György Ligeti (1923-2006)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the 1960s György Ligeti stood at the vanguard of a style that shaped music in new ways, with a strong emphasis on texture and color. He brought novel approaches to composition that may be seen as a reaction to the predominantly serial techniques characterizing music of the previous decade. The premiere of his orchestral work Apparitions in Cologne on June 19, 1960 signaled the emergence of a new compositional style marked by theatricality and the search for novel sounds. In the final section of Apparitions, Ligeti instructs the musicians to play their instruments in unorthodox ways; the third percussionist, for instance, is to demolish a sack of empty bottles with a large hammer. The production of new sounds, sometimes using traditional instruments unconventionally and sometimes introducing household objects onto the concert stage, was employed by other composers of the avant-garde, including John Cage, Mauricio Kagel and Nam June Paik. But Ligeti was the first to bring to the organ these new ways of creating sound, sometimes pushing the very limits of the instrument itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTwentieth-Century Organ Music
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781136497902
ISBN (Print)9780415875653
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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