Iannis Xenakis

Born 29 May 1922. Died 4 February 2001.

Iannis Xenakis

Iannis Xenakis

Biography

Iannis Xenakis (Greek: Γιάννης (Ιάννης) Ξενάκης; 29 May 1922 – 4 February 2001) was a Greek-French composer, music theorist, and architect-engineer. After 1947, he fled Greece, becoming a naturalized citizen of France. He is commonly recognized as one of the most important post-war avant-garde composers. Xenakis pioneered the use of mathematical models in music such as applications of set theory, stochastic processes and game theory and was also an important influence on the development of electronic and computer music. He integrated music with architecture, designing music for pre-existing spaces, and designing spaces to be integrated with specific music compositions and performances.

Among his most important works are Metastaseis (1953–54) for orchestra, which introduced independent parts for every musician of the orchestra; percussion works such as Psappha (1975) and Pléïades (1979); compositions that introduced spatialization by dispersing musicians among the audience, such as Terretektorh (1966); electronic works created using Xenakis's UPIC system; and the massive multimedia performances Xenakis called polytopes. Among the numerous theoretical writings he authored, the book Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition (French edition 1963, English translation 1971) is regarded as one of his most important. As an architect, Xenakis is primarily known for his early work under Le Corbusier: the Sainte Marie de La Tourette, on which the two architects collaborated, and the Philips Pavilion at Expo 58, which Xenakis designed by himself.

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