Karlheinz Stockhausen

The most innovative and influential German composer of the postwar era, Karlheinz Stockhausen laid much of the foundation of modern experimental music; through his pioneering work in electronics, he left an indelible imprint not only in contemporary classic circles but throughout the creative spectrum, where echoes of his genius still reverberate everywhere from the avant-garde to rock to dance music. Born outside the city of Köln (aka Cologne) on August 22, 1928, Stockhausen studied at the Cologne Musikhochschule from 1947 to 1951; influenced by Olivier Messiaen's Mode de Valeurs, he began exploring long-range serial composition, a process he first tackled in 1951's Kreuzspiel and the following year's KontraPunkte, both written for piano-based ensemble. While working on the latter he traveled to Paris to study under Messiaen himself, and it was there that he first delved into electronic music.