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Darmstadt New Music Summer School

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Title: Darmstadt New Music Summer School  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Darmstadt, David Tudor, Pierre Boulez, Second Viennese School, Luciano Berio, Aleatoric music, Olivier Messiaen, Helmut Lachenmann, Music of Germany, Bruno Maderna
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Darmstadt New Music Summer School

Initiated in 1946 by Wolfgang Steinecke, the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt (Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music), held annually until 1970 and subsequently every two years, encompass both the teaching of composition and interpretation and include premières of new works. After Steinecke's death in 1961, the courses were run by Ernst Thomas (1962–81), Friedrich Hommel (1981–94), Solf Schaefer (1995–2009), and Thomas Schäfer (2009-). Thanks to these courses, Darmstadt is now a major centre of modern music, particularly for German composers.

Many distinguished lecturers appeared at Darmstadt. Amongst them are Theodor W. Adorno, Milton Babbitt, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, John Cage, Christoph Caskel, Morton Feldman, Wolfgang Fortner, Severino Gazzelloni, Alois Hába, Hans Werner Henze, Hermann Heiss, Lejaren Hiller, Rudolf Kolisch, Aloys Kontarsky, Ernst Krenek, René Leibowitz, György Ligeti, Bruno Maderna, Olivier Messiaen, Luigi Nono, Siegfried Palm, Henri Pousseur, Heinz Rehfuss, Wolfgang Rihm, Hermann Scherchen, Eduard Steuermann, Karlheinz Stockhausen, David Tudor, Edgard Varèse, Friedrich Wildgans, and Iannis Xenakis (Thomas and Schlüter 2001). Others include Heiko Daxl, Julio Estrada, Brian Ferneyhough, Nicolas Hodges, Mauricio Kagel, Liza Lim, Josef Rufer, Peter Stadlen, Leonard Stein, and Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt.

During the late 1950s and early 1960s the courses were charged with a perceived lack of interest on the part of some of its zealot followers in any music not matching the uncompromisingly modern views of Pierre Boulez—the "party subservience" of the "clique orthodoxy" of a "sect", in the words of Dr. Kurt Honolka, written in 1962 in an effort to "make the public believe that the most advanced music of the day was no more than a fancy cooked up by a bunch of aberrant conspirators conniving at war against music proper" (Boehmer 1987, 43). This led to the use of the phrase 'Darmstadt School' (coined originally in 1957 by Luigi Nono [1975, 30] to describe the serial music being written at that time by himself and composers such as Boulez, Maderna, Stockhausen, Berio, and Pousseur) as a pejorative term, implying a "mathematical," rule-based music.


  • Attinello, Paul, Christopher Fox, and Martin Iddon (eds.). 2007. . Contemporary Music Review 26, no. 1 [thematic issue].
  • Boehmer, Konrad. 1987. “The Sanctification of Misapprehension into a Doctrine: Darmstadt Epigones and Xenophobes”. English translation by Sonia Prescod Jokel. Key Notes 24:43–47.
  • Borio, Gianmario, and Hermann Danuser. 1997. Im Zenit der Moderne. Die Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt 1946-1966. Geschichte und Dokumentation. 4 vols. Rombach Wissenschaft: Reihe Musicae 2. Freiburg im Breisgau: Rombach. ISBN 3-7930-9138-4
  • Donin, Nicolas, and Jonathan Goldman. 2005. Circuit 15, no. 3 [thematic issue].
  • Döring, Gerd. 2008. "Experimentelle Klangbastler: 44. Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt". Allgemeine Zeitung (25 July).
  • Nono, Luigi. 1975. Texte, Studien zu seiner Musik. Edited by J. Stenzl. Zürich and Freiburg im Breisgau: Atlantis.
  • Thomas, Ernst, and Wilhelm Schlüter. 2001. "Darmstadt". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition,eited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.

External links

  • Summer Course Home page
  • The IMD, the umbrella organisation housing a library and archives

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