This is an archive of a seminar I gave at the Public School, Los Angeles. Located at 951 Chung King Rd in Chinatown, right across the street from Grand Park The Public School describes itself as “a part of an international network of free schools… a space for radical communal self-education.”

Here is a link to a folder of the materials discussed in the course: this is solely provided for educational purposes, and if you are one of the original authors or copyright holders and would like me to remove the link please let me know.

Reading Iannis Xenakis @ Public School L.A.

July 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th 2014

Any musical piece is akin to a boulder with complex forms, with striations and engraved designs atop and within, which men can decipher in a thousand different ways without ever finding the right answer or the best one... –Iannis Xenakis

This four part seminar aims to elaborate the philosophical coherences and illuminate the arborescent inspirations of Greek-French composer Iannis Xenakis’s polyvalent musical thought. Close attention will be given to the writings collected in Xenakis’s Formalized Music (1962), a sustained formalization of his musical practices of Free Stochastic Music and Symbolic Music. Through secondary readings and hands-on use of software implementations, we will look at the creation of the UPIC graphic tablet, and the implementation of dynamic stochastic synthesis with GENDYN. Contemporary artists engaging with different aspects of Xenakis’s legacy will also be discussed, such as Daniel Teige’s re-staging of Persepolis, L.A., generative art of Alberto de Campo, granular synthesis of Curtis Roads, and the work of Russell Haswell and Florian Hecker.

Copies of all primary and secondary readings will be shared with the conference participants.


Formalized Music, sound, computer music, alloys, architecture, serialism, structures, granular synthesis, sieves, ex-temporality, arborescences, random walks, Parmenides, microsound, free stochastic music, Markovian-Stochastic Music Theory, Metastasis, UPIC, Dynamic Stochastic Synthesis, GENDYN.

Meeting I: Art/Science Alloys

“Please read the prefaces to Formalized Music as well as the introduction to 'Alloys' to prepare for the first meeting. We will also go over the objectives of the course and get introduced.”


Meeting II: Free Stochastic Music

Meeting III: From Polytopes to Polyagogy

Meeting IV: Music Out of Nothing