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Chronology: 1985 - 1990


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.


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.


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.


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.).


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.


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.

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