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Chronology: 1962 - 1967


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.


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)


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.


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.


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").


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.

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