by Hermann Scherchen at his Festival in Gravesano.

September 1 : Xenakis, along with two of his colleagues, is dismissed by Le Corbusier.

Stockholm premières of Metastasis and Pithoprakta.

1960

French première of Pithoprakta by Hermann Scherchen.

Xenakis is a member of the jury for the Paris Museum of Modern Art’s Biennale.

Xenakis founds, with Michel Philippot, Abraham Moles and Alain de Chambure the MYAM, an informal research group concentrating on mathematics and music.

May : Enrico Fulchignoni’s short-film, Orient-Occident, commissioned by UNESCO, is presented at the Cannes film festival, for which Xenakis wrote the accompanying electroacoustic music of the same name. He evokes this film with François Delalande (cf. Bibliography, then Interviews).

Xenakis also composes Vasarely, an instrumental work (later removed from his catalogue) for a short-film on the painter by P. Kassovitz and E. Szabo.

He begins to publish installments of his long text entitled "Elements de musique stochastique" in the Gravesaner Blätter, overflowing to issues in 1961. This will later constitute the basis for the second chapter, "Musique stochastique markovienne" of his book Musiques Formelles (chapters II & III in Formalized Music, "Markovian Stochastic Music - Theory and Applications". Here, he introduces a granular representation of sound and integrates a "memory" function to stochastic processes by using Markovian chains.

1961

April 17-23 : Xenakis participates in the "East-West Music Encounter" in Tokyo. Other western composers present include : Berio, Carter, Cowell, Sessions, as well as the musicologist Stuckenschmidt.

April 29 : presents a concert of experimental music in Tokyo, including no less than eighteen instrumental and electracoustic works by western composers.

Meets Yuji Takahashi in Japan, who will remain one of his most devoted performers. The composer Toru Takemitsu introduces Xenakis to Seiji Ozawa.

Xenakis composes Forme rouge (later removed from his catalogue) for an animated short-film by P. Kalmer.

Summer : Scherchen asks Xenakis to draw up plans for an experimental auditorium in Gravesano.

1962

February 2 : Yuji Takahashi premières Herma in Tokyo.

Having put together a computer program for musical composition, Xenakis composes the "family" of his ST works, with the help of an IBM 7090 computer for calculating data input:

January 24 : ST/48 - 1,240 162 for orchestra of 48 instruments, which will only be premièred on October 26, 1968 ("Journée Xenakis" during the SMIP (Semaines musicales internationales de Paris).

February 8 : ST/10 - 1,080262 and its transcription for string quartet (by Konstantin Simonovitch), ST/4 - 1,080262, which will both be premièred on May 24, 1962 at the IBM-France headquarters, respectively by the Ensemble de musique contemporaine de Paris and the Bernède Quartet.

July 3 : Morisma-Amorsima (ST/4 - 1,030 762) is premièred on December 16 in Athens, conducted by Lukas Foss, as well as his transcription of Morisma-Amorsima for ten instruments (later removed from catalogue).

 

September 6 : Atrées (ST/10 - 3,060 962) is premièred by the Ensemble de musique contemporaine de Paris, conducted by Konstantin Simonovitch.

April 25 : première of Stratégie at the Venezia Festival, by the Festival’s orchestra, conducted by Bruno Maderna and Konstantin Simonovitch.

May : organization of a "group concert" by the GRM. A collaborative work to be made up of fragments composed by the nine participants: Ballif, Bayle, Canton, Ferrari, Mâche, Malec, Parmegiani, Philippot and Xenakis. The overall concept of its organization was based on specifically xenakian principles:

"[…] the problem of the group concert rapidly took a stochastic incline.

In particular, Xenakis’s proposition at the February meeting at F. Bayle’s advocated studying an overall structure, with the help of probability matrices, that would leave freedom within each sequence chosen by the composers, all while conditioning the whole process which would then become rigorously and stochastically mechanical." (from the first of "Deux textes préparés pour le concert collectif", BnF, music department, Xenakis archives.

Various restrictions were added, and in the end, disappointed, Xenakis withdraws from the project. He also leaves the GRM and returns only sporadically. In particular, there he recorded and mixed the tape of the Polytope de Montréal in 1967, and realized the 4-track versions of Concret P.H. and Orient-Occident in 1969.

Xenakis is invited to the Warsaw Autumn Festival. His works were very well received there.

October 25 : première of Polla ta Dhina by Hermann Scherchen at the Stuttgart Festival of "light" music.

December 15 : scandalous première of Bohor in Paris, tape piece realized at the GRM studio, which led to the definitive break between Xenakis and Pierre Schaeffer, to whom the work is dedicated.

1963

April 24 : first performance of a work by Xenakis at the Domaine Musical (Paris) : Herma, played by the pianist Georges Pludermacher, given with Schoenberg’s Opus 11 and 23, Amy’s Inventions, Constellations by Boulez, and Trio by Kotonski.

"I remain skeptical about the pianist Xenakis proposed. […] I’m also certain that Xenakis’s piece will be boring; that is why I’ve put Amy’s piece before it." (Letter from Pierre Boulez to Suzanne Tézenas, April 16, 1963 from Jésus Aguila, Le Domaine Musical. Ïerre Boulez et vingts ans de création contemporaine, Fayard, Paris, 1992, p.31).

Herma’s success was such that Georges Pludermacher had to play the entire piece as an encore.

Summer : Xenakis is invited by Aaron Copland to teach composition at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (Massachusetts). Jean-Pierre Guézec and David Del Tredici were among his students there. He began work on Eonta at Tanglewood and to jot down "sieves" in his notes and sketches.

October : publication of Musiques Formelles. Nouvelles principes de composition musicale, n° 253-254 of La Revue Musicale, published by Richard-Masse. To this synoptic review of articles mainly previously published in the Gravesaner Blätter, Xenakis adds a new chapter "Musique Symbolique" (Symbolic Music), relating to the compositional principles used in Herma. This volume is subsequently reprinted (in French) by Editions Stock. It was published under a slightly different form in 1971 in English, and again reprinted and augmented in 1992 in English.

Fall 1963 - Spring 1964 : Xenakis lived in West Berlin on a grant from the Ford Foundation. There, he worked on new compositional ideas (in time/outside time distinctions, sieves), first made public in his article "La voie de la recherche et de la question".

"It is necessary to distinguish two natures : in-time and outside-time. That which can be thought of without considering a before or an after is outside-time. Traditional modes are partially outside-time, logical operations or relationships imposed on classes of sounds, intervals, characters…are also outside-time. As soon as the discourse contains a before or an after, we are in-time. A series is in-time, as is a traditional melody. All music, in its outside-time nature, can be instantaneously delivered, struck. Its in-time nature is the relationship of its outside-time nature with time. In terms of a sonorous reality, there is no purely outside-time music; a purely in-time music does exist, it is rhythm, in it’s purest state." (from Preuves, n° 177, November 1965, p.34)

 

1964

January : while in Berlin, Xenakis writes his essay "La Ville cosmique" for Françoise Choay’s book, L’Urbanisme. Utopies et rélaité (Le Seuil, Paris, 1965), which is later included in his book, Musique. Architecture (op.cit, 1976). In order to prevent any further suburban sprawl, he proposes a model of gigantic towers, several kilometers high, susceptible of containing high density human populations. Indifferent to climatic variations, this model would have a universal vocation.

July : première of Les Suppliante (Hiketides) at the Epidaurus Theatre, without Xenakis since he still carries a death sentence in Greece and has been stripped of his Greek nationality.

December 16 : première of Eonta at the Domaine Musical (which commissioned the work) by Yuji Takahashi, piano and the Domaine Musical Ensemble conducted by Pierre Boulez. Assessing the score unplayable as such, Boulez has the five brass parts played by ten instrumentalists, following a relay principle.

The original project requested by the Domaine Musical was supposed to be a work for percussion and brass entitled Achos-Aphès-Phos, conceived to be played with a cybernetic sculpture by Nicolas Schöffer.

1965

May : Xenakis obtains the French nationality thanks to the assistance of Georges Pompidou and Georges Auric.

May 20 : Paris, Salle Gaveau, "Festival Xenakis", a first monographic concert, given by the Ensemble instrumental de musique contemporaine de Paris conducted by Konstantin Simonovitch and with the pianist Yuji Takahashi. The program included : ST/10 -1, 080 262, Herma, Analogiques A&B, Eonta, Syrmos ( première), Atrées, Achorripsis.

Xenakis is awarded the Grand Prize from the French Recording Academy.

1966

March 4 : Pithoprakta is conducted by Aaron Copland in San Francisco.

April 3 : world première of Terretektorh at the Royan Festival, by the ORTF (French Radio) Orchestra, conducted by Hermann Scherchen. This is the last work by Xenakis that Scherchen premières before his death.

April : Xenakis participates in an international symposium organized by UNESCO in Manila, "Musics of Asia". He gives a lecture entitled "Outside-time structures".

Achorripsis is played there, as well as concerts where his music is programmed with traditional music from the Philippines.

May 5 : Siegfried Palm premières Nomos Alpha in Bremen.

June 11 - September 4 : Oresteïa (first version) is premièred and performed three times a week in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

June 28-29 : the English Bach Festival programs two concerts of Xenakis’s music with, in particular, the première of Akrata played by the Ensemble instrumental de musique contemporaine de Paris, conducted by Charles Bruck.

July 29 : performance of Metastasis in Mexico.

August : Xenakis gives classes and lectures for four weeks at the Institute Torcuati di Tella in Buenos Aires, where Alfredo Ginastera is director.

December 20 : the EMAMu (Equipe de mathématique et d’Automatique Musicales) is founded by Marc Barbut, François Genuys, Georges Guilbaud and Iannis Xenakis, who is the group’s director. This structure is affiliated with the Centre de Mathématiques sociales de l’Ecole pratique des hautes études (EPHE). Mikel Dufrenne, Paul Fraisse, Robert Francès, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Olivier Revault d’Allonnes are among the members of the ‘scholar’s board’.

EMAMu’s activities are articulated in two separate directions : on the one hand, pedagogy, with theoretical training and seminars; on the other hand, research, both fundamental and applied (especially concerning "light composition").

1967

January : publication of "Vers une métamusique" (Towards a metamusic) in the periodical La Nef, n° 29. In it, Xenakis analyzes scales from ancient Greek and Byzantine music and makes a detailed presentation of his "sieve" theory.

March 29 : Medea is premièred in Paris at the Théatre de l’Odéon, conducted by Diego Masson and stage directed by Jorge Lavelli. Maria Casarès is casted as Medea.

The Polytope de Montréal is given within the French Pavilion at the Montreal World Fair. This work was commissioned by Robert Bordaz. It is an ephemeral architecture composed of cables, installed within a functional space. 1200 light flashes of five different colors (red,yellow, white, green, blue) are attached to these cables and speakers are distributed throughout the space that play back a pre-recorded tape of an instrumental score written for four identical ensembles. The command-film is programmed at 1/25th of a second, in order to give the illusion of continuous light movement.

Xenakis is invited to teach as an Associate Professor at the University of Indiana at Bloomington. He is promised a musical mathematics and automation research center. But, year after year, the project is postponed. Xenakis resigned from this position in 1972.

1968

Xenakis publishes "Vers une philosophy de la musique" (Towards a philosophy of music) in the Revue d’esthétique, vol. 21 n° 2-3-4 (a first version of this text was published in 1966 in the Gravesaner Blätter). In this essay, he again discusses the differentiation between outside-time and in-time and explains how he applied rotating cubes in his composition of Nomos Alpha.

April 7 : Nuits is premièred at the Royan Festival (which commissioned the work) by the soloists of the ORTF (French Radio) Chorus, conducted by Marcel Couraud. It is an absolute triumph.

October 25-31 : the first Contemporary Music Days in Paris, successor event to the International Music Week in Paris (SMIP), which began in 1958.

Each of the four days concentrated on one composer : Varèse, Xenakis, Berio, Henry.

October 26 : "Xenakis Day" :

At 2:30 pm, at the Paris Museum of Modern Art : an interview-debate around the EMAMu.

At 6:15 pm, at the Théatre de la Musique : concert given by the Ensemble instrumental de musique contemporaine de Paris, conducted by Konstantin Simonovitch, with Jacques Wiederker (French première of Les Suppliantes, then Nomos Alpha, Analogiques A&B, Eonta).

At 9:00 pm, concert given by the Orchestra national et de la Maîtrise de l’ORTF (French Radio orchestra and chorus), conducted by Lukas Foss, with soloists from the same chorus, and a sound installation by the GRM : Metastasis, Bohor,Polla ta Dhina (French première), the world première of ST-48, and finally, Nuits.

"Xenakis gets set up in the middle of the concert hall in order to control the performance of his Bohor from the electroacoustic console. In total darkness, and little by little, an extravagant uproar builds, leading to an absolutely unbearable flood of sound. […] During intermission, everyone was talking only about the "traumatism" of Bohor […] However, in just a few minutes, all of the copies of Nuits were taken from the chorus’ stands by members of the audience, undoubtedly avid to know more about the ‘man of the day’." (Michel Granlet, "Le journal des journées", La Revue Musicale. Carnet Critique, n°267, p.16.

"Xenakis is ‘catching on’. […] All these concerts were sold out and for some, people were turned away. […] Perhaps the gap between creator and public, which has grown incessantly since Beethoven, is finally being filled?" (Claude Rostand, Le Figaro Littéraire, November 11-17, 1968.

1969

Louis Leprince-Ringuet welcomes the EMAMu in the Collège de France’s nuclear physics laboratories. The research being done among this team is beginning to attract attention.

April 2 : at the Royan Festival, Paolo Bortoluzzi performs a choreography by Béjart on Nomos Alpha, that Xenakis finds pleonastic.

April 4 : also at Royan, Nomos Gamma is premièred by the ORTF (French Radio) Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Charles Bruck.

June 2 : At the inauguration of the National Arts Center in Ottawa, the première of Xenakis’s ballet Kraanerg, conducted by Lukas Foss, and choreographed by Roland Petit, with stage design by Vasarely, is given.

July 3 : Anaktoria is premièred by the Paris Octet at the Avignon Festival.

Spetember 9 : Persephassa is premièred by the Percussions de Strasbourg at the Shiraz Arts Festival (Iran).

 

October 28 : French première of Persephassa at the Contemporary Music Days (Paris).

1970

Osaka World Fair : presentation of Hibiki Hana Ma, an eight-track electroacoustic piece, within a performance including laser beams.

"There, Xenakis observed that beams of pure light, homogenous and undiffused, are somewhat like continuous sound. […] light flashes would, in a sense, correspond to string pizzicati as laser beams would to glissandi." (Jean Miller, Le Diatope, geste de lumière et de son, CNAC, Centre Georges-Pompidou, 1978).

May 21 : first performances of works by Xenakis in Chili : Metatstaseis and Pithoprakta, by the Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Juan Pablo Izquierdo at the Santiago Municipal Theatre.

1971

April 6 : Royan Festival : premières of Charisma (written in memory of Jean-Pierre Guézec), by Guy Deplus and Jacques Wiederker and of Synaphaï, by the ORTF (French Radio) Orchestra, conducted by Michel Tabachnik.

May : Monographic concert in the Composer’s Showcase at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

August 24 : première of Aroura at the Lucerne Festival by the Festival Strings and Rudolf Baumgartner.

August 26 : première at the Shiraz Art Festival (Iran) of Persepolis in the ruins of Darius’ palace.

"[…] this work will be a landmark in the evolution of one of the most speculative and general philosophies of our time, especially by its annexation of vast acoustic and visual spaces and by placing living human presence within a mechanism that is dominated by musical logic." (Maurice Fleuret, Nouvel Observateur, September 6, 1971).

October 18 : world première of Duel (written in 1959) in Hilversum by the Radio Orchestra, conducted by Diego Masson and Fernand Terby.

October 27 : première of Mikka by Ivry Gitlis at the Museum of Modern Art, Paris.

November 29 : at the Theatre de la Ville (Paris), concert entirely dedicated to Xenakis by the Domaine Musical : Herma, Diamorphoses, ST/10, Aroura (French première), Hibiki Hana Ma (4-track version), and Eonta.

Musique. Architecture is published by Casterman. This book comprises articles previously published in various periodicals.

1972

April 26 : English Bach Festival : première of Linaia-Agon.

Xenakis is nominated an honorary member of the British Computer Arts Society.

Michel Guy commissions Xenakis to write an opera. His response :

"No, I’m not interested, but I can create an automated, abstract spectacle with lights, lasers and electronic flashes." (Il faut être constamment un immigré, op.cit., p. 114).

This was to become the Polytope de Cluny, premièred on October 13, 1972 and presented until January 1974. In all, nearly 100,000 tickets were sold. Installed within the Roman baths of Cluny on boulevard Saint-Michel in Paris, the light show was generated by a computer that controlled the 600 some white electronic flashes and 400 mirrors that reflected green, red and blue laser beams. The sound element was an 8-track electroacoustic tape that Xenakis realized in the Studio Acousti.

The EMAMu becomes the CEMAMu (Centre de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales). It is henceforth equipped with a digital/analog converter that was built by Alain Profit at the CNET (Centre national d’études des télécommunications, National center for telecommunication studies).

"Xenakis Days" at the music department of the University of Montreal.

July : Xenakis is invited to teach at the Darmstadt summer session. He will again return there in 1974 and 1990.

Fall : Xenakis begins his career as Associate Professor at the Université de Paris I, in the visual arts and the sciences of art department. He institutes a seminar called "Formalization and programming in the visual arts and music".

December : Xenakis goes to Bali and Java on a trip organized by Maurice Fleuret (with Betsy Jolas, Toru Takemitsu and Marie-Françoise Bucquet).

1973

March - April : Xenakis teaches at the University of Montreal as an invited Eminent Professor.

April 13 : première of Eridanos at the La Rochelle Festival by the European Contemporary Music Ensemble, conducted by Michel Tabachnik.

1974

May 21 : première in Paris of Erikthon by Claude Helffer and the ORTF (French Radio) Orchestra, conducted by Michel Tabachnik.

June 20 : première in Lisbon of Cendrées by the Chorus and Orchestra of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, conducted by Michel Tabachnik. These same musicians will perform nine other works by Xenakis in two other concerts.

July : première of Gmeeoorh (61 stops) at Hartford University (Connecticut) by Claude Holloway.

September 19-22 : a Xenakis retrospective at the Beethoven Festspiele in Bonn : around thirty works are performed, including the premières of Antikhthon and Gmeeoorh (56 stops), by the Orchestra of the Cologne Radio, conducted by Michel Tabachnik and Xavier Darasse, respectively. An exhibit about the composer is also presented. This exhibit will travel to the English Bach Festival the following year.

"Just a few minutes away from Cologne, where another music of the future has reigned for some time now, this homage has a weighted meaning." (Maurice Fleuret, Nouvel Observateur, September 30, 1974.)

October 16 : première in Paris of Noomena by the Orchestre de Paris, conducted by Sir Georg Solti.

October 23 : Evryali is premièred at Lincoln Center, New York by Marie-Françoise Bucquet.

November : Xenakis returns to Greece after the fall of the colonels’ regime and the November 17th elections.

"There were passers by who crossed the street to effusively shake their hero’s hand, fumbling out a few welcoming words, but mainly speechless by all that was impossible to express. Then there’s the little old lady who traced her path through the crowds, only to ever so gently touch Xenakis’s tragic scar, as though she were caressing an icon. Then there were the street sweepers and road workers in Leonidion, deep in the Peloponnesian Isalnds, who recognized him from afar, stopped us, and improvised a celebration in his honor. […] I know for certain that Xenakis was not at all expecting to be welcomed, accepted, and understood to such a point." (Maurice Fleuret, "Le métèque du monde entier", Nouvel Observateur, n° 524, November 25, 1974.)

Xenakis is awarded the Maurice Ravel Gold Medal from the SACEM.

1975

June : "Xenakis Days" at the La Rochelle Festival, during which Empreintes is premièred by the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Netherlands Radio, conducted by Michel Tabachnik.

Summer : a "Xenakis Week" closes the Athens Festival, with a exhibit in the Picture Gallery, conferences by Xenakis and the musicologist Iannis Papaionnou, plus three concerts at the Herod Atticus Theatre. The Athens public finally gets to discover Xenakis’s music, never before officially presented in Greece before this date (among others, Metastasis, Pithoprakta, Achorripsis, Nuits, Polla ta Dhina, Herma, Evryali, Synaphaï, Charisma, Anaktoria, Empreintes).

Xenakis is named Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

1976

February 20 : Retours-Windungen is premièred in Bonn by the twelve cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic.

 

February 28 : The London Sinfonietta, conducted by Michel Tabachnik , premières Phlegra in London.

February : N’Shima is premièred in Jerusalem, conducted by Juan Pablo Izquierdo at "Testimonium", Israel’s contemporary music festival.

March : Xenakis decides to not participate in the Shiraz (Iran) Festival of the Arts, and writes to the festival’s director.

March 11 : Mikka S is premièred by Régis Pasquier at the 8th annual Music Week in Orléans (France).

March 26 : Fernando Grillo premières Theraps at the Royan Festival.

May 2 : At the English Bach Festival, Sylvio Gualda premières Psappha. This work was commissioned by the Gulbenkian Festival and Foundation.

May 5 : Khoaï is premièred by Elizabeth Chojnacka in Cologne.

May 18 : Xenakis defends his doctorate at the Université de Paris I. The jury is presided by Bernard Teyssèdre; and jury members were Olivier Messiaen, Michel Ragon, Olivier Revault D’Allonnes, Michel Serres. His thesis defense was published by Casterman in 1979 under the title :Arts/Sciences. Alliages

"Art has something in the nature of an inferential mechanism which constitutes the platforms on which all theories of the mathematical, physical and human sciences move about. Indeed, games of proportion - reducible to number games and metrics in architecture, literature, music, painting, theatre, dance, etc., games of continuity, of proximity, in or outside of time, topological essence - all occur on the terrain of inference, in the strict, logical sense of the word. Situated next to this terrain and operating in reciprocal activity is the experimental mode which challenges or confirms theories created by the sciences, including mathematics. […] It is experimentation that makes or breaks theories, pitilessly and without any particular consideration for the theories themselves. Yet the arts are governed in a manner even richer and more complex by this experimental mode. Certainly there is not nor will there ever be an objective criterion for determining absolute truth or eternal validity even within one work of art, just as no scientific "truth" is ever definitive. But in addition to these two modes - inferential and experimental - art exists in a third mode, one of immediate revelation, which is neither inferential nor experimental. The revelation of beauty occurs immediately, directly, to someone ignorant of art as well as to the connoisseur. This is the strength of art and, so it seems, its superiority over the sciences. Art, while living the two dimensions of inference and experimentation, possesses this third and most mysterious dimension which permits art objects to escape any aesthetic science while still enjoying the caresses of inference and experimentation.

But on the other hand, art cannot live by the revelation mode alone. […] art has an imperious need of organization (including that of chance); therefore a need for inference and its confirmation; hence, a need for its experimental truth.

To shed some light on this trinity of modes in art, let’s imagine that in a distant future, the power of artistic action will increase as it never before has in history […] Actually, there is no reason why art cannot, following the example of science, rise from the immensity of the cosmos, nor why art cannot, as a cosmic landscaper, modify the demeanor of the galaxies." (Arts/Sciences.Alloys, Perndragon, 1985, p. 4-5.)

May : première of Dmaathen (original version for oboe and percussion) at Carnegie Hall, New York, by Nora Post and Jan Williams.

Xenakis is awarded the National Grand Prize for Music from the French Ministry of Culture.

December 16 : Epeï, commissioned by the Quebec Society for Contemporary Music, is premièred in Montreal.

1979

Xenakis receives the Beethoven Prize from the city of Bonn; and in Paris, is awarded the Grand Prize from the Charles-Cros Recording Academy.

The CEMAMu builds the first generation UPIC (Unité polygogique informatique du CEMAMu).

April : French première of N’Shima by the Ensemble Intercontemporain , conducted by Michel Tabachnik, at the Theatre de la Ville (Paris), as part of IRCAM’s inaugural concert series "Passage du XX° siècle".

June 17 : the Studio 11 Ensemble premières Akanthos in Strasbourg.

June 21 : A Colonne is premièred at the Rencontres internationales de musique contemporaine in Metz (France).

June 28 : Kottos is premièred at the La Rochelle Festival. This work was written for the Mstislav Rostropovitch International Competition. Xenakis was a member of that competition’s jury.

July : A Hélène is premièred by the Greek National Theatre’s Chorus at the Epidaurus Theatre.

December 21 : The Orchestre national de France, conducted by Michel Tabachnik, premières Jonchaies in Paris.

1978

February 11 : première of the Diatope, on the esplanade of the Centre George-Pompidou using Xenakis’s electrocacoustic piece La Légende d’Eer (realized at the CEMAMu and in the studios of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne) plus a computer generated light show involving some 1600 electronic flashes, 4 laser projectors and 400 pivoting mirrors and prisms.

April 2 : Ikhoor is premièred in Paris at the Palais Garnier (Opera House) by the Trio à cordes français.

July : Xenakis is the ‘guest in honor’ at the Centre Acanthes, whose courses and lectures take place in Aix-en Provence.

August 2 : Polytope de Mycène is presented in the ruins of the ancient Greek town in the Peloponnisos; in addition to the electroacoustic work Mycène Alpha, composed especially for the occasion, the following works were also performed : A Hélène, A Colonne, Oresteïa, Psappha, Persephassa. Excerpts from Mycène Alpha (the first composition ever to be composed on the UPIC) were interspersed between these pieces and excerpts from Homer were read by Olga Tournaki and Spyros Sakkas. The spectacle was presented five successive evenings, with between 7000 and 10000 spectators attending each performance.

1979

March 3 : première of Palimpsest, in Aquila (Italy), by the Divertimento Ensemble, conducted by Sandro Gorli. This work was commissioned by the Academia Filarmonica Romana,

May 17 : the Percussions de Strasbourg ensemble premières Pléïades in Strasbourg during a ballet performance, "Le Concile musical", by the Rhine Opera Ballet company, choreographed by Germinal Casado. The different movements of Pléïades alternate with pieces by Giovanni Gabrieli.

May : Xenakis is invited to Quebec by the Canadian Music Council to attend their symposia on the theme "Every child’s music every day". In Montreal, he participates in the Critères group’s congress on "deprofessionalism".

May - September : thanks to Hans Nagel, the Beaubourg Diatope is installed on the Bahnhofplatz in Bonn. The spectacle is presented there three times a day.

June 21 : Anemoessa is premièred at the Holland Festival by the Hilversum Radio Orchestra, conducted by Richard Dufallo.

Summer : composition seminar given at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna (Italy).

October : "Xenakis Days" organized by the Contemporary Music Society of Quebec and the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra.

1980

June 4 : Dikthas is premièred during the 30th Beethovenfest in Bonn by Salvatore Accardo and Bruno Canino.

Xenakis is invited to Warsaw and Cracow by the Polish Composers’ Union to give a series of lectures on formalized music.

Xenakis’s music is officially played for the first time in the USSR, by Sylvio Gualda, who perform Psappha in Moscow.

Concerts of Xenakis’s music are organized in New York : Metastasis and Empreintes are performed by the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, and N’Shima by the Brooklyn Philharmonia, conducted by Lukas Foss.

The CEMAMu and UPIC go to Lille (France) for three weeks, invited by the Lille Festival and the Regional Musical Workshop, for lectures and composition workshops; followed by Bordeaux, were the Sigma Festival invited them for ten days.

The Saint-Denis Festival proposes a "Carte Blanche to Xenakis" where the composer chose and presented the program : works by Dufay and Dunstable were played, as well as the Parisian première of Palimpsest.

Invited by the International Scientific Symposia in Volos, organized by the architecture department of the University of Thessalonki, Xenakis gives a lecture entitled "Spaces and Sources of Auditions and Spectacles".

Xenakis is named member of the National Board of Hellenic Resistance.

He participates in numerous television and radio broadcasts : on France-Culture, in Georges Charbonnier’s show, on the subject of CEMAMu and the UPIC; a Canadian television show on the same subject; an interview on TF1 for Maurice Leroux’s show "Arcana", and the popular "Bios Bahnhof" broadcast at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk.

1981

February 13 : première of Aïs for amplified baritone, percussion and orchestra, by Spyros Sakkas, Syvio Gualda, and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, conducted by Michel Tabachnik, at the Herkulessaal in Munich, where Pithoprakta had previously been premièred.

March 30 : Embellie is premièred in Paris by Geneviève Renon-MacLaughlin.

August : Mists, Xenakis’s third solo piano work, is premièred by Roger Woodward at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Xenakis is named Officer in the French Order of Arts and Letters.

September 6 : Serment-Orkos is premièred in Athens by the Greek Radio Chorus.

November 22 : Komboï is premièred by Elizabeth Chojnacka and Sylvio Gualda at the Rencontres internationales de musique contemporaine in Metz (France).

LXenakis gives a lsecture at the Collège de France (rue d’Ulm, Paris) on "Intuition, theory and musical realization", as part of the Congress on Philosophy and Mathematics.

1982

March 26 : Nekuïa is premièred in Cologne by the Cologne Radio Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Michel Tabachnik.

April 23 : Pour la Paix (second version) is premièred in Paris, at Radio-France, based on excepts from Françoise Xenakis’s books Ecoute and Les morts pleureront, for four narrators, mixed chorus, stereo tape, with narrators : Danielle Delorme, Françoise Xenakis, Philippe Bardy, Maxence Mailfort and the Radio-France Chorus, conducted by Michel Tabachnik.

October 18 : Pour Maurice (Maurice Fleuret) is premièred at the Euopalia Festival in Brussels by Spyros Sakkas and Claude Helffer.

Xenakis is named Knight in the French Legion of Honor.

1983

February 3 : première of Shaar [The Door], for large string orchestra, by the Jerusalem Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Pablo Izquierdo, for the opening of the Israel Festival of Contemporary Music at the Tel-Aviv Museum.

Second half of May : CEMAMu and UPIC participate in the "Music and computers" Congress at the Centre de rencontres culturelles et scientifiques d’Orsay (France), where other prestigious institutions such as the Ecole Polytechnique, HEC, Supélec et INRA also attended.

Xenakis becomes a member of the Berlin Fine Arts Academy.

June 21 : simultaneous première of Chant des Soleils in several towns in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region (France).

July 15 : première at the Hospices de Beaune of Khal Perr by the Arban Quintet and the Alsace Percussions.

December 2 : Pour les baleines is premièred by the Orchestre Colonne, conducted by Diego Masson, as part of the Semaines musicales d’Orléans (France) Festival.

1984 :

February 14 : Thalleïn is premièred in London by the London Sinfonietta, conducted by Elgar Howarth.

April : in collaboration with Jean-Louis Véret, Xenakis presents his entry to the architectural competition for the Cité de la Musique project at the Parc de la Villette (Paris).

"The New National Music Conservatory (NNMC)

The NNMC is composed of two distinct entities (a) and (b) that together create one visual whole and that is hollowed out between the southern most access […] This structure surges towards the sky in an inverted tulip shape composed of hyperbolic paraboloids in reinforced concrete.

The Auditorium, a "jewel box of sounds"

Acoustics

At its base, the Auditorium is in the form of a "patatoid", in order to eliminate any zones of concentration or acoustic shadows. It is curved all around and the curve's degree is constantly and uniformly variable. This leads to a rich reverberation, without favoring any particular spectrum's register.

In order to draw this characteristic into the third dimension, an 11° torsion is applied to the patatoid at the base, […] This offers both a remarkable combination of wavelengths without preferential effects and the effect of an architectural movement. It is important not to forget that in a "jewel box of sounds," the interior architecture may either caress or aggress the sounds within.

The floor of this auditorium is composed of approximately 1 m x 1 m cubes, […] in order to obtain any desired relief with gradients up to, for example, six meters." ("Presentation of the Cité de la Musique Project" [Xenakis archives/BnF, p.2 & 4])

This project was selected among five others, but finally was not retained.

April 16 : Lichens is premièred by the Liège Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Pierre Bartholomée.

May 2 : Xenakis is admitted to the French Fine Arts Academy, replacing Georges Auric. Olivier Meesiaen gave the welcoming speech.

May 20 : Elizabeth Chonjnacka premières Naama in Luxembourg.

September - December : the Festival d’Automne in Paris, having decided to extensively program Xenakis over three years, presents this first year all his works for and with piano as well as some recent orchestral works such as :Aïs, Nekuïa, Komboï and choral works such as A Colone, Medea

1985 :

June 30 : Nyuyo [Setting Sun] for shakuhashi, sangen and two kotos, is premièred at the Angers (France) Festival by the Yonin-no-kai ensemble from Tokyo.

July 24 : Idmen A&B are premièred in Strasbourg during the Europa Cantat Festival by the Antifona Chorus from Cluj and the Percussions de Strasbourg.

July : As part of the European Music Year, the Centre Acanthes summer course is devoted to Xenakis and takes place first in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, then Salzburg (at the Mozarteum summer academy) and then in Dephi.

September 15 : première in Cologne of Alax, by the Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern, the Ensemble Köln and the Gruppe für Neue Musik Hanns Eisler from Leipzig, conducted by Ernest Bour.

Xenakis is named Officer in the French National Order of Merit.

1986

Ateliers UPIC is founded, whose vocation is essentially to train and help composers use the UPIC system.

June 19 - July 6 : Festival Nieuwe Muziek of De Kloveniersdoelen in Middleburg (Holland) : Xenakis participates in master classes organized by Morton Feldman, during which a memorable interview between the two composers took place.

July 4 : Elizabeth Chojnacka and the Middleburg Ensemble première A l’île de Gorée, conducted by Huub Kerstens.

September 19 : Benny Sluchin premières Keren at the Festival Musica in Strasbourg.

November 13 : Keqrops is premièred at Lincoln Center, New York by Roger Woodward and the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta.

December 15 : Akea is premièred during the Festival d’Automne by Claude Helffer and the Arditti Quartet.

1987

January 26 : Jalons is premièred at the Theatre de la Ville (Paris). This work was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain for its tenth anniversary.

July 13 : Taurhiphanie is premièred in the amphitheatre of Arles (France), as part of the Radio-France International Festival based in Montpellier.

August 2 : première of A r. (Homage to Ravel) by Haakon Austbö, at the Radio-France International Festival in Montpellier.

August 21 : a new version of Oresteïa (originally dating from 1965) is presented at the Orestiadi Festival in Gibellina, directed by Iannis Kokkos. Kassandra for baritone and percussion is added. The performance site is the ancient village of Gibellina that was destroyed by an earthquake and partially razed. Local inhabitants participated in this performance. This work, under a new stage direction, will also be performed in Strasbourg that fall, at the Festival Musica.

September 17 : the Lille National Orchestra, conducted by Jean-Claude Cassadesus, premières Tracées in Paris.

October 24 : Horos is premièred in Tokyo by the Japanese Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Hiroyuki Iwaki, as part of the inauguration of the new Suntory Hall.

November 17 : Xas is premièred by the Rascher Saxophone Quartet.

1988

May 3 : Ata is premièred at Donaueschingen by the Südwestfunk Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Michael Gielen.

May 6 : the Lonon Sinfonietta, conducted by Elgar Howarth, premières Waarg in London.

July 1 : Rebonds is premièred by Sylvio Gualda at the Villa Medicis during the Roma Europa Festival.

July : Xenakis participates in the symposia "Rediscovering Time", organized by the University of Brussels. His text presents a synthesis of his ideas on time:

"We see to what extent music is everywhere steeped in time : (a) time in the form of impalpable flux or (b) time in its frozen form, outside time, made possible by memory. Time is the blackboard on which are inscribed phenomena and their relations outside the time of the universe in which we live. Relations imply architectural structures, rules. And, can one imagine a rule without repetition? Certainly not. […] Besides, a single event in an absolute eternity of time and space would make no sense. And yet, each event, like each individual on earth, is unique. But this uniqueness is the equivalent of death which lies in wait at every step, at every moment. Now, the repetition of an event, its reproduction as faithfully as possible, corresponds to this struggle against disappearance, against nothingness. As if the entire universe fought desperately to hang on to existence, to being,, by its own tireless renewal at every instant, at every death. The union of Parmenides and of Heraclitus. […] Change - for there is no rest - the couple death and birth lead the Universe, by duplication, the copy being more or less exact. The "more or less" makes the difference between a pendular, cyclic Universe, strictly determined (even a deterministic chaos), and a nondetermined Universe, absolutely unpredictable and chaotic." (based on the original "Sur le temps", Revue de l’université de Bruxelles, 1988, p.200, later published, slightly revised and reprinted here in Formalized Music, Pendragon, 1992, p.266-267)

September 19-24 : the Settembre Musica da Torino Festival is entirely dedicated to Xenakis. For this occasion, a book edited by Enzo Restagno is published, and includes a long interview with the composer as well as articles pertaining to his works (Xenakis, E. Restagno ed., Torino, EDT/Musica, 1988, 315 p.).

1989

January : Patrick Fleury hosts four weekly radio broadcasts on Xenakis : "Determinism and free will", "Masses and rarefaction", "Rationalism and intuition", "Time and outside-time".

April 1 : Voyage absolu des Unari vers Andromède, a work realized at the CEMAMu, is premièred at the Kamejama Honyokuji Temple in Osaka, as part of the International Kite Exhibit.

April 26 : Harry Sparnaay and the Asko Ensemble, conducted by David Porcelijn, première Echange in Amsterdam.

Xenakis is named Doctor Honoris Causa at the Edimburgh University and also a foreign member of the Swedish Royal Academy.

May 18 : Rohan de Saram and the Spectrum Ensemble, conducted by Guy Protheroe, première Epicycle, as part of the London Greek Festival.

September 17 : première of Oophaa at the Warsaw Autumn Festival, by Elizabeth Chojnacka and Sylvio Gualda.

October 20 : Okho is premièred at the Opera-Comique in Paris by the Le Cercle Trio as part of the Festival d’Automne.

1990

April : Xenakis is a Distinguished Resident at the University of Southern California in San Diego. Nineteen of his works are performed in student concerts.

April 27 : the Arditti Quartet premières Tetora at the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik Festival.

June 24 : Knephas is premièred in London’s Almeida Festival by the New London Choir, conducted by James Wood.

Xenakis is named Professor Emeritus at the Université de Paris I - Sorbonne.

October 9 : Tuorakemsu is premièred in Tokyo for Toru Takemistsu’s sixtieth birthday by the Shinsei Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Hiroyuki Iwaki.

December 7 : Kyania is premièred in Montpellier by the Montpellier Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zoltan Pesko.

1991

Xenakis completes his GENDY computer program that introduces a stochastic algorithm in the sound synthesis process called "dynamic stochastic synthesis".

Xenakis is named Officer in the French Legion of Honor and Commander in the French Order of Arts and Letters.

October 6 : Dox-Orkh is premièred by Irvine Arditti and the BBC Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Arturo Tamayo at the Musica Festival in Strasbourg.

November 17 : Gendy3 is premièred at the Rencontres internationales de musique contemporaine in Metz (France).

1992

March 24 : Roaï is premièred in Berlin by the Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Olaf Henzold, for the fortieth jubilee anniversary of the European Association of Music Festivals.

May : Krinoïdi is premièred in Parma (Italy) by the Emilie-Romagne Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Ramon Encinar.

Xenakis is named Honoray Member of the Sainte-Cecilia Academy in Rome.

May 3 : La Déesse Athéna is premièred in Athens by Spyros Sakkas and the Radiotelevision Orchestra of Athens, conducted by Michel Tabachnik.

December 5 : Pu wijnuej we fyp, based on Arthur Rimbaud’s "Dormeur du val", is premièred by the Radio-France Chorus, conducted by Denis Dupays. Rimbaud’s original poem is transformed by a bi-univocal application of the alphabet.

December 14 : Paille in the wind is premièred by Jacopo Scalfi and Roger Woodward at La Scala in Milan.

1993

March 26 : Troorkh, a concerto for trombone and orchestra, is premièred by Christian Lindberg and the Swedish Radio Orchestra, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.

July 23 : Mosaïques is premièred in Marseille (France) by the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra, conducted by Michel Tabachnik.

September 1 : Les Bacchantes d’Euripide is premièred at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall by Joe Dixon, baritone and the Premiere Ensemble of the Opera Factory, conducted by Nicholas Kork. This work will be performed nine times over the following days.

Here, we may mention other notable performances of Xenakis’s music :

October 2-4 : three concerts are entirely dedicated to Xenakis at the Dresdner Tage der zeitgenössischen Musik. Works for and with harpsichord are presented as well as electroacoustic pieces.

October 11 : the Polytope de Cluny is given at the Ultima Festival in Oslo. Jean-Claude Risset is the sound engineer.

October 28 : a Xenakis Day is organized at the Seoul University by Yuji Takahashi.

November 9-13 : in the Paris Festival d’Automne, a dance performance by the Charleroi Ballet Company, choreographed by Lucinda Childs, based on Naama, Oopha, and Psappha, played by Elizabeth Chojnacka and Sylvio Gualda. This dance performance subsequently tours : Nïmes, Cannes, Grenoble, and Amsterdam.

1994

April 5 : Zyïa is premièred at the Contemporary Music Festival in Evreux (France) by Dominique Gaucet, Cécile Daroux, Dimitri Vassiliakis, and the men’s chorus of the Jeunes Solistes, conducted by Rachid Safir.

April 24 : Plekto is premièred at the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik by the Ensemble Köln, conducted by Robert Platz.

June 9 : Dämmerschein, conducted by Zoltan Pesko, with the Cologne Radio Orchestra, is premièred in Lisbon. The German and Belgian premières of this work are performed in the following days.

September 16 : the BBC Singers, conducted by Simon Joly, première Sea Nymphs in London.

September 21 : première in Warsaw of Mnamas Kharin Witoldowi Lutoslavskiemu (in memory of Witold Lutoslawski) by the Cracow Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Wojciech Michniewski.

December 2 : première of S.709 in Paris during the "UPIC Days" organized at Radio-France.

December 17 : Ergma is premièred in The Hague by the Mondrian Quartet.

1995

February 4 : a new version (by Cécile Daroux for Bb flute and amplified percussion) of Dmaathen is premièred at the Festival Présences at Radio-France by Cécile Daroux and Claire Talibart. The French première of Dämmerschein is also presented in this Festival by the Radio-France Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Elgar Howarth.

Xenakis is named Knight in the Greek Phoenix Legion and Commander in the French National Order of Merit.

November 16 : Voile is premièred in the Herkulessaal in Munich by the Munich Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Christoph Poppen.

1996

March 1 : Koïranoï is premièred in Hamburg by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Zoltan Pesko.

April 10 : Zythos, for trombone and six percussionists, is premièred by Christian Lindberg and the Kroumata Ensemble, in Birmingham.

June 10 : Kuïlenn, for nine wind instruments, is premièred in Amsterdam during the Holland Festival by the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble.

August 9 : Hunem-Iduhey is premièred in New York by Edna Michell and Ole Akahoshi during the Lincoln Center Festival of Arts.

October 4 : the Arditti Quartet, Thomas Kakuska, and Valentin Erben première the string sextet Ittidra in Francfurt (Germany).

October 20 : Ioolkos is premièred at the Donaueschingen Festival by the Südwestfunk Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Kwamé Ryan.

November 12 : Kaï is premièred by the Oh Ton Ensemble, conducted by David Coleman, in Oldenburg.

December 6 : Roscobeck is premièred in Cologne by Rohan de Saram and Stefano Scodanibbio at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk as part of the Musik der Zeit Festival.

1997

February 4 : Xenakis is awarded the Kyoto Prize in Japan.

July 23 : première of Sea-Change in London by the BBC Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Davies.

November 30 : première of Xenakis’s last opus, O-mega, in Huddersfield by Evelyn Glennie (solo percussion) and the London Sinfonietta, conducted by Markus Stenz.

1998

January - February : numerous works by Xenakis are presented in the Présences Festival at Radio-France.

1999

January 25-30 : Xenakis Days at the Marc-Bloch University and Museum of Modern Art in Strasbourg.

March : Xenakis Festival in Nicosia and Larnaka (Cyprus).

May : Xenakis Weeks in Brittany (France)

2000

May : Music and Mathematics Days at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. Over twenty works for orchestra by Xenakis are presented.

December 15 : première of Anastenaria as a triptych (Procession vers les eaux claires, Le Sacrifice, Metastasis) in Munich, conducted by Charles Zacharie Bornstein.

2001

February 4 : Iannis Xenakis dies at home at five in the morning.

 

This text, reproduced here with the kind authorization of the BnF originally appeared in "Portrait(s) de Iannis Xenakis"
ed. François-Bernard Mâche
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Distributed by Seuil
Paperback : 17.2 x 22 cm.
176 pages, of which 32 p in color
29 Euros
ISBN 2-7177-2178-9, January 2002.