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Karlheinz Stockhausen

“By the way of Stockhausen”. Exclusive interview of Special radio to the master of modern music
Participants of interview:
SR – Specialradio press-attache, Maria Anikeeva
Stockhausen – Karlheinz Stockhausen

The photo by Mr. Ingvar Loco Nordin

SR: Hello. Let’s begin with the announcement that you’re among classics in Russia. How do you relate to this fact? In his latest interview to Special Radio, Klaus Schulze has shared quite a rough opinion that “classics” and “modern” are two completely different things, the opposites.
Stockhausen: Russia has perhaps reached what I have experienced this year for example in Milano (Italy) 2500 listeners in my concert on May 5th at the Duomo, and in K?rten (Germany) 9 concerts with my works for an enthusiastic public of listeners from 24 countries, or in Tokyo (Japan) June 23rd to 26th 4 concerts all sold out and every night standing ovations for 30 minutes, or in Glasgow and Edinburgh (Scotland) concerts sold out and never ending applause, or in Stavanger (Norway) 6 concerts sold out, endless enthusiasm et cetera. The world is more ripe for my music than ever before.

SR: Once you have told that the music is one of a few accessible (in a certian cluases) ways of achieving a “mystical condition above time”. Is this any way close to what Iung has once called “collective unconscious”?
Stockhausen: Mystical means for me: unexplainable, miraculous.

SR: Chilean philosopher Miguel Serrano has described the music as an “archetype moving in time”. But you have told that in music the time disappears completely. That is very interesting. Could you please tell us more about this point of view? And how would you comment on Serrano’s music description?
Stockhausen: Not in music in general but in very rare musical works this state of being transported, of suspended time is reached. Serrano probably does not know my works.

SR: To continue the question above – talking about the “earth” music”, music which is chained to the ground, it seems like the periodical rhytm is a reflection and influence of the earth, which describes the repeatings of something simple? In other words – is rhytm a body prerogative?
Stockhausen: Musical beauty appears in all rhythms. It is always a question of balance. In a harmonious person body and soul are balanced.

SR: Are sound fluctuations appear to be an environment only, behind which there’s a spirit hidden (or isn’t) or this is unseparable part of a great story about the path to the Centre?
Stockhausen: Good music is spiritual – not hidden but audible. The centre should always be GOD.

SR: Russian music critic Andrei Gorohov has a hypothesis that modern music has gone two different ways – “Cage’s way” and “Stockhausen way”. How would you comment on this?
Stockhausen: I do not like dualism.

SR: You’re being considered as a complete antithesis to John Cage. Some say that your wife and lovers even play in your orchestra. Sounds like a joke, but we’re still eager to find out who’s playing in your orchestra on a bass-clarinet?
Stockhausen: For the American clarinet and basset-horn and bass clarinet player Suzanne Stephens, I have composed since 1974, for the Dutch flutist Kathinka Pasveer since 1983. I have composed for my sons Markus and Simon, my daughter Majella and many other interpreters. (I have no “orchestra”).

SR: It’s interesting to know from the first source how the publicity reacted to your statement relating the tragedy of September 11th and has your rate of this event changed since then? Speaking honestly, your words has become a “walking aphorism” in Russia.
Stockhausen: The journalists did not report what I said. When I was asked after the attacks in America of Sept. 11th 2001 if the protagonists MICHAEL, EVA, LUZIFER of my 7 operas were mythological figures, I answered “No, they exist now, for example LUCIFER in New York, he performed the greatest work of art of destruction.” Until now the intellectuals worldwide deny the existence of LUCIFER.

SR: Could you please tell us about your orchestra of 60-70s?
Stockhausen: I do not understand your question. Do you mean my orchestral works? Please read my work list on the home page

SR: Does a complex music reflect a complex inner world of a modern human or the humanity is degrading and loses its ability to understand the music language by asking to accompany the music with the videos?
Stockhausen: Certain music can open the Beyond. The visible world is always superficial.

SR: Is it possible to relate to a modern music as to a serious direction, which vowed goodbye to a complex, problematic music of the past? Or this is a consequence of the segregation law which sounds like “there’s something for everyone”?
Stockhausen: If you relate the word “modern” to what is happening NOW, the content of my works is more complex, more meaningful, more condensed than in the past. One needs as much time to perceive one of my works as I needed to compose it. “Everyone” has no time.

SR: Are raunchy, trite music tastes a big problem nowadays? Or this is just another fluctuation of a pendulum?
Stockhausen: There is no “pendulum” for all: What is true for some on one side of the pendulum is not true for others on the other side. One must choose!

SR: Could we relate to the general hooby for “authentism” as a postmodernism gesture or we have became witnesses of a second launching of the classics?
Stockhausen: No “isms” anylonger, please.

SR: It’s considered that it was you who awaken a public interest to the musical East, giving a reason to many musicians to turn their minds to India and etc? Is this true or false? Can we describe your material of 60-70s as a piece of “psychodelic art”?
Stockhausen: It is true, what you say. I spoke and wrote in 1963 about “world music” related to my compositions MOMENTE, HYMNEN and in 1966 to TELEMUSIK. “Psychodelic art”: Why not!

SR: We’re curious to get to know what place do you give Russia in world music culture development? From your point of view – is Russia an innovative country or Russia’s full of conservative tendencies?
Stockhausen: Let us wait until original compositions come from Russia. Your country is now similar to the whole planet.

SR: How do you relate to the art of Sofia Gubaidullina? Some say you’re friends.
Stockhausen: From what I have experienced, she takes too much from other composers.

SR: What would you like to wish to those who’s eager to become musicians?
Stockhausen: To work, rehearse, experiment very, very, very hard, and study all the time!

2005, September

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