Universal Edition - Karlheinz Stockhausen

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Karlheinz Stockhausen

The Composer

Born in 1928, Karlheinz Stockhausen was eleven at the start of World War II and was old enough to experience the ensuing years with the consciousness of a premature child and adolescent. That consciousness was heightened by tragedies in his family which must have left an indelible mark on his mind. Here is how he himself described it:

“Both parents came from a rural background. The mother, bearing three children in just three years and living in utter poverty, began suffering deep depressions and was committed to a mental hospital, where she was officially killed in 1941. The father managed for a few years with housekeepers, marrying one of them, who bore him two more children; he ...


About the Music

Compositional metamorphoses

There are certain labels which – despite an inevitable tendency towards exaggeration – can nevertheless serve as preliminary indicators of a composer’s orientation. One such label is the phrase ‘conservative revolutionary’, used by Willi Reich to characterise Schoenberg. Among composers who left a significant mark on the second half of the twentieth century, this same description may most readily be applied to Karlheinz Stockhausen. The innovations for which he was responsible are manifold and, to a large extent, familiar also to a wider audience:

- decisive contributions to the development of serialist musical thinking; exemplary compositions with ...


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