Report from Suzanne Stephens to Jim Stonebraker for the Stockhausen Home Page
September 29, 2001

Present Situation:

Johannes Schulz, a reporter for North German Radio (Redaktion 90.3), known to be antagonistic to the Hamburg Music Festival, broadcasted excerpts of excerpts of a press conference given by the Hamburg Music Festival to open the series of four Stockhausen concerts which were to be the highlight of the festival. Mr. Schultz’s motive seems to have been to embarrass the festival and its supporters a week before the election in Hamburg.

The Zeit-Stiftung, the main sponsor of the Hamburg Music Festival, hastily concluded that they could not politically afford to take the time to verify the truth of the broadcast. The Zeit-Stiftung acted (too) quickly in an attempt to divert a self-perceived public relations crisis. They demanded that the Hamburg Music Festival cancel the Stockhausen cConcerts, intimating that if they did not do so they would withdraw all financial support.

Dr. Christina Weiss, the incumbent candidate for re-election and champion of the Hamburg Music Festival told Stockhausen that the situation had nothing to do with him or his music.

Senator Weiss’ initial reaction was prompted by a local political campaign preceding elections.

Her response was exacerbated by international news reports about Hamburg’s connection to the terrorist attacks on the USA. She stated that she had to be careful about her public image.

The German media, itself in hysterical Angst about the international crisis, hastily identified a domestic enemy to focus upon. They did so collectively (with very few exeptions) and without reflection or verification of the facts.

The Germans, overcome with fear and frustration along with the rest of the world after seeing repetitive re-runs of the cruel terrorist attacks, found a convenient local character to vilify in connection with the tragedy of the cowardly terror in the USA.

The victim of political convenience is Karlheinz Stockhausen, "one of the great humanitarians of the twentieth century".

These words and similar ones expressed during the past week in recent broadcasts about this scandal (BBC) and the avalanche of mail and faxes we have been receiving along with other words of kindness and understanding, have been the ray of light which gives us hope that truth will prevail.

In the BBC broadcast mentioned above, the director of the Barbican Centre in London announced that — of course — the Stockhausen festival would take place as planned in a few weeks and that the concerts were almost sold out.

This reaction reflects the mood of the international media to the attacks in the German media.

Internationally there is much more caution.

The reason why it was so easy for the German media to attack Stockhausen is because they have been doing it for 50 years and so it comes naturally.

The German media, with a few exceptions over the years, has learned to — at best — put up with Stockhausen but refuses to support him.

In the Gospel of St. Luke chapter 4:24 Jesus Christ says, "Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown".

When the Royal Swedish Academy of Music awarded Stockhausen with the Polar Music Prize last May "for a career as a composer that has been characterized by impeccable integrity and never-ceasing creativity, and for having stood at the forefront of musical development for fifty years" there was almost no German media coverage of the event.

The Polar Music Prize is considered to be the Nobel Prize for music and Stockhausen received it from the hands of His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Johannes Rau, President of Germany, spoke the following congratulatory words (in German) in a close-up video, which was shown during the official banquet, which followed the ceremony:

"I would like to warmly congratulate Karlheinz Stockhausen on this outstanding prize and great success.

His work shows that music needs no translation. It is an international language and the work of Karlheinz Stockhausen — well-known and often controversial in Germany — now has a worldwide audience. Stockhausen’s music is now listened to and appreciated as far away as Japan.

This probably has something to do with the fact that he, like no other, includes the spheres and the cosmos in his compositional work allowing the constellations to become music and thus striking a chord in people in a way which goes beyond the language of music yet finds musical expression.

We are delighted that Karlheinz Stockhausen has been given this exceptional honour and that there is a voice extending out into the world from Kuerten serving peace and sending notes which are worth listening to in this often so turbulent world. "

To my knowledge, this text was not reproduced once by the German media.

What can be done?

Sooner or later (the sooner the better) a collective apology by the German media, including Johannes Schulz must be offered.

This will be the only way for them to regain any credibility.

The truth is that in the heat of local politics and the international terrorist crisis, one person was not careful.

The German press almost collectively believed Johannes Schulz because they wanted to. They made no effort to corroborate his convoluted statements.

This is professional malpractice of the basest sort.

Here are the facts.

Eye and ear witness report of Stockhausen’s experience in Hamburg by Suzanne Stephens (American).

Sunday, September 16th

16:10 Happy to have landed safely, Kathinka Pasveer, Stockhausen and I were picked up at the airport by Mr. Benedikt Stampa, manager of the Hamburg Music Festival. During the drive to the Atlantic hotel Mr. Stampa explained that the city was so full of posters because the city elections were being held in a week. He went on to comment that the future of the Hamburg Music Festival, as a pet project of Senator Dr. Christina Weiss, who was up for election, was thus an issue of the campaign. My thoughts drifted: how could I get my video equipment from the Musikhalle (where all of our equipment for the concerts had been delivered) to the hotel in time for the press conference, which was to be held at 18:00. For the past ten years I have recorded almost every interview and press conference, many rehearsals and most concerts which Stockhausen has given (circa 1000 hours).

17:00 After checking in at the hotel we unpacked and waited in our rooms for the press conference which had been delayed until 18:15 minutes. Since the 11th of September I had slept very little and cried allot (as had the rest of the world, including Stockhausen) and I therefore decided to try to relax instead of racing to the Musikhalle to pick up my video equipment.

18:15 About 20 people were present at the press conference, about 16 of them journalists. The moment I entered the room I regretted not having made an effort to get my video equipment. It was a beautiful setting. Since the theme of this year’s festival was OUTER SPACE (WELT-RAUM), with Stockhausen as its central figure, the posters and programs were full of photographs of outer space. Stockhausen really felt at home.

As the press interview continued, my regret about not having my video grew, because the topics of discussion were so interesting and important. Stockhausen regards his early works of electronic music in view of what is possible technically these days (the four concerts comprised performances of GESANG DER JUENGLINGE, KONTAKTE, the real scenes of FRIDAY from LIGHT, HYMNEN, and Scenes from LIGHT); the problems of setting up electro-acoustical equipment in a concert hall like the Hamburg Musikhalle (which has several balconies) in order to arrive at a satisfactory sound projection for these works; the details of the spherical auditorium in Osaka; how concert halls of the future should be built.

Meanwhile, my frustration about the fact that all of this was being said and I had no recording of it became unbearable, so I starting looking around to see who was recording. There were four microphones in front of Stockhausen on the table behind which he was sitting with Mr. Stampa opposite the journalists. The microphone that had the best position was also the largest, so I stood up quietly and slowly from where I had been seated on the stairs at the side of the room so that I could follow the course of the microphone cable. It led to the cassette recorder of a lean, well-dressed prematurely grayed man sitting in about the fourth (rear) row, right in front of Stockhausen. I remained standing behind him for the rest of the press conference, so that I could ask him if he would give me a copy of his tape. The questioning and answering continued: What does the concept of LIGHT mean to Stockhausen? What do the main protagonists of LIGHT mean to Stockhausen? Are they historical figures of the past? During all of this my eyes were divided between watching Stockhausen and watching the finger of this journalist repeatedly pushing the PAUSE button of his cassette recorder. I was in absolute inner revolt thinking WHY NOW? My hope of having a complete recording was slowly and surely being shattered, and I even considered whispering to him to please let the tape run, but did not want to intrude. I thought: maybe his cassette is too short and he is saving tape.

To the question (posed from the other side of the room): "Are MICHAEL, EVE and LUCIFER historical figures of the past…(Stockhausen: "No, no!) or are they real apparitions?" Stockhausen answered: "I pray daily to Michael, but not to Lucifer — I do not allow myself to do that — but he is very present, like in New York at the moment."

Q: Do you have visions of angels?

Stockhausen: Yes of course.

Q What do they look like?

Stockhausen: Similar to what you are all familiar with in paintings and the other visual arts of the last 1000 years. And sometimes also in a human being.

There was a moment of silence, until the journalist in front of me broke the silence: "Now that the city of New York’ has been mentioned: In your notes to HYMNEN, you write of a harmonious humanity made musically audible"

Stockhausen: Yes

The same journalist: You have also just spoken about the languages, in which you are composing, you have just said that Lucifer is in New York — I believe that I have not misunderstood you —

Stockhausen: No

The same journalist: How do you feel personally about the recent events and above all, how do you now view such notes about a harmonious humanity as in HYMNEN, which is going to be performed?

Another moment of silence.

Stockhausen was biting his lip, which means he is close to tears. This had happened a few minutes earlier, when he had said that he sometimes saw an angel in a human being.

Then he said — in the context of his previous statement "for instance Lucifer in New York" — "So: What happened there is — now all of you must adjust your brains —, the biggest work of art…" This statement and only part of what Stockhausen then actually said is ALL that was broadcasted by the NDR, i.e. there was none of the previously quoted context, thus no mention of Lucifer. We will transcribe the press conference in its entirety and make its translation available as soon as possible.

In what followed, Stockhausen expressed his amazement at the deadly efficiency involved in (Lucifer’s) art of war, of destruction.

Then, the same journalist asked Stockhausen if he considered Lucifer's "work of art" to be a criminal act. Stockhausen replied that of course it was a criminal act beacuse the innocent who were killed had not been given a choice.

The next-to-last sentence that was broadcast was "But what happened SPIRITUALLY, this jump out of security, out of the self-evident, out of the every day life, this sometimes also happens in art…or it is worthless. "

As I remember, it was at this point that Stockhausen then said, "But — please — do not publish this, people might not understand this." And there was a general nodding of heads. It was a moment where the division Stockhausen / journalists = you / me was swept away, and "mankind is in a crisis, but crisis can bring renewal" remained, without words.

Then after this silence, Stockhausen looked the journalist in front of me (who had asked the question) straight in the eye and asked, reflecting: "Where did you want to lead me? Lucifer… Are you a musician?" (Answer: "I used to be.")

A few more reflective sentences followed, then Stockhausen smiled slightly at Johannes Schulz and kidded, "Maybe you are Lucifer."

As soon as I get a complete, uncut tape of the press conference and especially of this section of the press conference I will translate it. I have been trying to get such a copy since September 17th and have received no help from the responsible people at the Hamburg Music Festival, who are occupied with the political future of the festival. (Maybe when the elections are over it will be politically acceptable to make an official statement in support of Stockhausen.)

The press conference ended at about 19:15 and of course I immediately asked the journalist if I could have a copy of his tape and asked for his name and address so that I could remind him in case he forgot (an incomplete tape is better than no tape…). He said he didn’t have any card handy, so just told me his name, Johannes Schulz. By that time Benedikt Stampa, who had moderated the press conference, was standing next to me and offered to pass on the tape to me, so the journalist could give it to him. I said to Mr. Schulz that it was a pity that he had not recorded the entire press conference. He agreed. I then said, that if it would be a problem to copy the tape, once he had used what he wanted to use, he could just give me the original. Then he said that he would not part with this tape. I understood, because so many of the things Stockhausen had said during the entire press conference were so important and could be used for other broadcasts about his music.

Several of the other journalists present approached Stockhausen following the press conference and expressed their enthusiasm about what had been said and thanked Stockhausen personally.

At 19:30 we left the hotel to go to the Musikhalle where Stockhausen was to check the loudspeaker installation and to aim them with his technicians. Mr. Stampa drove us there and on the way he said that the press conference had been the best one of his life. He said that Stockhausen’s observations about the attacks had helped him to see the situation more clearly ("endlich eine klare Sicht"). Later, I told Stockhausen that for me, personally, what he had said had been so consoling because it was the first and only comment on the attacks, of the hundreds which I had heard, in which there was not one world of judgement, hate or anger. I was the only American present at the press conference. If I was not offended, then who could be?

September 17th

At breakfast we opened the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and there was a full-page interview which Stockhausen had given on September 11th to Julia Spinola (as I was trying to call my parents, who live 7 miles from the Pentagon, for some news about the attacks). The German press, with very few exceptions, and especially the FAZ has never — in 50 years — been supportive of Stockhausen (at best they have tolerated him), so this was a real break-through. Even the photo was good. Unfortunately, that page did not get into the partial translation of the FAZ, which appears with the International Herald Tribune. (The later news did, though.)

Stockhausen spent the entire forenoon making sound checks. We were waiting for the arrival of the bass singer Nicholas Isherwood, also an American, who had been stranded in the USA since the 11th. We were not certain if he would make it in time for the rehearsals of FRIDAY from LIGHT that were planned for that afternoon. If he had not arrived we would have had to perform the 24-track tape only, the electronic music and sound scenes of FRIDAY from LIGHT, which underlies the whole opera. The tape has been performed by itself on several occasions and — as is the case with other tape music which can include performers, such as KONTAKTE, OKTOPHONIE or INVISIBLE CHOIRS — it is wonderful to be able to hear details of the electronic music which are otherwise covered by the live performers. The other piece which Nicholas was to perform in Hamburg (with Alain Louafi), LUCIFER’S FURY, had had to be taken off of the Hamburg program (I get goose bumps as I write this) because of Nicholas’ delay in getting back from the United States. The work was premiered during the Stockhausen Courses Kuerten 2001 but would have needed two more days of rehearsal. It ends with Lucifer suffocating in a casket… It is originally a scene of Act 1 of MONDAY from LIGHT and was made into a concert version recently by Stockhausen.

Stockhausen tried out all of the tapes and then left for lunch. We still did not know if Nicholas would arrive.

When we returned to the Musikhalle at 14:30 to rehearse the 5 real scenes of FRIDAY from LIGHT, I heard Nicholas warming up, and thanked God.

We had to rehearse more quickly than we like to, and did not get to rehearse ELUFA (the final real scene with Kathinka and I) because we had to get out of the auditorium at 18:00 so that the stage could be prepared for the orchestra concert that evening.

As we were about to leave, Mr. Stampa, whose office is in the Musikhalle, came into the auditorium and asked Stockhausen to come up to his office. There, he explained that excerpts of the press conference had been broadcast and that it could seriously damage the festival politically if Stockhausen did not retract what he had said about the attacks. So Stockhausen wrote the following:

"On the occasion of a press conference on Sunday, September 16th 2001 for the Hamburg Music Festival I was asked if Michael, Eve and Lucifer were historical figures. I answered that they are always present, for example Lucifer in New York. I called to mind the role of destruction in art. All other words outside of this context have nothing to do with my opinion."

Mr. Stampa said that it was Johannes Schulz who had, despite Stockhausen’s request, broadcast his "excerpts of excerpts". Mr. Stampa and Ingo Metzmacher, the general music director of the Hamburg Opera (who began his career as a member of the Stockhausen Ensemble as pianist in KONTAKTE and HYMNEN) have been fighting for the political ( = financial) survival of the festival, as I said before.

When I expressed my shock and disappointment to Mr. Stampa about this sensationalist, yellow journalistic act, he — experienced in politics — said, "Don’t worry, there is nothing as old as yesterday’s news". But I was worried. I re-ran the whole press conference, saw Johannes Schulz in my mind’s eye and realized that it is people like he who look like pacifists, talk like pacifists but act like terrorists, who are responsible for the "little" wars which can break human hearts, divide people, and which — in due course — lead to the "real" thing. These "little" wars take place in families, marriages, on the street, in the supermarket. If we are not always kind to everyone, then we should not be surprised that now and then there are "big" wars. I could not sleep.

At 23:50 the phone rang in my hotel room. It was the reception saying that Mr. Stampa had to talk with Stockhausen and would arrive in 20 minutes. I told the receptionist that Stockhausen had to sleep because he had two concerts the next day. The receptionist said that it was about the concert and it was an emergency situation and that Mr. Stampa would be accompanied by the senator Dr. Weiss.

So I woke up Stockhausen, saying that there was an emergency and that Mr. Stampa and Dr. Weiss would be arriving in about 10 minutes.

At 00:10 Mr. Stampa called from the reception that they had arrived and I asked them to come up to Stockhausen’s room. There were three persons, the third name of whom I did not understand. They informed Stockhausen that the main sponsor of the festival, Zeit-Stiftung, a foundation brought into existence by the Hamburg publisher and founder of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit was threatening to cancel their support if the 4 Stockhausen concerts were not immediately cancelled. In a press announcement they stated that they could not politically afford to support someone who had made such outrageous statements. I couldn’t believe my ears: a serious publisher had immediately believed what he heard without even trying to verify it. Everyone was talking about "O-Ton", which in German means "original tone", as if there could be no shadow of doubt about its contextual authenticity. One does not have to be Stockhausen to be aware of what one can do with a tape (even if the journalist in question had recorded everything…)

Mr. Stampa said not to worry, that they would just "postpone" the concerts. (These would have been the first Stockhausen concerts in Hamburg in almost 30 years!) Stockhausen then said that would not be easy because these programmes had been rehearsed so well that even if the concerts were postponed just a few weeks they would have to be rehearsed extensively again. He then named a few dates that would be possible for the concerts. Mr. Stampa also said that the "postponement" had nothing to do with Stockhausen or his music but rather was entirely the result of the political tension in Hamburg due to the elections. Not understanding what that meant, Stockhausen asked again why the concerts could not take place. (Remember: He knew what he had said and what he had meant, but had no idea about what people, in the meantime, were hearing and reading.) He reminded Mr. Stampa, Dr. Weiss and Mr. ? that media scandals and hate campaigns were nothing new for him: Following the world première of GESANG DER JUENGLINGE, for instance, he was attacked by the media because this work was "evidence" that Stockhausen had "set an axe to the roots of music" (these are the words of Prof. Blume, who was at that time the head of the German musicological society), and "butchered" the human voice. There was even a court case to forbid broadcasts of his music because of this.

Dr. Weiss repeated that the cancellation had nothing to do with Stockhausen or his music, but rather that the concerts had to be cancelled because of the political situation, which is what prompted the Zeit-Stiftung, their main sponsor, to demand that the concerts be cancelled. She said that everyone involved especially herself since she was up for re-election, had to be careful about their public images and political profiles. Even though Stockhausen has been composing in 5 languages recently, he did not understand a word they were saying.

They then said that they needed an apology from Stockhausen that they would read during the press conference on the following day that was being held to announce the cancellation of the concerts. Stockhausen asked if it would not be better for him to be personally present at the press conference. He wanted to have the opportunity to personally answer the questions of the journalists. This was met by an energetic "No, please go home, we want to protect you from the fury of the journalists". So Stockhausen dictated the following text to be read during the press conference: (unfortunately I now have to quote this from a newspaper, because I never received the transcribed text from Mr. Stampa although he had promised that it would be delivered to our hotel the next morning between 9:30 and 10:00 for Stockhausen’s correction and approval):

" Please forgive me. I never felt or thought what has been read into my words."

The newspaper from which I quote this (Hamburger Abendblatt September 19, 2001) calls it a "weak, short statement" and criticizes him for not being at the press conference. In other words, no one had said that he had offered to be present, but that he had been told not to come. Obviously "the trio" was fearful of further political embarrassment. Stockhausen is open and honest, which means that he is sometimes undiplomatic.

It was now about 1 a.m. and Stockhausen suddenly remembered that he had been planning to stay in Hamburg one more day (following the concert days) in order to rehearse with children of the Schwerin Conservatorium who prepared his composition TIERKREIS (ZODIAC). Following the rehearsals he would have then attended their concert that was to take place at the Hamburg Planetarium. Since he had to leave Hamburg early, he would have to disappoint the children. This was the first moment that Stockhausen was really worried and he asked Mr. Stampa to explain to the teacher and the children what had happened. The next day, when I called Mr. Ahmels to personally apologize, he had not yet been informed.

September 18th 2001

The next morning I attended to practical details such as deciding how to get back to Cologne. The air tickets we had were economy rate so could not be changed, so we decided to go back by express train. I called Mr. Stampa to ask when we could expect the transcription. He said it would come "right away". (I still don’t have it.) I then asked if someone could drive us to the train station because all of our baggage. He arranged that.

In the meantime, Stockhausen was trying to reach as many of the musicians and technicians and other collaborators as possible (who were in the process of getting ready for the dress rehearsal of the real scenes of FRIDAY from LIGHT that morning and who had no idea what had happened) to apologize for the fact that because of what he had said in the press conference, they would not be able to perform. He still could not really comprehend why four concerts were being cancelled. For him, "political thinking" is more alien, conceptually speaking, than distant galaxies. In an interview he gave in Lebanon when giving concerts there in 1969, he was asked what he thought about the political conflicts that were taking place there. His answer is documented in the film Stockhausen in the Jeita Caves:

"Personally, I am looking for a spiritual life that reaches far beyond the political aspect. Politics is one of humanity’s sciences to organize different opinions. It is a science based on misunderstanding and misery. It is a science in transition. In a conscious humanity, politics will disappear."

And later: "Because if one is a true artist, he is a visionary. His results cannot be the products of logical thought, but he dares communicate his visions, without fear of losing face or losing the good opinion of others, of both his life and his work."

The car came to pick us up and we left at 11:15 for Cologne by train. By the time we got home, the news had hit all of Germany and we started feeling like fugitives of a manhunt. There were faxes waiting for us, some supportive, others not, and a fax. from Jim Stonebraker saying that he was getting hate mail and asking what had happened. We locked the gate, which is usually unlocked, and Stockhausen sat down and wrote the statement, which you all have read by now. This was sent to the German Press Agency and since then has at least been partially printed in many German newspapers.

According to the Hamburger Abendblatt report of the press conference, which took place later in the day, Dr. Weiss — who had told Stockhausen the night before in his hotel room that of course she understood what he had intended to say, but that she did not know how to convey it to the sponsors and to the public — is quoted as having said " Sentences such as those which were said, cannot be erased by a denial. They are cynical and immoral". Now it is clear why she did not want Stockhausen to personally attend the press conference. She wanted to win the election at all costs. Now that the elections are over (I hear they are fighting about who really won…) maybe she could make another try at conveying to the public what she says she has understood.

September 19th

We received the following letter from a German mailman:

"I have just returned from Hamburg, filled with anger (a little bit), incomprehension and above all disappointment — infinite disappointment. For these days I had applied for and received special vacation (and in the postal service that is difficult), then I traveled by train to Hamburg, and then — standing in front of the Musikhalle in Hamburg — read that all the concerts had been cancelled, without further explanation. I have looked forward to your sounds for weeks. In the recent days this expectation became a consolation in view of the insanity in the world, it became a distraction from chaotic thoughts and feelings. And now this! I walked through the city completely disoriented. I could not do anything else that day. Why did these concerts have to be cancelled? There are so many events; so many concerts take place despite their amusement character. But especially your works should have been performed, due to their futuristic character, their witness to a more humanistic world, in which the word "community" is not just an empty word.

Will there be new dates? Will there be Stockhausen concerts in other cities? My God, I am completely exhausted by disappointment. I will feed my CD player with your music, and I hope that I will then feel better.

With deep respect,

Stockhausen answered by hand-copying the last bars of REUE (REPENTANCE) — the eighth real scene of FRIDAY from LIGHT — which ends with the words Dunkel wird Licht (darkness will be light) repeated four times, and sent it to him.

September 20th

We received news from the WDR that the broadcast of four films about Stockhausen’s music which were to have been shown at the end of September were cancelled due to current events. This is a hasty censure of Stockhausen that that is very regrettable. The person to contact for more information about this is Dr. Günther Struve, e-mail:, ARD Gemeinschaftsprogramm, Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen, Arnulfstr. 42, 80335 München, Fax. 089-5900-3249.

In the most popular newspaper in Cologne, EXPRESS, finally a ray of light appeared in the form of a statement by the press speaker of the Hamburg Music Festival, who had said that

"During the press conference all of the journalists were enthusiastic about Stockhausen’s explanations about his life and his music. His comments about the attacks were publicized out of context. If one is familiar with Stockhausen and his works, then one knows that he meant a work of destruction by Lucifer. All of the journalists understood that — except one."

For the most part though, this nightmare has been more a demonstration of solidarity than of hate. Stockhausen has never received so many personal letters — most of them from strangers, expressing their understanding (even out of context) and fury at the crime begin committed against him. For example: "To be capable of making that statement about art, means that you have probed the nature of art to its very foundation. Then it hits the heart…in the middle. Fanatics cannot understand such things. Be courageous and do not be disconcerted. Amicably…"

We received good news from London on the 21st. A large festival of his music is to take place in three weeks at the Barbican Centre in London. In a BBC interview, the director of the Barbican expressed solidarity with Stockhausen and his music. In the course of the broadcast, Stockhausen’s humanitarianism — which has made him one of the great humanitarians of the twentieth century — was documented by excerpts from Stockhausen’s own writings and music, as well as by testimonies from other people.

On September 23rd (election day in Hamburg) Stockhausen — strongly encouraged by the director of the music school in Kuerten to come despite the scandal — attended the school’s 25th anniversary celebration. Some of you may know that Stockhausen single-handedly saved the music school in Kuerten this past May after the community government said that they could no longer pay their share of the budget ($5,000 per year). In two messages to the press Stockhausen expressed his disgust about the priorities of the politicians. The next day, the owner of a small local plumbing company wrote a fax to Stockhausen saying that he could promise the missing 10,000 DM per year for the next 5 years. Today in the ceremony they thanked Stockhausen for his help in saving the music school.

September 24th: On September 20th Stockhausen had received an invitation from one of the members of the town council in Kuerten to come and talk with representatives of the Gemeinde-Rat (Town Council) about the situation. He said he would be happy to talk with them, and suggested that the leaders of all the parties come together for this, so that he could talk with everyone at the same time. They thought this was a good idea and sent invitations to the leaders of all the political parties in Kuerten. Of the 6 parties, representatives of five of them attended a meeting yesterday evening at the Kuerten Rathaus, to talk with Stockhausen personally. The mayor of Kuerten, Ulrich Iwanow, was also present and showed everyone a thick notebook full of mail which he had received "from all over the world, most of it in support of Stockhausen". The 6th party, the "Citizens for Citizens" could not be present for the meeting.

The meeting was very friendly, open and constructive. Even though the press had asked to be admitted, the persons responsible respected Stockhausen’s wishes that no press be present. There were questions and answers and commentaries. At the end of the dialogue with Stockhausen, we left and those who had been present (about 35 people) remained to formulate a summary of what had been said during the meeting in order to inform the press and the public. We are very relieved and grateful. I just hope and pray it will be picked up by more than the local press.

On September 26th we received a letter from Margarete Zander, a journalist from the NDR who had been present at the press conference, offering to help bring to Stockhausen's comments into their true light. She also included the transcription of the "context" - the sentences immediately proceeding - of Stockhausen’s comments about the attacks on the U.S.A. She and several other of the journalists who were present have said that the meaning of what Stockhausen said was - in context - unequivocal. Please read her letter by clicking HERE. On the same day, Stockhausen received an invitation from the Buerger für Buerger to meet informally with some of their party members, and they too were interested in hearing what he had really said.

In both local papers on September 27th there were very positive reports about the meetings which had been held with the other 5 parties on Monday. With the mayor is quoted as having said, "Stockhausen did not deny anything, because there was nothing to deny. "

Also on the 27th, Stockhausen received a fax from the director of the music department of WDR television (see September 20th), Mr. Rudolf Heinemann saying (shouting) that it was impertinent to have complained that four films about his music had been canceled (censured) "due to the present situation". He continued by saying that in his opinion, Stockhausen and his music should be boycotted. (His e-mail address is: - Tel.:0049 (0) 221 220 2952, Fax: 0049 (0) 221 220 77 2952, Address WDR Fernsehen, Appellhofplatz 50600 Köln).

In a two-page reply, Stockhausen first asked him not to be so harsh and angry. He explained that both of his parents were killed during the Third Reich. He himself had experienced the cruelty of war for six years, the last half year as a stretcher-bearer just behind the Western front.

"In the first opera of the LIGHT cycle, I composed the death of the mother and father of the boy named Michael as a nasty act of Lucifer. You wrote today, that you do not care whether it is Lucifer or the devil who performs a destructive act; but in all 6 operas of LIGHT to date, each time Lucifer performs his deadly tricks in a different way."...

"So please do not believe what the newspapers have capitalized on. I am a peaceful spirit - in spite of Lucifer. The music is defenseless.

I greet you cordially and request that you reconsider the "boycott" against my music. The works, which have been composed until now, will continue to exist after I am dead, and one must proceed from the works - musically.

With time, comes counsel.

Ka Stockhausen,


Now it is September 28th, and we just returned from a meeting with the "Citizens for Citizens" party. It was a friendly meeting. Their main concern was trying to make Stockhausen’s comments about the attacks - in context - comprehensible to the "average citizen". They therefore requested Stockhausen to supplement its original statement of clarification, which then could be read aloud at the next meeting of the town council. He agreed.

The headlines in one of local papers today was:

All misunderstandings clarified.
Stockhausen remains honorary citizen.
The summer courses in Kürten will continue.
Link to Stockausen Website Restored to Kürten Webpage

As response to a fax, which was sent to Mark J. St. Hilaire (USA) expressing our concern immediately after we had heard about the attacks on Tuesday, September 11th, he wrote (on September 12th)

Hopefully there will be a day when the world can unite in a world parliament, like that portrayed in Stockhausen’s visionary masterpiece WELT-PARLAMENT (WORLD PARLIAMENT). I read the text of this work last night after watching the news reports. Fortunately, Stockhausen’s music makes for a better world and a more hopeful future.

To end with, I would like to share something that we just received as a fax. An English journalist, who is publishing a big interview on the occasion of the Stockhausen festival in London next month, suggested "that rather than retreating from the press, it would be better to fight fire with fire". Stockhausen does NOT want to do that. He is not "retreating" from the press; he simply has no more to say than he has already said.

A response to this journalist and all of mankind is the text of TUESDAY GREETING which was premièred in 1988 at the Cologne Philharmonic Hall on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the University of Cologne. The performers are solo soprano and two choral groups, each with a conductor. In LIGHT, TUESDAY is the day of war between MICHAEL and LUCIFER. The solo soprano (EVE) sings:

Stop fighting!

Need it be?!
Be peaceful, please!

Right or not: get along with each other!

whatever you want,
whatever you represent,
Children women men,
hear me:
give up the war,
the strife about God and worlds!
Make peace.

Let everyone listen,
let everyone listen;

to his inner;
wait and see if you arise after death.

Here on Earth
may life be
holy holy holy
and each human heart.

May he who has God
and also he who denies God
love his neighbour
and his neighbour's neighbour.

That gives peace, freedom.

We want peace,


Let us continue to pray for truth and light.


For further information:

Johannes Schulz, NDR (North German Radio), Redaktion 90.3, Rothenbaumchausee 132, D-20149 Hamburg. Tel.: 0049 - (0)40 4156-2978 Fax. 0049 -(0)40- 447 602.

Benedikt Stampa, Hamburger Musikfest, Dammtorwall 46, D-20355 Hamburg. Tel. 0049 - (0)40 - 357 666-15 or 16, Fax. 0049 - (0)40 - 3480168.

Dr. Christina Weiss, Kulturbehoerde Hamburg, Hamburgerstr. 45, 22083 Hamburg, Tel.: 0049- (0)40 - 428 24 207, Fax. 0049 - (0)40 - 2996560, e-mail:

Zeit-Stiftung, Feldbrunnenstraße 56, D-20148 Hamburg, Tel. 0049-(0)40 - 413366, Fax. 0049 - (0)40 - 41 33 67 00, e-mail:

Margarete Zander, Tel. 0049 - (0)40-390 78 78, Fax, 0049 (0) 40 - 390 78 79, e-mail:

Bürgermeister und Rat der Gemeinde Kürten, Rathaus, Marktplatz, D-51515 Kürten Faxs. 0049-(0)2268 - 939 128, e-mail: