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Iannis Xenakis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Iannis Xenakis (May 29, 1922, Romania - February 4, 2001) was a Greek composer who spent much of his life in Paris, France. He is acclaimed as one of the most important composers of contemporary music.

He was born in Br?ila, Romania, and studied architecture in Athens, Greece. Xenakis participated in the Greek Resistance during the World War II and the first phase of Greek Civil War as a member of the students company Lord Byron of ELAS (Greek Peoples Liberation Army). He received a severe face wound and escaped a death sentence. In the '50s he fled to Paris and worked with LeCorbusier. While his assistant, Xenakis designed the PhilipsPavilion, home of the première of EdgarVarese 's PoemeElectronique at the 1958 Brussels International Fair.

He studied music composition with Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, and OlivierMessiaen?. He is particularly remembered for his pioneering electronic and computer music, and for the use of stochastic mathematical techniques in his compositions, including probability (Maxwell-Boltzmann kynetic theory of gases in Pithoprakta, aleatory distribution of points on a plane in Diamorphoses, minimal constraints in Achorripsis, Gaussian distribution in ST/10 and Atrées, Markovian chains in Analogiques), game theory (in Duel and Stratégie), group theory (Nomos Alpha), and Boolean algebra (in Herma and Eonta). In keeping with his use of probabilistic theories, many of Xenakis' pieces are, in his own words, "a form of composition which is not the object in itself, but an idea in itself, that is to say, the beginnings of a family of compositions". In 1962 he published Musique Formelles—later revised, expanded and translated into Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition in 1971—a collection of essays on his musical ideas and composition techniques, regarded as one of the most important theoretical works of 20th century music.


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