updated 27 May 2021
© éd. Durand

Iannis Xenakis

French composer of Greek descent, born 29 May 1922 in Braila, Romania; died 4 February 2001 in Paris.

Iannis Xenakis was born in 1922 (or 1921) in Brăila, Romania, into a Greek family. He grew up in Athens, where he completed studies in civil engineering. During World War II, he took up arms against the German occupation, and later against British occupation during the Greek Civil War. In 1947, after being seriously wounded and forced into hiding, he fled Greece and settled in France, where he worked for 12 years with Le Corbusier, first as an engineer, and later as an architect (Convent of Sainte Marie de La Tourette; Philips Pavillon at the Brussels World Exposition in 1958, site of the first performance of Poème électronique by Varèse, and famous for its use of hyperbolic paraboloids).

He also studied with Olivier Messiaen and, in his early works, sought to combine elements of popular music with avant-gardist concepts (e.g., Anastenaria (1953)). He went on to abandon this approach, favouring instead forms of musical “abstraction”, characterised by two elements: references to physics and mathematics, and the exploration of “plastic” aspects of sonority.

The premieres of Metastaseis (1953-1954) and Pithoprakta (1955-1956), which revolutionised orchestral music, defined the composer as a major figure outside of the serial school, largely through the application of a probabilistic method of composition, the introduction of the concept of the sonic mass, and the use of sonorities comprising exclusively (either sustained or metered) glissandi. It was at this time that Xenakis also began experimenting with musique concrète, leading notably to the development of granular synthesis (Concret PH, 1958). His first book, Formalized Music [Musiques Formelles] (1963), describes the composer’s mathematical- and science-based compositional techniques, from the use of probabilities (Pithoprakta, Achorripsis, 1956-1957) to set theory (Herma, 1960-1961) and game theory (Duel, 1959), as well as introducing his first attempts to compose using computers (programme ST, 1962).

In the 1960s, mathematical formalisation as a foundation for composition increasingly became a focus for Xenakis, notably giving rise to his application of group theory (Nomos alpha, 1965-1966) and the development of the notions of being “inside” and “outside” of time (as discussed in his article “Towards a Metamusic” [Vers une métamusique] (1965-1967)); one may find an architectural application of these concepts in the Ville cosmique (1965) project. In contrast, his work Eonta (1963-1964) applies a purely sound-based model of composition. Other pieces in this vein, such as Nuits (1967), as well as his spatialised works, such as Terretektorh (1965-1966) and Persephassa (1969), brought Xenakis a large following; audiences observed that formalisation and abstraction do not preclude works which are markedly Dionysian, whereby music may be viewed as an “energetic phenomenon”. The following decade saw the composition of Polytopes (Polytope de Cluny (1972-1974) and Diatope (1977)), works which characterised the utopic early stage of development of immersive multimedia technologies. Through his use of “arborescences” (i.e., the creation of melodic contours according to a generative process: Erikhthon (1974)) and Brownian motion (Mikka (1971)), Xenakis once again adopted a graphic-based approach to composition (it was such an approach that gave rise to the glissandi that characterise Metastaseis). His research in this respect gave rise to the development of UPIC (Unité Polyagogique Informatique CEMAMu; the first graphic synthesiser), with which he composed Mycènes alpha (1978). In the late 1970s, Xenakis made extensive use of sieve theory; its use in the composition of Psappha (1975) gave rise to a new direction in the composition of works for percussion instruments. Also around this time, Xenakis’ use of pitch “sieves” seems to bespeak his quest to achieve musical universality; the beginning of his work Jonchaies (1977), for example, employs a scale which is evocative of a Javanese pelog.

The beginning of the 1980s saw the composition of Aïs (1981), in which, as with Orestie (1965-1966), an ancient Greek text served as the inspiration, but the former piece also included a reflection on death. Throughout that decade, Xenakis’ aesthetic continued to evolve. There were occasional explosions of sonic energy, e.g. Shaar (1982) and Rebonds (1987-1988), and ongoing research into formalisation - with sieves applying in practically all works from this time and the application of ceullular automatons in Horos (1986) - but the overall trend was toward works which were increasingly sombre in nature, e.g. Kyania (1990). Among his final works, Ergma (1994) and Sea-Change (1997) are characterised by a stripped-down, highly refined sonic landscape. His last piece, (O-Mega (1997) takes its name from the final letter of the Greek alphabet. Iannis Xenakis died 4 February 2001.


© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2019

By Makis Solomos

The output of Xenakis is polymorphous, and there are many possible points of entry into his universe. One could choose the composer, the theorist, the architect—just as one could choose between the inventor of stochastic music, the demigod of seismic shocks, the user of automatized musical cells, the multimedia artist of polytopes… This universe is rendered recognizable only through the composer’s pronounced penchant for originality1—making Xenakis one of modern music’s most representative figures—which permits, through its plurality, sometimes strongly contrasting interpretations. With this plurality in mind, the following analysis juxtaposes four of the most crucial concepts of Xenakis’ musical and theoretical work.

Formalization

Xenakis embodies Varèse‘s dream of a “art/science alloy.”2 “Nothing prevents us from foreseeing a new relationship between science and the arts, especially between art and mathematics, a domain in which the arts could consciously pose problems for which mathematics should and will have to forge new theories,” he writes. Though this affirmation has remained largely utopic, Xenakis would come to pioneer scientific applications in music—which is why one could say he overturned the Pythagorian approach. It is the primary sense of the word formalization and “formal music” which gave him the title of his first book, published in 1963. One could make a nearly exhaustive list of these applications: probability for instrumental composition (“stochastic “ or Markovian music, “free”—music composed “by hand” and with the program ST), game theory, symbolic logic, set theory (from which a core Xenakis “theory of cribles” was derived), probability for sound synthesis, automatized cells; to this list we could add “arborescences” and musical translations of Brownian motion.

A second sense of the word “formalization” recalls the idea of “mechanism.” In this sense, it means the construction of a sort of “black box” which after being fed certain data can produce an entire musical work. One must also understand the search for “fundamental phases of a musical work” and of a “minimum of constraints” concerning Achorripsis (1955-56). Realized with the help of the program ST (in the early 1960s) and again, nearly thirty years later, with the program GENDYN, where he reworked the material of Achorripsis: “…the challenge is to create music by beginning with, as much as possible, a minimum of premises, but which will then result in something “interesting” from a contemporary aesthetic point of view, without borrowing from or being trapped on previously explored paths.”3 This is why Xenakis was one of the first composers to the use the computer as an aid to composition.

Concerning the question of formalization, two crucial precisions must be made. On one hand, whether speaking of applications or the quest for automatization, formalization, in the strictest sense, applies to very little of Xenakis’ music. For the most part—with a few notable exceptions, such as Nomos alpha (1965-66)—this consists of a few experimental passages, where the composer tests an application’s pertinence. As a general rule, when he makes use of his discoveries in later works, his point of departure is the generated material of the earlier work itself, which he then transforms; he does not recalculate from scratch each time. Taking just one example, measures 10-18 of Horos (1986) are composed with the aid of automated cells; in Ata (1987), measures 14, 10, and 17 of Horos can be found in retrograde (measures 121, 126, and 131) and measure 16 of Horos in its original format (measure 133). On the other hand, Xenakis’s do-it-yourself approach has always posed several problems. As opposed to Pierre Barbaud (another computer-assisted composer from the early 1960s), he always defended moving back and forth between computer calculations and working by hand. To the question “Is it important that you be able to intervene by hand?” Xenakis always responded: “Yes. There is a limit to what can be obtained through calculation. It lacks an internal life, unless very complicated techniques are employed. Mathematics usually leads to results that are too regular, that fail to meet the standards of the ear and the brain. The larger idea is to be able to introduce the idea of chance in order to break the periodicity of mathematical functions, but we are only at the beginning of understanding this. The hand itself is situated between chance and calculation. It is both a messenger of the spirit—close to the head—and an imperfect tool.”4

Energy

Besides the question of formalization, which could be considered as an apollonian dimension of his music, Xenakis also has a violently dionysiac side: as many commentators have pointed out, his music often subjects the listener to “seismic shocks,” chains of sound storms, sonic “cosmogonies…” He promises, speaking of Terretektorh (1965-66), that “the listener will be perched upon a mountaintop in the midst of a storm approaching from every direction, or a frail skiff being demolished in open water, or in a world of pointillistic sonic sparks, moving in compressed or isolated clouds.”5 His search for immediate expression is tempered by the fact that he refuses to treat music as a language. “Music is not a language, nor a message… If we truly reflect upon the nature of music, it is something that escapes definition as a language and if we want to apply linguistic techniques to music, I believe it is a mistake, nothing will be discovered, or very little: a tautology. The effects produced by music exceed our rational methods of investigation. The movement is created within you, whether you are conscious or not, control them or not, they are there within you. This is why music has a profound effect on a person.”6

This dionysiac dimension of Xenakis manifests itself on another level: in his conception of music as a perpetual battle. One could say that he requires his performers to function as high-level athletes, who never get a chance to rest. But this is because the composer, marked by World War II and the Greek civil war, often thinks of himself as a fighter. “The point of departure is my desire to live—to create something, with my hands and with my head,” he says.7 “Composing is a battle… a struggle to produce something interesting.”8 Hence the extraordinary and sometimes frightening energy that bursts through in Xenakis’ music.

Energy: this is the crucial word to characterize this second aspect of Xenakis. In one of his last articles, titled “On Time,” he considers energy, in the scientific sense of the term, as essence, while time and space are regarded merely as epiphenomena. In a sketch for Pithoprakta, he writes: “Music is the sum of transformations of energy.”9 From a purely aesthetic point of view, his polytopes come to mind, whose numerous spectators/listeners often experience them as true cataclysms.

Sound

A third aspect of Xenakis could be considered, under certain circumstances, as a synthesis of the first two. In his music, he manages to transform a flood of energy into a purely sonic phenomenon, and to make use of formalization to construct sounds and not structures. But this third dimension is what counts for him: Xenakis is one of the pioneers of this evolution in which, to borrow a classic phrase from Jean-Claude Risset, composing sounds takes the place of composing with sounds—an expression which can be equally applied to his electroacoustic and instrumental works.

To Xenakis, composing sound means to work with it as a sculptor would. He often worked with graphics, until at least the late 1970s, allowing him, as he put it, “to achieve a tactile manipulation of sonic material.”10 Many of his sonorities, which he was the first to experiment with and which make him so original, were first imagined as pencilled diagrams on graph paper. The glissando, one of Xenakis’ signature gestures, quickly comes to mind. The composer generalizes his theory, insisting that “intermittent or granulated sounds are in reality particular variations of continuous sounds.”11 But this obviously follows from the idea of drawing a straight line on graph paper, whose two coordinates represent time and pitch.

This aspect of Xenakis’ work - his interest in sound plasticity - could undoubtedly be related to his experience as an architect. In any case, the latter explains the special relationship that Xenakis establishes between the whole and the parts, between the global and the local: “In music, you start with a theme, a melody, and you have a whole arsenal of amplification, polyphonic and harmonic, more or less given in advance (as much for composing a classical sonata as a piece of serial music), you start from the mini to end up with the global; whereas in architecture, you have to conceive at the same time both the detail and the whole, otherwise everything collapses. This approach, this experience acquired with Le Corbusier, obviously influenced me, if not (I already felt it), at least helped me to conceive my music as an architectural project: globally and in detail, simultaneously. The strength of architecture lies in its proportions: the coherent relationship between the detail and the whole […]”12

Universalism

In the 1970s, Xenakis liked to present his music as a ‘generalisation’ of music from the past or from other cultures: ‘My music does not make a revolution; it embraces the forms of expression used in the past.”13 As a determinist, he argued that dodecaphony and serialism were merely a special case of stochastic music, based on the more general principle of indeterminism. More broadly speaking, one could mention a final characteristic of his universe: the quest for universalism. In terms of his musical references, it is becoming increasingly clear that he has frequently borrowed elements from many musical cultures. One can no longer listen to Nuits (1967) without evoking certain Balkan or Asian voices, Mikka and Mikka-S (1971 and 1976) without thinking of single-stringed violins from all over the world, etc. And he himself referred to his use (very systematically, from the end of the seventies onwards) of a pitch screen (scale) that would be close to the Javanese pelog (listen for example to the long beginning of Jonchaies, 1977) as well as to his indebtedness to the rhythm of certain African musics.

If these references have often gone unnoticed, it is undoubtedly because Xenakis has always made them abstract (we are at the antipodes of citation practice). According to him, universalism leads to an unheard-of music of the future: to the question of ‘identity’ - which has become topical again at the beginning of the 21st century - Xenakis replied: let us look ahead…


  1. Cf. Xenakis, « Musique et originalité » (1984) in I. Xenakis, Kéleütha, p. 106-111. A disillusioned observation in another text : « No one can create a new world. It’s impossible to create something really different – no example of that exists in the history of art. It’s sad: we are prisoners of ourselves » (Xenakis in Varga,, p. 71).
  2. This is the title of his book Arts/Sciences. Alliages, which came out of his doctoral thesis in 1976.
  3. Formalized Music, p. 295.
  4. Xenakis in Anne Rey, Pascal Dusapin, p. 95.
  5. Xenakis, record cover ERATO STU 70529.
  6. Xenakis in Raymond Lyon, p. 133.
  7. Xenakis in Varga, p. 111.
  8. Ibid., p. 202.
  9. Carnet 23, Archives Xenakis, Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
  10. Xenakis, « Théorie des probabilités et composition musicale » (1956), in Xenakis, Musique. Architecture, p. 13, about Pithoprakta.
  11. Xenakis, « Trois pôles de condensation » (1962), in Xenakis, Musique. Architecture, p. 27.
  12. Xenakis, « Préface » (1987), in Xenakis, Musique de l’architecture, p. 120.
  13. Xenakis in Varga, p. 50.

Translation: Christopher Trapani.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2007

  • Solo (excluding voice)
  • Chamber music
    • Dhipli Zyia for violin and cello (1952), 5 mn, Salabert
    • Morsima-Amorsima ST / 4, 2-030762 (1956-1962), 10 mn, Boosey & Hawkes [program note]
    • ST/4 ST / 4, 1-080262 , for string quartet (1956-1962), 11 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Eonta for piano and five brass (1963-1964), 20 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Anaktoria for eight musicians (1969), 11 mn, Salabert
    • Persephassa for percussion sextet surrounding the audience (1969), 24 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • Charisma homage to Jean-Pierre Guézec for clarinet and cello (1971), 4 mn, Salabert
    • Linaïa-Agon musical game for three wind instruments (1972), Salabert
    • Dmaathen for oboe and percussion (1976), 10 mn, Salabert
    • Epei for six musicians (1976), 12 mn, Salabert
    • Ikhoor string trio (1978), 10 mn, Salabert
    • Dikhthas for violin and piano (1979), 12 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • stage Pléïades for six percussionists (1978-1979), 42 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • Komboï for harpsichord and percussion (1981), 17 mn, Salabert
    • Khal Perr for brass quintet and two percussions (1983), 11 mn, Salabert
    • Tetras for string quartet (1983), 14 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • Nyuyo for shakuhashi, sangen, and two kotos (1985), 10 mn, Salabert
    • Akea for piano and string quartet (1986), 13 mn, Salabert
    • Xas saxophone quartet (1987), 10 mn, Salabert
    • Okho for three musicians (1989), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Oophaa for harpsichord and percussion (1989), 9 mn, Salabert
    • Tetora for string quartet (1990), 15 mn, Salabert
    • Paille in the wind for cello and piano (1992), 4 mn, Salabert
    • Ergma for string quartet (1994), 9 mn, Salabert
    • Mnimis Kharin [Mnamas Xapin] Witoldowi Lutoslawskiemu for two horns and two trumpets (1994), 8 mn, Salabert
    • Kuïlenn for wind ensemble (1995), 8 mn, Salabert
    • Hunem-Iduhey for violin and cello (1996), 4 mn, Salabert
    • Ittidra for string sextet (1996), 8 mn, Salabert
    • Roscobeck for cello and double bass (1996), 8 mn, Salabert
    • Zythos for trombone and six percussionists (1996), 8 mn, Salabert
  • Instrumental ensemble music
    • Anastenaria. Le Sacrifice for orchestra (51 musicians) (1953), 5 mn, Salabert
    • Metastaseis (or Metastasis) for 60 musicians (1953), 7 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Pithoprakta for 49 musicians (1955-1956), 10 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Achorripsis for twenty-one musicians (1956-1957), 7 mn, Bote & Bock
    • elec Analogique A et B for nine string instruments and tape (1958-1959), 7 mn, Salabert
    • Duel game for 56 musicians divided into two orchestras with two conductors (1959), 10 mn about , Salabert
    • Syrmos for 18 or 36 string instruments (1959), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Atrées ST/10, 3-060962 (1956-1962), 16 mn, Editions Françaises de Musique
    • ST/10 ST / 10, 1-080262 , for ensemble (1956-1962), 12 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • ST/48 ST / 48, 1-240162 , for orchestra (1956-1962), 11 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Stratégie game for 82 musicians divided into two orchestras with two conductors (1962), between 10 mn and 30 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • stage Hiketides Les Suppliantes d'Eschyle, instrumental suite for brass instruments and strings (1964), 10 mn, Salabert
    • Akrata for sixteen wind instruments (1964-1965), 11 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Terretektorh for 88 musicians scattered around the audience (1965-1966), 18 mn, Salabert
    • stage Polytope de Montréal for polytope (1967), 6 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Nomos Gamma for 98 musicians scattered in the audience (1967-1968), 15 mn, Salabert
    • elec Kraanerg ballet music for orchestra and four-track magnetic tape (1968-1969), Boosey & Hawkes
    • stage Antikhthon ballet music for 60 or 86 musicians (1971), 23 mn, Salabert
    • Aroura for twelve stringed instruments (1971), 12 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • Eridanos for 68 musicians (1972), 11 mn, Salabert
    • Noomena for 103 musicians (1974), 17 mn, Salabert
    • Empreintes for 85 musicians (1975), 12 mn, Salabert
    • Phlegra for eleven musicians (1975), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Retours-Windungen for twelve cellos (1976), 8 mn, Salabert
    • Jonchaies for 109 musicians (1977), 17 mn, Salabert
    • Palimpsest for eleven musicians (1979), 11 mn, Salabert
    • Pour les Baleines for large string orchestra (1982), 3 mn, Salabert
    • Shaar for large string orchestra (1982), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Lichens for 96 musicians (1983), 16 mn, Salabert
    • Thalleïn for fourteen musicians (1984), 17 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • Alax for thirty musicians divided into three ensembles (1985), 22 mn, Salabert
    • Horos for 89 musicians (1986), 16 mn, Salabert
    • Jalons for fifteen musicians (1986), 14 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • Ata for 89 musicians (1987), 16 mn, Salabert
    • Tracées for 94 musicians (1987), 6 mn, Salabert
    • Waarg for thirteen musicians (1988), 16 mn, Salabert
    • Kyania for 90 musicians (1990), 23 mn, Salabert
    • Tuorakemsu for 90 musicians (1990), 4 mn, Salabert
    • Krinoïdi for 71 musicians (1991), 15 mn, Salabert
    • Roáï for 90 musicians (1991), 17 mn, Salabert
    • Dämmerschein for orchestra of 89 musicians (1993), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Mosaïques for orchestra (91 musicians) (1993), 8 mn, Salabert
    • Plektó (Flechte) for ensemble of six musicians (1993), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Kaï for ensemble of nine musicians (1995), 8 mn, Salabert
    • Koïranoï for orchestra (88 musicians) (1995), 12 mn, Salabert
    • Voile for string orchestra of twenty musicians (1995), 5 mn, Salabert
    • Ioolkos for orchestra (89 musicians) (1996), 7 mn, Salabert
    • Sea-Change for orchestra (88 musicians) (1997), 10 mn, Salabert
  • Concert music
    • Synaphaï for piano and 86 musicians (1969), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Erikhthon for piano and 88 musicians (1974), 15 mn, Salabert
    • elec A l'Ile de Gorée for amplified harpsichord and twelve musicians (1986), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Keqrops for piano and 92 musicians (1985-1986), 17 mn, Salabert
    • Echange for bass clarinet and thirteen musicians (1989), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Epicycle for cello and twelve musicians (1989), 12 mn, Salabert
    • Dox-Orkh for solo violin and 89 musicians (1991), 20 mn, Salabert
    • Troorkh for trombone and 89 musicians (1991), 17 mn, Salabert
    • O-Mega for percussion and ensemble (1997), 4 mn, Salabert
  • Vocal music and instrument(s)
    • Zyia for soprano, flute, piano and male choir ad libitum (1952), 10 mn, Salabert
    • Anastenaria. Procession aux eaux claires for mixed choir, male choir and orchestra (1953), 11 mn, Salabert
    • Polla ta Dhina There are many wonders in this world, for children's choir and orchestra (1962), 6 mn, Modern
    • Oresteia suite for children's choir, mixed choir with musical accessories and twelve musicians, after Aeschylus (1965), between 36 mn and 56 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Medea stage music for male choir and five musicians (1967), 25 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • Cendrées for 72-part mixed choir, singing phonemes of Iannis Xenakis and 73 musicians (1973), 25 mn, Salabert
    • N'Shima for two mezzo-sopranos and five musicians (1975), 16 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • À Colone for male (or female) choir of twenty voices minimum and ensemble (1977), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Akanthos for soprano and eight musicians (1977), 11 mn, Salabert
    • Anemoessa for choir and orchestra (1979), 15 mn, Salabert
    • Aïs for amplified baritone, solo percussion and 92 musicians (1980), 17 mn, Salabert
    • Nekuïa for mixed choir and orchestra (1981), 26 mn, Salabert
    • Pour Maurice for baritone and piano (1982), 4 mn, Salabert
    • Chant des Soleils for mixed choir, children's choir, brass instruments and percussions (1983), 8 mn, Salabert
    • Idmen A for mixed choir and four percussions, on phonemes taken from Hesiod's Theogony (1985), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Idmen B for six percussionists and possible choir (1985), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Kassandra for baritone playing on a twenty-string psaltery and percussionist (1987), 14 mn, Salabert
    • La déesse Athéna last part of the Orestia (1992), Salabert
    • stage Les Bacchantes d'Euripide for baritone, women's choir and ensemble (1993), 60 mn, Salabert
  • A cappella vocal music
    • Nuits for twelve mixed solo voices or mixed choir, on Sumerian, Assyrian, Achaean and other phonemes (1967), 11 mn, Salabert
    • À Hélène for solo voices or female (or male) choir (1977), 10 mn, Salabert
    • Pour la Paix I mixed a capella choir (1981), 10 mn, Salabert
    • elec Pour la Paix II version for mixed choir, four reciters and tape (1981), 27 mn, Salabert
    • elec Pour la Paix III version for four reciters and tape (1981), 27 mn, Salabert
    • Serment-Orkos for mixed choir, on texts by Hippocrates (1981), 8 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • Knephas for mixed choir (1990), 10 mn, Salabert
    • Pu wijnuej we fyp for children's choir a cappella (1992), 10 mn, Salabert
    • Sea Nymphs for mixed choir (1994), 8 mn, Salabert
  • Electronic music / fixed media / mechanical musical instruments
    • elec Diamorphoses for recorded sounds (1957), 7 mn, Salabert
    • elec Concret PH for solo tape (1958), 3 mn, Salabert
    • elec Orient-Occident two versions: a) music for the homonymous film by Enrico Fulchignoni b) concert music (1960), 20 mn, INA GRM
    • elec Bohor for recorded sounds (1962), 21 mn 30 s, Salabert
    • Hibiki Hana Ma for magnetic tape (1969), 18 mn, Salabert
    • Persepolis polytope for magnetic tape (1971), 56 mn, Salabert
    • elec Polytope de Cluny for magnetic tape seven tracks and lights (1972), 24 mn, Salabert
    • elec La Légende d'Eer music for the Diatope (1977), 46 mn, Salabert
    • elec Mycènes Alpha for two-track magnetic tape (1978), 10 mn, Salabert
    • elec Pour la Paix IV solo tape version (1981), 27 mn, Salabert
    • Taurhiphanie for magnetic tape (1987-1988), 11 mn, Salabert
    • Voyage absolu des Unari vers Andromède for tape (1989), 16 mn, Salabert
    • elec Gendy3 computer music stochastic synthesis of sounds (1991), 19 mn, Salabert
    • elec S.709 for two-track tape (1994), 7 mn, Salabert
  • 1997
    • O-Mega for percussion and ensemble, 4 mn, Salabert
    • Sea-Change for orchestra (88 musicians), 10 mn, Salabert
  • 1996
    • Hunem-Iduhey for violin and cello, 4 mn, Salabert
    • Ioolkos for orchestra (89 musicians), 7 mn, Salabert
    • Ittidra for string sextet, 8 mn, Salabert
    • Roscobeck for cello and double bass, 8 mn, Salabert
    • Zythos for trombone and six percussionists, 8 mn, Salabert
  • 1995
    • Kaï for ensemble of nine musicians, 8 mn, Salabert
    • Koïranoï for orchestra (88 musicians), 12 mn, Salabert
    • Kuïlenn for wind ensemble, 8 mn, Salabert
    • Voile for string orchestra of twenty musicians, 5 mn, Salabert
  • 1994
  • 1993
  • 1992
  • 1991
    • Dox-Orkh for solo violin and 89 musicians, 20 mn, Salabert
    • elec Gendy3 computer music stochastic synthesis of sounds, 19 mn, Salabert
    • Krinoïdi for 71 musicians, 15 mn, Salabert
    • Roáï for 90 musicians, 17 mn, Salabert
    • Troorkh for trombone and 89 musicians, 17 mn, Salabert
  • 1990
    • Knephas for mixed choir, 10 mn, Salabert
    • Kyania for 90 musicians, 23 mn, Salabert
    • Tetora for string quartet, 15 mn, Salabert
    • Tuorakemsu for 90 musicians, 4 mn, Salabert
  • 1989
  • 1988
  • 1987
    • Ata for 89 musicians, 16 mn, Salabert
    • Kassandra for baritone playing on a twenty-string psaltery and percussionist, 14 mn, Salabert
    • Tracées for 94 musicians, 6 mn, Salabert
    • Xas saxophone quartet, 10 mn, Salabert
    • à r. (Hommage à Ravel) for piano, 3 mn, Salabert
  • 1986
  • 1985
    • Alax for thirty musicians divided into three ensembles, 22 mn, Salabert
    • Idmen A for mixed choir and four percussions, on phonemes taken from Hesiod's Theogony, 14 mn, Salabert
    • Idmen B for six percussionists and possible choir, 14 mn, Salabert
    • Nyuyo for shakuhashi, sangen, and two kotos, 10 mn, Salabert
  • 1984
  • 1983
    • Chant des Soleils for mixed choir, children's choir, brass instruments and percussions, 8 mn, Salabert
    • Khal Perr for brass quintet and two percussions, 11 mn, Salabert
    • Lichens for 96 musicians, 16 mn, Salabert
    • Tetras for string quartet, 14 mn, Salabert [program note]
  • 1982
  • 1981
  • 1980
    • Aïs for amplified baritone, solo percussion and 92 musicians, 17 mn, Salabert
  • 1979
  • 1978
    • Ikhoor string trio, 10 mn, Salabert
    • elec Mycènes Alpha for two-track magnetic tape, 10 mn, Salabert
  • 1977
    • Akanthos for soprano and eight musicians, 11 mn, Salabert
    • Jonchaies for 109 musicians, 17 mn, Salabert
    • Kottos for cello, 8 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • elec La Légende d'Eer music for the Diatope, 46 mn, Salabert
    • À Colone for male (or female) choir of twenty voices minimum and ensemble, 14 mn, Salabert
    • À Hélène for solo voices or female (or male) choir, 10 mn, Salabert
  • 1976
    • Dmaathen for oboe and percussion, 10 mn, Salabert
    • Epei for six musicians, 12 mn, Salabert
    • Khoaï for harpsichord, 15 mn, Salabert
    • Retours-Windungen for twelve cellos, 8 mn, Salabert
    • Theraps for solo double bass, 12 mn, Salabert
  • 1975
  • 1974
  • 1973
    • Cendrées for 72-part mixed choir, singing phonemes of Iannis Xenakis and 73 musicians, 25 mn, Salabert
    • Evryali for piano, 11 mn, Salabert
  • 1972
    • Eridanos for 68 musicians, 11 mn, Salabert
    • Linaïa-Agon musical game for three wind instruments, Salabert
    • elec Polytope de Cluny for magnetic tape seven tracks and lights, 24 mn, Salabert
  • 1971
    • stage Antikhthon ballet music for 60 or 86 musicians, 23 mn, Salabert
    • Aroura for twelve stringed instruments, 12 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • Charisma homage to Jean-Pierre Guézec for clarinet and cello, 4 mn, Salabert
    • Mikka for solo violin, 4 mn, Salabert
    • Persepolis polytope for magnetic tape, 56 mn, Salabert
  • 1969
    • Anaktoria for eight musicians, 11 mn, Salabert
    • Hibiki Hana Ma for magnetic tape, 18 mn, Salabert
    • elec Kraanerg ballet music for orchestra and four-track magnetic tape, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Persephassa for percussion sextet surrounding the audience, 24 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • Synaphaï for piano and 86 musicians, 14 mn, Salabert
  • 1968
    • Nomos Gamma for 98 musicians scattered in the audience, 15 mn, Salabert
  • 1967
    • Medea stage music for male choir and five musicians, 25 mn, Salabert [program note]
    • Nuits for twelve mixed solo voices or mixed choir, on Sumerian, Assyrian, Achaean and other phonemes, 11 mn, Salabert
    • stage Polytope de Montréal for polytope, 6 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
  • 1966
  • 1965
    • Akrata for sixteen wind instruments, 11 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Oresteia suite for children's choir, mixed choir with musical accessories and twelve musicians, after Aeschylus, between 36 mn and 56 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
  • 1964
    • Eonta for piano and five brass, 20 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • stage Hiketides Les Suppliantes d'Eschyle, instrumental suite for brass instruments and strings, 10 mn, Salabert
  • 1962
    • Atrées ST/10, 3-060962, 16 mn, Editions Françaises de Musique
    • elec Bohor for recorded sounds, 21 mn 30 s, Salabert
    • Morsima-Amorsima ST / 4, 2-030762, 10 mn, Boosey & Hawkes [program note]
    • Polla ta Dhina There are many wonders in this world, for children's choir and orchestra, 6 mn, Modern
    • ST/10 ST / 10, 1-080262 , for ensemble, 12 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • ST/4 ST / 4, 1-080262 , for string quartet, 11 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • ST/48 ST / 48, 1-240162 , for orchestra, 11 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
    • Stratégie game for 82 musicians divided into two orchestras with two conductors, between 10 mn and 30 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
  • 1961
    • Herma for piano, 10 mn, Boosey & Hawkes
  • 1960
    • elec Orient-Occident two versions: a) music for the homonymous film by Enrico Fulchignoni b) concert music, 20 mn, INA GRM
  • 1959
    • elec Analogique A et B for nine string instruments and tape, 7 mn, Salabert
    • Duel game for 56 musicians divided into two orchestras with two conductors, 10 mn about , Salabert
    • Syrmos for 18 or 36 string instruments, 14 mn, Salabert
  • 1958
  • 1957
  • 1956
  • 1953
  • 1952
    • Dhipli Zyia for violin and cello, 5 mn, Salabert
    • Zyia for soprano, flute, piano and male choir ad libitum , 10 mn, Salabert
  • 1951

Références, Bibliographie, Sites Internet

  • Antonios ANTONOPOULOS, De la modélisation matricielle dans Pithoprakta de Iannis XenakisApproche systémique et analytique, thèse de doctorat, Paris, université Paris 4, 2008. 
  • André BALTENSPERGER, Iannis Xenakis und die Stochastische Musik. Komposition im Spannungsfeld von Architektur und Mathematik, Zürich, Paul Haupt, 1995.
  • Anne-Sylvie BARTHEL-CALVET, Le rythme dans l’œuvre et la pensée de Xenakis, thèse de doctorat, Paris, École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 2000. 
  • Michel BRIDOUX, Alice SÉVERINE, Le Corbusier & Iannis Xenakis : un dialogue architecture / musique, Marseille, Éditions Imbernon, 2018.
  • Daniel CHARLES, La pensée de Xenakis, Boosey and Hawkes, 1968.
  • Jean-Marc CHOUVEL, Iannis Xenakis ou l’avenir de la musique, Paris, Observatoire Musical Français, 2002.
  • Agostino DI SCIPIO (ed.), Perspectives on XenakisJournal of New Music Research vol. 33 n° 2, 2004. 
  • Dossier Iannis Xenakis*, Entretemps* n° 6, 1988, p. 57-143 (articles de Joëlle Caullier, Pascal Dusapin, Claude Helffer, François Nicolas, Jan Vriend, Iannis Xenakis).
  • Peter HOFFMANN, Amalgam aus Kunst und Wissenschaft. Naturwissenschaftliches Denken im Werk von Iannis Xenakis, Frankfurt-am-Main, Peter Lang, 1994.
  • Raymond LYON, « Propos impromptu », Courrier Musical de France n°48, 1974, p. 130-133.
  • Anne REY, Pascal DUSAPIN, « Si Dieu existait, il serait bricoleur », Le Monde de la Musique n° 11, mai 1979, p. 92-97.
  • François DELALANDE, « Il faut être constamment un immigré ». Entretiens avec Xenakis, Paris, Buchet-Chastel/INA-GRM, 1997.
  • Agostino DI SCIPIO (sous la dir. de), Perspectives on Xenakis = Journal of New Music Research vol. 33 n° 2, 2004 (articles de C. Agon (et M. Andreatta, G. Assayag, S. Schaub), A. Di Scipio, M. Hamman, P. Hoffmann, D. Keller (et B. Ferneyhough), M. Solomos).
  • Hugues GERHARDS, Regards sur Iannis Xenakis, Paris, Stock, 1981 (articles de G. Amy, C. Barnes, J. Barraud, J. Batigne, N. Beecroft, J.Y. et D. Bosseur, M.F. Bucquet, R. de Candé, G. Casado, A. de Chambure, E. Chojnacka, M. Couraud, X. Darasse, G. Dmitriev, P. Dusapin et H. Halbreich, G. von Eller, R. Fajond, M. Fleuret, E. Fulchignoni, D. Gill, S. Gualda, C. Helffer, B. Jacobson, M. Kendergi, M. Kundera, J. Lacouture, J. Leber, L. Leprince-Ringuet, M. Leroux, J. Maceda, F.B. Mâche, N. Matossian, O. Messiaen, A. Meunier, J. Miermont, I. Monighetti, S. Ozawa, M. Philippot, C. Prost, M. Ragon, F. Rieunier, A. Riotte, M. Rollin, P. Schaeffer, C. Taranu, G. Tremblay et J. Vriend).
  • Benoît GIBSON, The Instrumental Music of Iannis Xenakis. Theory, Practice, Self-Borrowing, Hillsdale, New York, Pendragon Press, 2011. 
  • James HARLEY, Xenakis. His Life in Music, New York, Routledge, 2004.
  • James HARLEY (sous la dir. de), In memoriam Iannis Xenakis = Computer Music Journal vol. 26 n°1 (articles de L. Arsenault, A. Di Scipio, J. Harley, E. Jones, G. Pape).
  • James HARLEY (sous la dir. de), Xenakis studies : in memoriam = Contemporary Music Review vol. 21 n°2-3, Oxfordshire, Routledge, 2002 (articles d’I. Arditti, R. Barrett, J. Harley, P. Hoffmann, M. Iliescu, N. Matossian, P. Oswalt, R. Squibbs, M. Solomos, R. Woodward).
  • James HARLEY, Iannis Xenakis : Kraanerg, Farnham, Burlington, Ashgate, coll. « Landmarks in music since 1950 », 2015.
  • Sharon KANACH (éd.), Performing Xenakis, Hillsdale, New York, Pendragon Press, 2010. 
  • Marie-Hortense LACROIX, Pléiades de Yannis Xenakis, Paris, Michel de Maule, 2001.
  • François-Bernard MACHE (sous le dir. de), Portrait(s) de Iannis Xenakis, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 2001 (articles d’A.S. Barthel-Calvet, P. Dusapin, M. Fleuret, A. Grumbach, H. Halbreich, P. Hoffmann, S. Kanach, F.B. Mâche, O. Messiaen, M. Solomos, S. Sterken, F. Xenakis, M. Xenakis).
  • François-Bernard MACHE, Un demi-siècle de musique … et toujours contemporaine, Paris, l’Harmattan, 2000.
  • Nouritza MATOSSIAN, Iannis Xenakis, Paris, Fayard, 1981. Nouvelle édition, augmentée : Xenakis, Lefkosia, Boufflon Publications, 2005.
  • Alessandro MELCHIORRE (sous la dir. de), Iannis Xenakis. Musicista scienziato architetto, Quaderni di ricerca IRMus 2, Milan, 2006 (articles de T. Coduys, A. Di Scipio, L. Francesconi, E. Guagenti Grandori, F.B. Mâche, A. Melchiorre, E. Napolitano, G. Manzoni, S. Moreno Soriano, A. Orcalli, G. Pape, P. Perezzani, L. Pestalozza, Q. Principe, E. Restagno, C. Roads, M. Solomos, I. Stoïanova).
  • Heinz-Klaus METZGER, Rainer RIEHN (sous la dir. de), Iannis Xenakis = Musik-Konzepte n°54-55, 1987 (articles de P. Böttinger, R. Frisius, H. Lohner, H.R. Zeller).
  • Alfia NAKIPBEKOVA (dir.), Exploring Xenakis : performance, practice, philosophy, Wilmington, Vernon Press, 2019.
  • Angelo ORCALLI, Le hasard se calcule—Una tesi di Iannis Xenakis, Padova, Imprimitur, 1990.
  • Ralph PALAND, Christoph von BLUMRÖDER*(*ed.),Iannis Xenakis : Das elektroakustische Werk. Internationales Symposion Musikwissenschaftliches Institut der Universität zu Köln, Vienne, Verlag der Apfel, 2009.
  • Enzo RESTAGNO (sous la dir.), Xenakis, Torino, EDT/Musica, 1988 (articles de M. Fleuret, H. Halbreich, F.B. Mâche, E. Napolitano, E. Restagno, I. Xenakis).
  • Roger et Karen Dewees REYNOLDS, Xenakis creates in architecture and music: the Reynolds desert house, New York, Routledge, 2022.
  • Serge PROVOST (sous la dir. de), Espace Xenakis = Circuits vol. 5 n° 2, 1994 (articles de M. Couroux, S. Galaise, B. Gibson, S. Provost, M. Solomos).
  • Olivier REVAULT D’ALLONNNES, Xenakis : Les Polytopes, Paris, Balland, 1975.
  • Makis SOLOMOS, Iannis Xenakis, Mercuès, P. O. Editions, 1996.
  • Makis SOLOMOS (sous la dir. de), Iannis Xenakis, Gérard Grisey. La métaphore lumineuse, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2003 (articles de J. Baillet, A. Di Scipio, R. Frisius, C. Pardo, A. Sédès, M. Solomos, G. Zervos).
  • Makis SOLOMOS (sous la dir. de), Présences de / Presences of Iannis Xenakis, Paris, CDMC, 2001 (articles de L. Arsenault, A. Bello, S. Bertocchi, J. Caullier, F. Delalande et E. Gayou, A. Di Scipio, E. Flint, B. Gibson, M. Guillot, J. Harley, J.L. Hervé, P. Hoffmann, M. Iliescu, A. Lai, C. Limá, R. Mandolini, P. Oswalt, C. Pardo, B. Raanan, H. Santana, E. Sikiaridi, M. Solomos, R. Squibbs, S. Sterken).
  • Makis SOLOMOS, Anastasia GEORGAKI, Giorgos ZERVOS (sous la dir. de), Proceedings of the International Symposium Iannis Xenakis, Athènes, University of Athens, 2005, www.iannis-xenakis.org (articles de C. Anagnostopoulou (et C. Share, D. Conklin), A. Antonopoulos, A.S. Barthel-Calvet, S. Bridoux-Michel, P. Couprie, A. Di Scipio, D. Exarchos, A. Georgaki, B. Gibson, J. Harley, J. de Henau, P. Hofmann, M. Iliescu, S. van Maas, K. Paparrigopoulos, H. Santana (et R. Santana), S. Schaub, B. Sluchin, M. Solomos, R. Squibbs, M. Tsetsos, K. Tsougras, C. W. Turner, E. Vagopoulou, K. Wong (et K. Jones), G. Zervos).
  • Makis SOLOMOS (dir.), Iannis Xenakis : la musique électroacoustique, Paris, L’Harmattan, coll. « Musique-Philosophie », 2015.
  • Makis SOLOMOS, Révolutions Xenakis, Paris, Philharmonie de Paris, 2022.
  • Sven STERKEN, Iannis Xenakis, ingénieur et architecte. Une analyse thématique de l’œuvre, suivie d’un inventaire critique de la collaboration avec Le Corbusier, des projets architecturaux et des installations réalisées dans le domaine du multimédia, thèse de doctorat, Université de Gent, 2004. 
  • Bálint A. VARGA, Conversations with Iannis Xenakis, London, Faber and Faber, 1996.
  • Peter WEIBEL, From Xenakis’s UPIC to graphic notation today, Karlsruhe, ZKM / Hatje Cantz, 2020.
  • Iannis XENAKIS, Musiques formelles = Revue Musicale n°253-254, 1963, 232 p. Réédition : Paris, Stock, 1981.
  • Iannis XENAKIS, Musique. Architecture, Tournai, Casterman, 1971, 176 p. Nouvelle édition, augmentée : Tournai, Casterman, 1976.
  • Iannis XENAKIS, Formalized Music, traductions Christopher Butchers, G. H. Hopkins, John Challifour, Bloomington, University Press, 1971. Nouvelle édition, augmentée et traduite par Sharon Kanach : Stuyvesant (New York), Pendragon Press, 1992.
  • Iannis XENAKIS, Arts/Sciences. Alliages, Tournai, Casterman, 1979.
  • Iannis XENAKIS, Kéleütha, textes réunis par Alain Galliari, préface et notes de Benoît Gibson, Paris, L’Arche, 1994.
  • Iannis XENAKIS, Musique de l’architecture, textes, réalisations et projets architecturaux choisis, présentés et commentés par Sharon Kanach, Marseille, Parenthèses, 2006.
  • Iannis XENAKIS, « A Conversation », in CD Xenakis : Aïs, Gendy 3, Thaurhiphanie, Thalleïn, Neuma Records 450-86, 1990.
  • Mâkhi XENAKIS, Iannis Xenakis : un père bouleversant, Arles, Actes Sud, 2022.
  • Xenakis = L’Arc n°51, 1972 (articles de D. Durney, A. Droschke, M. Fleuret, F. Genuys, H. Krellmann, F.B. Mâche, L. Marin, B. Pingaud, O. Revault d’Allonnes, entretiens avec Xenakis).
  • Les Amis de Xenakis, www.iannis-xenakis.org 

Discographie

  • Lien vers le projet de discographie exhaustive mené par le Xenakis Project of the Americas (XPA) du Barry S. Brook Center for Music and Documentation : www.brookcenter.gc.cuny.edu

(liens vérifiés en juin 2022).