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And when they encounter works of art which show that using new media can lead to new experiences and to new consciousness, and expand our senses, our perception, our intelligence, our sensibility, then they will become interested in this music.
- K. Stockhausen
The Stockhausen Response Project created five innovative pieces for solo piano by asking five incredible young composers to respond to one historic piece: Mikrophonie by Karlheinz Stockhausen.
The Stockhausen Response Project gives the world something noticeable and exciting, something that will make people sit up and think, and something that will open their minds to new possibilities.
In Spring of 2015 the five pieces were premiered in Cincinnati at a new music party complete with appetizers, a custom-tailored cocktail, and opening music provided by Cincinnati musician ADM.
There is also an album, available for download or purchase via Bandcamp.
Who is Stockhausen and what is Mikrophonie I all about?
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) was one of the most influential and controversial composers of the 20th century, best-known for his work in electronic music, aleatory, serial composition, and musical spatialization.
Mikrophonie I, although it was premiered fifty years ago in 1964, still presents audiences with ideas that stretch the boundaries of musical thought and conception. A performance of Mikrophonie I involves six players using microphones, electronic filters, and assorted percussive objects to create a symphony of sounds from one tamtam (essentially a big metal gong). Stockhausen conceived of the piece playfully, and carried that conception to the utmost degree, designing his own electronic equipment and his own notation system. Hearing Mikrophoniecan be mystifying, fascinating, engaging, and alienating all at one.
What is it about Mikrophonie I that merits a response?
Mikrophonie was groundbreaking in its time because it combined acoustic and electronic sounds in a live performance format. Previous to Mikrophonie, composers created either fully acoustic pieces or pre-recorded electronic tape pieces. The combination of both methods in one piece opened up an entirely new world of possibilities for Stockhausen's contemporaries and for future generations of composers.
Mikrophonie utilizes a singular instrument played by six players to create a novel, strange, and complex world of sounds. By asking each composer to respond to this piece for piano, I hoped to bring that complex and exciting sound world to the keyboard.
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