BBC Music Magazine

STOCKHAUSE­N Life&times

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1928

LIFE: Karlheinz Stockhause­n is born in Burg Mödrath, near Cologne. His father is a schoolteac­her and his mother, a fine singer, comes from a wealthy farming family.

TIMES: With the German federal election resulting in a coalition government, the Social Democratic Party’s Hermann Müller is appointed Chancellor. The Nazi Party secures only 12 seats.

1953

LIFE: Having recently attended the Darmstadt summer school for new music, he goes to Paris to study with Messiaen. There, he meets fellow modernist Pierre Boulez, among others.

TIMES: Beginning with a strike in East Berlin, a major uprising involving over a million people spreads across East Germany. It is brutally suppressed by occupying Soviet forces.

1993

LIFE: He completes his Helicopter Quartet, in which four members of a string quartet perform from four airborne helicopter­s. It later forms part of the opera Mittwoch aus LICHT. TIMES: Ben and Jonathan Finn launch their Sibelius music notation software, which allows composers to write music directly onto a computer screen rather than by hand.

1941

LIFE: Stockhause­n’s mother Gertrud dies in an asylum, almost certainly killed as part of a Nazi euthanasia programme. Stockhause­n later imagines the scene in his opera Donnerstag aus LICHT. TIMES: The US responds to the Japanese air attack on its naval base at Pearl Harbor by declaring war on the country. Germany, in turn, declares war on the US.

1966

LIFE: Stockhause­n accepts an invitation by Japanese Radio (NHK) to spend a few months in Tokyo. He immerses himself in Japanese culture, and the experience has a big impact on his outlook and music. TIMES: At the Fifa World Cup final at Wembley, Germany loses 4-2 to England. Striker Geoff Hurst scores three goals, but there is debate over whether one of them crossed the line.

2007

LIFE: He dies of a heart attack on 5 December at home in Kuertenket­tenberg, Germany, having completed his final commission the night before.

TIMES: Count Gottfried von Bismarck, the notoriousl­y dissolute great-greatgrand­son of former Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, dies of a cocaine overdose at his flat in London.

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