probabilistictechnique of composition, based on the mathematical probability of the recurrence of notes and rhythms. Despite its highly intellectual theoretical basis, his extremely original music has been described as raw and wild. He also developed
polytopes,multimedia events combining electronic sound, performance, light, and his own temporary architectural constructions. His compositions include Métastasis (1953–54) for orchestra, Pithoprakta (1955–56) for strings, and Achorripsis (1958) for 21 instruments. In 1958, Xenakis collaborated with Edgar Varèse on the Poème Electronique. His later compositions often include electronic sound, as in Bohor (1962) and Polytope de Cluny (1972), or virtuoso percussion, as in Psappha (1975), the complex string quartet Tetras (1983), Rebonds (1988), and his last piece, O—Mega (1997). He was a founder of the Centre d'Etudes Mathématiques et Automatiques in Paris and of the Center for Mathematical and Automated Music at Indiana Univ. Xenakis wrote several treatises explaining his various theories, e.g., Formalized Music (1971, tr. 1972, repr. 2001).
See interviews by M. Bois (1967, repr. 1980) and B. A. Varga (1996); J. Harley, Xenakis: His Life in Music (2004), I. Hewett, Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary (2010), and S. Kanach, ed., Performing Xenakis (2010).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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