Stockhausen's unique approach is well illustrated by his composition Gruppen [groups] (1957); in this piece three separate orchestras, each with its own conductor, play simultaneously; sometimes their music coincides; sometimes they play against one another; sometimes they play antiphonally. Among Stockhausen's other compositions are Kreuzspiel (1948); Kontrapunkte No. 1 (1953), for 10 instruments; Kontakte (1960), for electronic music; Stimmung (American premiere, 1971), for voices; and Jubilee (1981), for orchestra. His monumental Licht [light], a cycle of seven operas (one for each day of the week) with mystical and cosmic overtones, was begun in 1977 and completed in 2003. His final electronic work, Cosmic Pulses, debuted in 2008. During his late period of composition, he and his work were venerated by a small circle but largely ignored in the larger world of contemporary classical music. In all, Stockhausen wrote about 300 works, approximately half of which had electronic elements.
See R. Maconie, ed., Stockhausen on Music: Lectures and Interviews (1989); biographies by K. H. Wörner (1973) and M. Kurtz (1991); J. Harvey, Music of Stockhausen: An Introduction (1975); R. Maconie, Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen (1976, repr. 1981, 1990) and Other Planets: The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen (2005).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: History, Composers, and Performers: Biographies