Conversation with Iannis Xenakis
Conversation with composer Iannis Xenakis regarding his career path. Traditional Greek and Byzantine music, Bach, Debussy, and Bartok are amongst his influences and he pays tribute to Olivier Messiaen and Herman Scherchen. A cello player plays one of Xenakis's musical pieces.
Born in 1922 this Greek engineer first studied architecture and mathematics and he has worked with Le Corbusier. He then turned towards music, under that tuition of Olivier Messiaen. But the generalised serial technique, which was in fashion at the time, did not interest him. So he made original works, often using electro-acoustic techniques and based on calculations made by new computers of the time: (Metastasis,Pithoprakta,St 10,Hermafor piano...). Xenakis became quite a popular musician in the 60s, in harmony with the ideology of the era which sought new artistic paths. This was how Nights,Eonta and Terretektorh, (which tried to use the public and listeners) became symbolic works of modernity. Following that, Xenakis tried to marry architecture and music (Polytopes), with sounds and lines drawn on paper. These modern methods, used by a true musician, made violent and savage pieces, paradoxically received as primitive. At the end of his life, Xenakis evolved towards a dark and refined language (O-Mega). He died in 2001.