Elements of Constructivism in the Works of Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)

  • Kinga Krzymowska-Szacoń The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin
Keywords: constructivism, Iannis Xenakis, musical avant-garde


Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) was an extraordinary composer. Instead of studying at the music conservatory, he chose the National Technical University of Athens. Rather than rewriting J.S. Bach’s fugues, he drew innovative architectural sketches on the plotting paper. Milan Kundera called him a prophet of insensitivity, while Arthur Honegger claimed that his works could not be described as music. In the second avant-garde, however, Xenakis gained an unquestionable, leading position due to his innovative compositional techniques, based both on mathematical principles (probabilistic, set theory etc.) and the information technology that was being developed at that time. The presented article describes the artist’s work in relation to the foundations of Russian constructivism – a trend that developed in a different environment, but nevertheless proved to be surprisingly convergent with the ideas of Xenakis, showing some universal tendencies in the 20th-century avant-garde art.

Author Biography

Kinga Krzymowska-Szacoń, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

Kinga Krzymowska-Szacoń, PhD – The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin


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