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DJ Merkury wins the Karlheinz Stockhausen contest
Untitled Document Seven finalists were selected by a panel of three judges. These final seven entries were sent to Professor Stockhausen, who chose the winner.
Runners Up:
Mark Polscher: Along with his work as a composer of theater and film music, Mark Polscher has toured as flutist/saxophonist with numerous international jazz and rock bands. He founded his own record company, and has produced music for 500+ sequels of a daily game show, contributed as a recording artist for numerous recording and radio productions, and published more than 20 recordings of his own works. Since 1998 Polscher has been working on a four piece cycle titled DIE MECHANISCHE BRAUT / THE MECHANICAL BRIDE: AUTOMATIK (Munich, 1999); DIE MECHANISCHE BRAUT, opera (Darmstadt 2000); TOWARDS A COMPREHENSIVE MODEL OF CHANGE (Darmstadt, 2004); and BRAUTLIEDER / SONGS FOR THE BRIDE (Cologne, 2005). Polscher completes his concert commissions and studio work by giving lectures and writing essays about music and related subjects.
Richard Toop: Richard Toop is a Reader in Music and Chair of the Musicology Unit at the Sydney Conservatorium, University of Sydney, Australia. He was Stockhausen's teaching assistant at the Cologne Musiikhochschule in 1973-4, wrote the Stockhausen entry in the Revised New Grove Dictionary of Music, and taught at the Stockhausen Kürten Courses in 2002 and 2003. His publications include a biography of György Ligeti (Phaidon, 1999), several analytical studies of works by Brian Ferneyhough and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and more recently of younger composers such as Richard Barrett, Chris Dench, and Robert HP Platz.
Stephen Truelove: Stephen Truelove teaches piano and composition at Southern Oregon University, and is active as a composer, teacher, and pianist. His compositions include scores for solo instruments, chamber ensembles and orchestra; music for ballet and film; electronic and computer music; improvisational scores and tape recordings of improvisations; and a mixed media chamber opera, 'Flowers and Butterflies'. His article regarding "Karlheinz Stockhausen's Klavierstuck XI: An Analysis of its Composition via a Matrix System of Serial Polyphony and the Translation of Rhythm into Pitch" was published in Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 36, #1.
I hope that many musicians are interested in generating new musical organisms from the nucleus and genetic impulses which I have given you. Good craft and efficient equipment wishes to all experimentalists.
About Stockhausen.
Karlheinz Stockhausen is widely regarded as the father of modern electronic music. Born in 1928, he started composing at the age of 20. While at the Cologne Musikhochschule he heard Messiaen's Mode de valeurs. This inspired him to incorporate serial processes in his music. Thereafter, he moved to Paris to study with Messiaen, and began composing electronic music as well as working the soundboard for Edgar Varese and collaborating with Pierre Boulez.
In 1956 Professor Stockhausen composed Gesang der Junglinge for vocals and synthesized sounds on tape, a touchstone in electronica. In his composing, he concerned himself with abstract processes, and ways to create things out of the ordinary. He began to look at sound as a substance, and started to manipulate it accordingly. He produced a wealth of electronic works, such as Mikrophonie I (1964), Prozession (1967), Kurzwellen (1968), and Aus den Sieben Tagen (1968). In Mantra (1970), Professor Stockhausen composed for two pianos and electronics. While a seeming return to conventional form, his style remained heterophonic.
Professor Stockhausen's works and techniques have always been groundbreaking. A true iconoclast, his compositional technique has astounded and befuddled his contemporaries, as he moved from conventional to serial to formula and beyond. He has influenced every twentieth-century composer. Love him or hate him, his ideas cannot be ignored. They must either be acted upon or reacted against.
The list of artists influenced by Professor Stockhausen reads like a "Who's Who" of modern music. Holger Czukay and Irmin Schmidt of Can studied under him. Ralf Huetter of Kraftwerk cites him as an influence, as do Orbital, William Orbit, Talvin Singh, Bjork, BT, and Aphex Twin. His ideas have helped shape the music of The Beatles, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, Frou Frou, and the Grateful Dead. In fact, the Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and members of the Mothers of Invention all studied under him in 1967 at the University of California at Davis.
John Lennon modeled "Revolution #9" after Professor Stockhausen's Hymnen. Lennon was so influenced by Stockhausen that he included him in on the cover of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
True to form, Professor Stockhausen is not one to give into trends. "I like to tell musicians that they should learn from works which have already gone through a lot of temptations," he says, "and have refused to give in to these stylistic or to the fashionable temptations…"
Contrary to electronica form today, he dislikes repetition. Music is bigger than that. "The same laws which ruled the inner life of atoms and galaxies apply to music," he writes. Much of modern electronica relies on repetition to create a trance-like, otherworldly response in the listener. Professor Stockhausen seeks to do the same, but rather than induce this response with an inward-focused, minimalist mantra, he molds the universe of sound to take listeners to entirely new dimensions. Mind blowing stuff, this.
Karlheinz Stockhausen continues to amaze the musical world. Slated for completion in 2003 is his seven part opera Licht. Begun in 1977, this monumental work, named after days of the week, is the story of three characters that personify Stockhausen's concepts of creativity. His recent "Helicopter String Quartet" from Mittwoch aus Licht (1998) captured headlines worldwide.
We cannot provide more than a brief overview of Professor Stockhausen's catalog and impact on modern music. For a more detailed introduction, visit the Stockhausen website at
Sonic Foundry and ACIDplanet are honored to work with this musical pioneer, and respectfully offer the following Stockhausen music creation event.
About the Contest
Professor Stockhausen has developed an approach to creating music which he calls "formula composition". For this contest at ACIDplanet, he has provided Sagittarius from his Tierkreis (Zodiac) as the formula, along with 12 sound samples and instructions. Following his instructions, excerpts from the sound samples are to be transposed onto the pitches of the formula after it has been stretched in time by a factor of eight. Inside the time span of this stretched version of the formula, various other versions of the formula can be juxtaposed and superimposed.



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