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Iannis Xenakis’ Persepolis LA is Coming this Saturday

Nov 01, 2010 by Lisa Newton

How do you feel when you hear about a topic but don’t know anything about it? More importantly what do you do about it?

Well, when I read the announcement for the upcoming Iannis Xenakis’ Persepolis L.A, I did what what everybody else does to get their intel — I Googled it!

And much to my surprise, I discovered that Iannis Xenakis, is one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever read about.

Graduating with a degree in civil engineering in 1947, Xenakis, fearing for his life due to the political unrest in his homeland, Greece, fled to Paris.

There, he found work at an architectural firm. From that point, Xenakis quickly rose from entry level work to designing his first project. Along the way, he started studying harmony and counterpoint, and composing.

By late 1950s Xenakis slowly started gaining recognition in artistic circles. In 1957 he received his first composition award, from the European Cultural Foundation, and in 1958 the first official commission came through, from Service de Recherche of Radio-France. In the same year he produced a musique concrète piece, Concret PH, for the Philips Pavilion, and in 1960 Xenakis was well-known enough to receive a commission from UNESCO, for a soundtrack for a documentary film by Enrico Fulchignoni. Source: Wikipedia

Combining his love of engineering and music was easy for Xenakis. He had a natural talent, and was far ahead of his time.

Later, Xenakis taught and lectured at various universities around the world, including three years at Indiana University, and also did musical research in the field of computer-assisted composition.

Why am I telling you about a man who has been dead for 10 years?

Because on November 6th, in conjunction with the exhibition, Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary at, MOCA Pacific Design Center, the first recreation of Xenakis’s legendary Polytope de Persepolis will be performed at the Los Angeles State Historic Park.

Adapted by German sound artist and Xenakis electronic music expert, Daniel Teige, Persepolis L.A. will include six listening stations with eight speakers each.

The performance will encompass more than 70,000 square feet within the 32-acre park.

To give you a taste of what you’ll be hearing, here’s Iannis Xenakis’ Diamorphoses, which will be the opening composition at 6:00pm:

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