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Stop The Boycott Of Stockhausen On German TV!

Letters To Kürten Mayor Herrn Ulrich Iwanow In Support of The Stockhausen Courses

I am saddened at the thoughtlessness the press has shown -- and encouraged -- in their handling of Stockhausen’s comments at the Hamburg press conference.

This is a perfect example of the press, whose role it is to report its observations, taking a prejudiced attitude, denying its obligation to comprehend the reality it reports, and rushing to conclusions which inflame further a public already victimized by ignorance, prejudice, and unreason.

Clearly even the liberal press -- certainly in the United States -- feels a need to find villains, even where they do not exist. Even the liberal press is ready to censor, to fire writers (as did the Daily Courier in Grants Pass, Oregon), to call for boycotts of musical performances.

If they read the right papers Americans find out about these matters. Adair Lara has written about this in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Bill Maher of 'Politically Incorrect' lost advertisers when he said the plain truth -- that the hijackers were not cowards. Professors, other columnists, even a German composer have been fired, disciplined or shunned for remarks made around the time of the attacks. The White House press secretary denounced Maher, saying that in times like these, 'people have to watch what they say and watch what they do.' "

These are times when simplistic analysis and ill-considered action can be expected. If nothing else, Stockhausen has demonstrated how careful we all must be when we express our opinions -- especially to the press. But I agree with Jean-Luc Plouvier's letter, above, which I paraphrase here for those who do not read French:

There are two kinds of words: words in action, addressed to the public, assertions, which everyone must consider as if they were in fact acts; and then words as thought, impromptu, contemplation, which is free from accountability...

Any journalist who confuses these two kinds of speech, who forbids any lengthy or audacious meditation by making of it a "declaration" which must be judged and punished, is a pig.

Long live Stockhausen!

Charles Shere
Healdsburg, California

Dear Sir,

I just wanted to say, as an American, I know that you have been misrepresented in the news media. I am sure that you are very hurt and upset, and have that sinking feeling inside your heart, because what has been said, has been said, and can never be recovered.

Americans go crazy when the flames of nationalism are burning brightly. But for any one to believe that (WHAT!!) you are on the side of death and mayhem is so wrong and argumentative, that I can only shake my head in disgust.

You are a fine man, and a lovely composer.

I "discovered" your music in the early sixties, when I was a young man at university. We listened to you, Ravi Shankar, and West Coast jazz ( Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Bobby Brookmeyer), as our consciousness cracked open. I also got "turned on" to modern music, and contemporary chamber music at that time. I was so lucky!

I'm really sorry that this has happened to you, of all people, you. But please know that there are many of us out there who have known you and your work for almost fifty years, who know this is an error, and that this incident did not happen the way it was originally stated.

Your old friend,
Michael Haanel

Dear Herr Stockhausen,

Composers don't always choose the right words, although the right thoughts are in their minds. What happened in Hamburg provided the German media, which have always had their knives ready for you, with an ideal opportunity to plunge them in. Those of us who have grown up with Inori, with Mantra, with Momente (I briefly attended your seminars in Köln in 1976-7), know what you were really trying to say - it's too much to expect that of journalists! I hope that you will emerge from this crisis unscathed.
All best wishes -

Raymond Deane

Dear Professor Stockhausen

I was absolutely appalled by the way in which your comments were taken out of context and used in such a spitefull way to attack you. It is an absolute disgrace for journalists to behave in such a senseless and hurtful way and I hope for the record to be set straight together with a full apology from the press concerned.

I hope that international arts organisations shall see sense and continue their duty to support such an incredible artist.

I know in my heart from listening to your music and from my (sadly all to brief) meeting with you in London last year, that you are not only the greatest musical genius but also a great humanitarian.

My thoughts and prayers are with you now and always.

May you have a long and productive life.

With all my best wishes


Composer, pianist, musical director and filmaker
Manchester, England

I wish to defend Stockhausen:

I am unable to see that image of the destroyed World Trade Centre and all the death, destruction and evil it conveys without being aware of its beauty. Perhaps I would rather I did not.

Whether one wishes to or not, one can, worryingly , be struck by the profound and grotesque beauty of an image. Does "Beauty" claim any intrinsic moral quality? Can one not discuss it? Those who, without wishing to, perceive this grotesque beauty arising from such evil are surely not morally inferior.

As Yeats said "a terrible beauty is born".(Easter 1916)
"Beauty more than bitterness/Makes the heart break "(Sara Teasdale "Vignettes Overseas".Rivers to the sea).
"Forever/Seek for Beauty,she only/Fights with man against death."(Sara Teasedale "The Voice"Flame and shadows).

From Barbara Jubb, Derbyshire,UK

Dear James,

I receive your answear with deep feelings of simpathy with our Maestro. I surely will keep him in my prayers: I confess you that my religion is the Islamic one and I have the presumption to believe that Karlheinz Stockhausen will be very happy to know that people from different religions have the same feelings towards him; we all join each other in the name of music, that music which is able to "speak" to and about (sometimes, and this is the case of Stockhausen's music) all religions, all cultures, all traditions... eventually all human beings.

My collegue Davide Casali is Jew and we, together, participate at the organization of our Festival « Luigi Nono »; as I wrote you, we would like to play the 4th scene from « Samstag aus Licht », the one based on St.Francis's words, in a church; in this way all the three religions of the Book are joined and this - in this peculiar moment, which will be unfortunately very long - will perhaps help this poor poor humanity to understand how richness and freedom there's in diversity and reciprocal collaboration.

I hope that our Maestro could be "happy" in receiving the emotional sustain from two men and musicians of different religions (which politics sometimes divides) but who are joined by the delight and preciousness of his music. We - both and together - will keep him in our prayers, with eyes wild open on the laid and miserable littleness of the attacks against him and his music and his thought. We understood very well where is the Truth and where is the lie and we think that everyone could understand the same just listening to only one of his compositions. All our best wishes to you, dear James, and to Karlheinz. With a universe of Love...

Pierpaolo Zurlo - Davide Casali

Please convery my unmitigated support for Karlheinz Stockhausen.

The form of abuse that he has suffered (at the hands of an unethical and spiteful journalist) is exactly in the nature of the horrible abuse suffered by the people of New York and Washington D.C. though they are, of course, not comparable.

He is an amazing artist and a humanist.

Yours, in peace and solidarity,

Rick Walker
Artist,Composer, Musician,Activist for the Arts
winner of the 1st Gail Rich Award for Service to the Arts

I wish to express my total solidarity with Prof. Stockhausen for the infamous slanderous campaign against him.

Lorenzo Belardinelli
Software Developer

Dear James,

It seems to me that what has happened is initself a manifestation of Lucifer against Stockhausen. Perhaps Luzifer is angry that Stockausen is revealing to all, through his music, that Luzifer stands for! I consider Stockhausen as a Weltgeist- a universal spirit that has brought unsurpassed beauty and genius to those that have ears to hear. It may be a measure of Stochausen's greatness and importance that he has been selected for this attack by Luzifer.

I don't know how you are in contact with KS but assure him that nobody but nobody has believed a word of this accusation. If there is any good that can come out of evil intent of one journalist, at least millions more people are aware of LICHT.

Please ask him to look out for my two letters - there is an 'embassy' in the heart of England!

Thanks for your reply

Ivor Morgan

Dear Stockhausen - I was greatly upset to hear this news. On the day it appeared I had messages from 30 people about it - all in England where (as you know) you have countless admirers.

I immediately sat and listened to "Inori". This is NOT the work of a violent man. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

With gratitude for a legacy of masterpieces.

Rosemary Butler.

By the way your speech before 'Gruppen' at the Festival Hall last February was a revelation....

This is an international scandal...!

Surely amongst Germany's Stockhausen fans is a hot lawyer who can press (not for damages) but for a full apology to this wonderful man.

Dear Stockhausen - believe me you have an army of admirers around the world who have been touched and moved by your inspired work. I wish you good health and a long life.

Your biographer Robin Maconie tells us that having addressed the year ('Sirius') the week ('Licht') you will move post-Licht to the day and minute. We look forward to this music with all our hearts.

sincerely J. Atkin

The 1996 Bach Prize of the City of Hamburg was awarded to the composer, Karlheinz Stockhausen. This award, endowed with DM 20,000, distinguishes one of the most important composers of this century, was the opinion of the jury of seven.

This is a shameful moment for the city of Hamburg which can withdraw its recognition so thoughtlessly. I wrote to Hamburg Musikfest for their thoughts on this( mail@hamburger-musikfest.de ) but got no response.

Note to all visitors of the Website: See where Stockhausen is appearing in the world - buy yourself a ticket - and go to support him. He's a worldwide treasure

Mr. K. Stockhausen,

In light of the damage done both to your budget and professional image, I would suggest that the newspaper writer who defamed your character through the use of sleazy editing, is liable for damages. I would hope that you would see the logic of keeping all things in their proper place, as that writer did not, and sue him for slander and loss of expences.

Bruce Friedman
Los Angeles

I want to give all my support to Mr. Stockhausen and tell that I'm really shocked about this stupid campaign in the German newspapers.

yours sincerly,
Samuel Jurcic, Stuttgart, Germany

to whom it may concern,

i wish to protest the treatment of mr. karlheinz stockhausen in the wake of his recent comments about the attacks on the world trade center and the pentagon in the US. according to himself, he was badly misquoted, and should have the right to present his own case regarding his remarks. no support should be withdrawn from his activities until he has had an opportunity to make his case. any other treatment would be grossly unfair; to proceed in persecuting him based on an alleged misquote is not only counterproductive but immoral.


phil thomson
a composer/sound artist
who is in deep artistic debt to mr. stockhausen

Stockhausen ist Stockhausen.

Und bleibt Stockhausen.

Selbst wenn irgendwelche Journalisten nicht imstande sind, " ihr Hirn umzustellen".

Einmal im Jahr wird man ja selbst von einem BILD-Reporter das erwarten können...

Deshalb ist es aberwitzig, für Stockhausen zu sprechen, weil Stockhausen seit 50 Jahren für sich selbst spricht. Die Regale quellen über von musikalischen Werken der Sonderklasse. Also bitte!

Trotzdem muß man das mal sagen.

Weils nicht jeder mitbekommen hat.

(André Resem)

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to register my support for Stockhausen. I am convinced that the comments attributed to him were taken out of their proper context by an opportunistic journalist with little ethics.

As a journalist and music composer myself, I find these actions despicable, and have recently published a short article denouncing the lecherous journalist and the press's refusal to print Stockhausen's explanation ("Panarticon," Discorder Magazine, street date October 2001). Please see the below text of the column.

It is true that in times of political crisis, we need serious, contemporary art more than ever.

Yours sincerly,

tobias van Veen
Vancouver, BC, Canada


Karlheinz Stockhausen, experimental electronic music composer, absolutely misquoted about the attacks, from Hamburg to the Vancouver Sun. Stockhausen was speaking of his leitmotif Lucifer as it manifested, as an allegory, in NYC. Some trashy, nihilist (in the worst sense of the word) journalist from Bild took the opportunity to take the comments out of their context. For therecord: "For a musician it seems like rehearsing ten years for one concertand then killing oneself and 5000 people. The whole planning looked like the greatest piece of art of LUCIFER."

(Discorder Magazine, Vancouver, BC, Canada; "Panarticon" by tobias v)

It's really unfortunate that Stockhausen's comment was so horribly misconstrued. What's more unfortunate is the lethargy the press has shown in retracting their remarks. Surely, anyone with even a passing familiarity of Stockhausen's music will realize that the man would not say awful things like that. His music and his copious printed work leaves no doubt as to his Weltanschauung. I support Stockhausen completely.

-paul miller
Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester

Dear Jim,

I had the great pleasure and honour to have Stockhausen at my festival for electroacoustic music in Skinnskatteberg in Sweden in the summer of 2000 and to be responsible for the Stockhausen-concerts during the PolarPrize in Stockholm in 2001.

Unfortunately I must inform you that the swedish newspapers also have - uncritically - transported this out of context ripped statements of Stockhausen as if they were the truth and nothing but the truth and some of them have even made stupid remarks about his own explanations on his website - as if the journalists always and everywhere are the real carrier of the truth and nobody else, least of all Stockhausen. Everything for a scoop or a hip "truth".

But really sad and stupid with, as I understand, sad and stupid consequences.

However lies do not live for ever, which the music of Stockhausen will.

Ulf Stenberg

I wish to express my full solidarity in the comparisons of Prof. Stockhausen for the absurd and unjustifiable campaign made against him by the German press.

I believe many people know that peace and respect for human life surely represents an immense value for every artist truly inspired, which the Prof. Stockhausen certainly is.

My hope is that these terrible days for all the world could represent the germ of a deep and radical change towards a new luminous age for the humanity.

Roberto Dodi.

To whom this may concern, if anyone cares enough to be concerned,

A man is suffering from a misunderstanding that moves across the world. Professor Karlheinz Stockhausen was quoted as saying something he never said; was in fact misquoted by one reporter who did not care enough to listen. But in the attempt to make headlines, thousands of news people have committed the same act of indecency, the same crime of failing to report the truth. I used to believe the news media sought facts. That figures such as the muckrakers would never exist again. I know now I was wrong.

In September 23’s edition of the Forum, Professor Stockhausen was again misquoted. This proves no one on the news team bothered to read his letter, nor cared to see how the German media has begun to apologize. And yet the damage has been done by irresponsible reporters—such as the person responsible for this edition’s quote. A man’s fate is being determined by careless people. But the question remains—will the person responsible be man or woman enough to admit the mistake? Be decent enough to tell the whole truth?

Enclosed you will find Professor Karlheinz Stockhausen’s letter written the day after the "interview". If this paper wishes to redeem itself, the printing of this letter is more than appropriate. If this paper wishes to print a fitting description of the incidents of September 11, it will most certainly print this letter. Enough people have been hurt by the events of that day. We do not need to sacrifice anyone else in a desperate need to requite the flame of vengeance burning inside. Professor Stockhausen is one man; a musical genius who speaks in a language of spirituality most fail to understand. Perhaps this is the problem? He saw the events of September 11 for what they were and the people failed to understand. If this paper is to rise above all the others, it will print his letter. Otherwise, this paper will be guilty of crimes that are a throwback to McCarthyism. Just know that there are people out there that know the truth—maybe that is convincing enough.

M.C. Turner

It was disgraceful that some timid administrator cancelled the four Stockhausen Hamburg concerts with such speed.

Dear audience - come and hear them in London 13th-15th October.

Listen to KS's music - read his texts. How can such a genius have destructive, negative thoughts..?

It was a vicious attack by the journalist and I trust we will hear nothing more from him.

best regards Mark Stratford

Dear Mr. Stonebraker
It is truly appalling that Stockhausen should be villified for his misquoted remarks concerning the terrible attack on the WTC.

If Stockhausen is guilty of anything at all it can only be a certain naivete in assuming that the press would accept the allegorical nature of his comment in the spirit in which it was offered. But Stockhausen is a creative artist, not a politician and it is wrong that he should be victimised in this way.

This controversy is most regrettable, but when it eventually blows over (and it will) Stockhausen's remarkable musical achievements will remain intact. I hope this incident will not deflect him from continuing his work and that the courses at Kurten will not be jeopardised.

Yours sincerely,
Dr. John Pickard
Dept of Music
University of Bristol

I want to express my total solidarity to prof. Karlheinz Stockausen for the campaign against him.

Maurizio Palladini, Italy

Dear Jim Stonebraker,

For your and Stockhausen's orientation - I have sent out this to colleagues and hope it will have many reactions. You may put this on the page of support letters as you like.

very best!

Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen, DK

Dear colleagues,

as you might or might not have heard, the German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen has been violently attacked in the press and needs our help. In times of political tension some people will look for scapegoats, and it is not the first time that avantgarde and experimental musicians have been in the first line to serve that need. We should protest against this meaningless assault on artistic freedom of expression.

Stockhausen was quoted for allegedly calling the terrorist attack in New York "the greatest work of art" - whereas, according to himself and fellow musician Kathinka Pasveer, he really said "the greatest work of art of Lucifer" <Lucifer= the Devil>. Furthermore, this followed after a journalist's question, whether the mythology of his new opera cycle Licht was concerned solely with the past - Stockhausen said that it also existed now - for instance Lucifer in the attack of New York.

I have not seen this correction challenged by anyone yet, although, judging from the way Stockhausen's was quoted by the German radio journalist who started this, it seems that a tape recording certainly exists or has existed. This nonwithstanding, newspapers continue to propagate the story of Stockhausen allegedly greeting the attack. Anyone who knows a little about him knows this is totally out of the question. Four concerts were cancelled recently in Hamburg, and the Kuerten Community where Stockhausen lives is threatening to withdraw any support for his yearly courses as well as his honorary citizenship.

Please send support letters to webmaster@stockhausen.org . www.stockhausen.org is also the place where you can read more. Also, send a copy of your letter to: Att. Lord Mayor Ulrich Iwanow, gemeinde@kuerten.de .

For the last address which is of the Kuerten Community, you may use your own words or this standard text: "Dear Mr. Iwanow, being convinced that the accusations against Karlheinz Stockhausen are false and absurd, I urge you to give him all your support. In times of political crisis, we need serious, contemporary art more than ever. Yours sincerly <yourname>, "

And - please pass this mail on to those you know it might concern !


Carl Bergstroem-Nielsen, DK
(composer, musician - web: http://hjem.get2net.dk/intuitive )

Cher Messieurs

il y a deux types de paroles : la parole-en-acte, adressée à l'autre, revendiquée. De celle-là, chacun doit rendre des comptes comme de tout acte

Mais la parole comme pensée, improvisation, soliloque, est libre de tout compte. Puisque Stockhausen a retiré ses propos au moment mêmede l'interview, ses paroles relèvent de cette catégorie.

Un journaliste qui confond ces deux modes de parole, qui interdit toute méditation excessive ou audacieuse en la confondant avec une "déclaration" qu'il faudrait juger et punir, est un salaud.

Longue vie à Stockhausen.

Jean-Luc Plouvier
ictus ensemble

Dear Professor Stockhausen:

I have been in discussions with other members of the American Music Center Board of Directors about the role of the artist as visionary and partner in shaping the world that we all live in. Since I am a composer, my point of view on this topic could be misinterpreted as being self-serving so I was in search of a practical example.

That example was a description of the circumstances under which Hymnen came into being at your hand and at the hands of your partners at the New York Philharmonic. In the face of great resistance, you persevered in negotiating the premiere and as a result, the NY Philharmonic was (and is) the recipient of great praise and credit.

The recent misinterpretations of your remarks regarding the catastrophe at the World Trade Center are (again) obstacles to understanding. You are courageous and strong to respond to the criticisms you are receiving now. I applaud the truth of your observation: Lucifer triumphed on 9/11/01. I also applaud the deeper truth that you express so eloquently but which is ignored by the sensationalist media: Michael will answer this destruction.

It is up to each one of us to learn the truth. Thank you for posting a response so quickly on your website. I am sending all my colleagues a link to your site.

Best wishes,
Randall Davidson

Karlheinz Stockhausen's comment that the terrorist-attacks in the US were "the biggest piece of art" triggered bewilderment, anger and malice. Despite his immediate denial poeple call it a matter that is both inexcusable and immoral. György Ligeti went even as far as suggesting 'to lock up' his colleague 'in a lunatic asylum'.

One has to ask again whether the press is a media of hysteria. In this context not long ago the writer Peter Handke evoked harsh criticism with his statements on Serbia and -in his opinion- the unfair interventions by the NATO. Journalists seemed to have forgotten that the key for the understanding of his defiant No to the conventional way of seeing things lay in his books and their yearning for a utopian empire of peotry. In Stockhausen's case the willingness to check his comment for a second time does not even seem to exist. This is surprising since all TV-shows of the past few days were unaminously amazed by the precision, the long-term preparations and the 'staging' of the attacks. More generally, comparing artists and criminals is anything else than a scandal:

One might instantly think of Robert Musil's "Man wihtout a character" and serial-killer movies of the 1990s like "Seven". Assuming that Stockhausen, in whose operas every other word is "love" or "peace", gave his press-conference in front of informed journalists, it must be said, that they did not make any attempt to explain his comment to an uninformed third party, the readers. What we witness here is the failure of the "press", a means of mediation.

Thomas, student

What a load of crap this is...

This morning, after coming home from a few days of business travel, I open up the email queue and find some stuff in there along the lines of "DID YOU HEAR WHAT STOCKHAUSEN DID!?!? BLAAAAARRRRGGGG!!!!"

Not wanting to be someone who buys into stuff hurled around like this, I get on the phone and call Nicholas Isherwood. Sure enough, _something_ had happened, but it wasn't exactly like the emails were suggesting. Smelled funny. Sounded funny, too. Nicholas said to check the website, and I did that and also poked around a few other places, too.

Y'know, there's been people that've had this mad-on to slam Stockhausen for some various reason or another since he's been doing this gig. I guess it's the part of the price for being out on the bleeding edge of art. And normally, he's done a great job at debating off various criticisms and so forth...of the LEGIT variety. But this ain't legit, folks...

It's hard to shout down yellow journalism. And this is 100% bright day-glo YELLOW. Yeah, perhaps talking about the WTC/Pentagon bombing is a little bit of a touchy subject, but misquoting what someone's said about this and twisting it to create some sort of sensationalistic newsie thrill is majorly uncool. Even worse is trying to use some sort of 'ambush question' to follow up, knowing that what you'll get out of this is going to _naturally_ be some sort of off-balance answer. This isn't proper interviewing...it's a sneak-attack, plain, dirty, and simple.

I sympathize with Stockhausen on this one. I just hate it that someone who's really not used to the sort of attack-press that's generally reserved for tinny celebs and sleazy pols is getting caught in this sort of crossfire. There's something damned unfair about this, and it stinks to high heaven.

But even moreso, my sympathies lie with Stockhausen over what amounts to censorship of his work in the wake of this sleaze attack. Yeah, I'll call it what it is: sleaze. We routinely get to hear the music of composers who actually _did_ play parts in some way in various fascistic regimes; there's therefore no excuse whatsoever for silencing Stockhausen over a glaring, scandal-mongering misquote by some sleazebag looking to up the value of his by-line. These other people actually were involved in what was going on around them; Stockhausen didn't do anything but stumble into a journalistic bear-trap!

The composer of "Hymnen" sympathizing with terrorists? Like I said...what a load of crap this is!

DAC Crowell

1. I am ashamed!

2. I am ashamed from living in a society that "obliges" a composer like Stockhausen waste his time writing messages to "defend" himself from an act of "journalism Art terrorism" from a evil, ignorant, irresponsible and fascist "journalist".

3. The time Professor Karlheinz Stochausen lost with this ignoble act of injury, its a crime perpetuated against ART, HUMANITY and HISTORY of MUSIC.

4. I am even more deeply ashamed that "so called" musicians - composers, interpreters and improvisers -, use this "terrorist journalist" act, to promote themselves, using false morality, stupid argumentation, and disrespecting totally all true Musicians and ART in general.

5. Professor Karlheinz Stockhausen needs no defence!

6. I believe in Stockhausen because I believe in Music!

7. If for example I saw on TV - with the sound off - a Vulcan in irruption expelling lava, I can say something like: "what a beautiful work of Land Art"; then if I saw the some event on TV, but this time with sound on, and I hear that, for example "a total village was destroyed and people was dead", of course I feel sad by that circumstance, but this don't makes that I am wrong in first place.

8. Every body with common sense, intelligence and with a "pure soul", intuitively understand what Stockhausen want to say.

9. When the pop composer John Lennon said that "we (the Beatles) are more known than Christ", also was "crucified" by a frustrated small part of our Society.


NOTE: SORRY MY ENGLISH - I am Portuguese - but every body with common sense, intelligence and with a "pure soul", intuitively understand what I which to say.

Vítor Rua (composer/ improviser)

P.S.: I have the Honour of making two video interviews (I have made the video and Jorge Lima Barreto conducts the interviews) to Karlheinz Stockhausen in Portugal (Lisbon). Although we have made other interviews with other great composers (Xenakis, Berio, Boulez, etc.), if asked me which of this Musicians has impressed me more, I immediately answer Stockhausen - his culture, intelligence, humanism, genius, humour, mysticism, and good taste in dress himself, together with a series of other things that I can`t described by words, obliged me to choose him intuitively.

Dear Karlheinz Stockhausen,

A greeting from Denmark: In two cases we have seen newspaper notes here in which journalists summarized what German papers had written, but in one-sided ways without sufficient mention of Stockhausen's and Kathinka Pasveer's version of what really happened. We condemn this as highly unfair and a sensation-seeking kind of journalism, even if those journalists also - paradoxically - express their fascination at Stockhausen's mythological and utopian universe. We also think that this is an instance of an artist being made into a scapegoat whereas the real problems lie elsewhere. The following is a quotation from on of our two letters to the editors:

"So maybe there is not so much real cause for a heated discussion as some people think - the quotation appears to have been taken out of its context and twisted. The fact that human beings can have an inclination to to put events they experience into big, mythological tales and that Stockhausen is no exception, has already been well put into perspective by Anders Beyer. However, the propensity of public debates to attack the artists, especially those who appear a little odd, when society feels threatened, is thought-provoking. After the II. World War avantgarde composers were scolded a lot, among other things for their allegedly "inhuman" electronic music - especially after the invasion intho Hungary in 1956 that became the starting signal for a veritable swarm of pamphlets and controversies in Germany. In retrospect it is today very clear how powerlessness created a need for finding scapegoats. Art is public working with conflicts as C.G. Jung said, but maybe this was not exactly the way of working with conflicts he would recommend."

Composer, lecturer at Aalborg University Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen and composer, Dr. Jorgen Lekfeldt

To whom it may concern:

It is obvious that Stockhausen's remarks have been taken out of context. The tragedy that occurred on September 11th has caught the world off guard.

Yes, it's pathetic. The U.S. press is turning this unprecedented crime against humanity into a music video all boxed up with red, white, and blue ribbons wrapped around it. A quote from Lewis Mumford, the late American philosopher and historian, from his book, Art and Technics: "We live in an interesting age! This is not quite so innocent a commonplace as you may fancy. We are told that when traditionally a Chinese scholar wished to utter a withering curse upon his enemy, he merely said "May you live in an interesting age... What makes our age so interesting is a number of shocking contradictions and tragic paradoxes that confront us at every turn, creating problems that tax our human capacity for understanding, releasing forces we lack the confidence to control." Stockhausen's musical contribution to the world during the past 50 years is a far more volatile commentary on society than any verbal fragment the press chooses to misinterpret.

Frank & Stacy

p.s. Perhaps the journalist in question should be sent complementary copy of HYMNEN.

I am sending my support for Mr. Stockhausen. It is obvious to anyone familiar with his works that he was misrepresented. Unfortunately, the unethical reports are widely distributed and probably take on a life of their own, but your web site offers the correct information to those who care to listen. I hope Mr. Stockhausen knows that there are many people who understand and support him.

Steve K.

I sincerely hope that Stockhausen's remarks were simply taken out of context.

The LA Times article really doesn't see it that way, obviously.

Having been modeled on some of the albums ("Ceylon/Bird of Passage"), for example, I have had a strong interest in Stockhausen, as well as a degree of concern for some of his depictions, and whether these might mistakenly be taken literally. I also have been impressed with Stockhausen's psychic research and abilities, and his emphasis on the Paranormal, throughout his works.

My strong feeling is that Stockhausen's work could be used to help prevent catastrophes, one day.

It would be a wonderful thing if a network of anti-terrorist psychics could be developed, to stop such plots long before they become operative.


Dear Webmaster, dear Mr Stockhausen,

Your description what happened in New York, expressed my feelings and thoughts about that catastrophe, too. Personally i find my way back to your work and spiritual world trough that.

But you can´t count on everyones understanding on such topics. In a special way artists have the power to tell the truth. But who wants to hear it ???

Please Mr Stockhausen, do not feel so insulted by that stupid journalist. You work in itself shows your deep desire for peace and truth. Thank you for your courage !!!!

Dear Jim,

I love you for posting these letters of support for Stockhausen. I wrote him a personal letter by regular mail today. He really needs all support he can get from us now, to fight off the sad consequences of the ill-willed reporter who caused so much harm. Keep posting the letters of support! Thank you!


I heard the news about 'Stockhausen and the WTC affair' in a German 'Kulturzeit' TV magazine. This is what I wrote to them afterwards.As you can see, I am not defending Stockhausen unconditionally. However I think that much harm has been done to him and that decent people should explain to others what Stockhausen really meant(e.g. by writing to newspapers). I am not blaming the 'Kulturzeit' journalist for what he said; obviously, he used the material he had. I only wanted him to try to understand Stockhausen's standpoint.

Dear Mr Scobel

Sorry for writing in English; I understand German perfectly but writing in English is easier with my computer. I must tell you I am very much dismayed by the way you presented the "Stockhausen and WTC" affair. I want to be clearly understood: I didn't like what Stockhausen said because I don't think that ten years of fanatical rehearsal and the performers' suicide are enough to evaluate the result as a work of art. Sometimes what is morally unacceptable may be beautiful (e.g. Leni Riefenstahl's film about Nazi Parteitag) but I don't find any aesthetic values in the recent terrorist attack. However, I am sure that his words must be understood in the context of what his Licht-operas are about.

Luzifer is characterised there as pure intelligence which doesn't know of love. According to what Stockhausen has been saying for a long time, Luzifer is an artist (like Michael and Eve - the other characters). This is how his words should be understood. I think that what Stockhausen said in Hamburg was totally out of place but your comment was below the acceptable journalistic standard, too. It is very easy to spread sensational news saying 'Stockhausen praised the WTC attack as a great work of art' - it is the kind of information that viewers and readers understand without thinking too much. However, it demands more time and more intellectual effort on their part to understand what the Licht operas are about. This is the reason why I think that what you said (and what I have read in much of the German press) has done much harm to the music, whose understanding should be
supported by the programmes like yours.

Please, read the Stockhausen's statement I am sending you with my letter.Whatever you may think of it, the Stockhausen's way of thinking should be presented to the viewers. I have no doubt he really prayed for the victims as he said. The role of the 'Kulturzeit' must not be seeking for sensation but to help people to understand complex cultural phenomena.

Best wishes

Dear Sir:

I simply had to send my support to Maestro Stockhausen. I read the article in the Calendar section of the L.A.Times this morning and am appalled at this controversy: I immediately understand what Mr. Stockhausen meant, but I'll focus on a few ironies, mundane as they are: there are a lot of flags waving about over here right now in the name of our precious Freedoms.

Freedom of speech is one of those, I believe. Any criticism from the US would be rather hypocritical in my opinion. The second is that in a review of the Toronto Film Festival in the same issue, the writer makes mention of the most common reaction to the much-televised visual images of the attack: 'it's just like a movie'. Or, performance. I'm not very lofty in matters artistic but even I grasp this much.


Dear Jim Stonebraker,

I was alerted to this terrible business by a student, who had only seen the news reports. I could not believe it to be true, and immediately went to your page, to find first the posting by Kathinka Pasveer, and a day later, from Professor Stockhausen himself.

I have been directing my students to your page, in order that they see first hand the composer's own words, and with the hope that they will learn something about checking first sources.

Karheinz Stockhausen's music was a formative experience for me, with such works as Gruppen, Momente and Kontacte informing my early musical experience. This recent terrible news has reminded me how revelatory this music was for me, and what joy and pleasure I have taken from more recent works.

I hope you will extend my best wishes, sympathy and support to the composer.


Andrew Mead

Thank you, James, for some sanity.

I first learned about St.'s remarks in Hamburg from postings to the internet list opera-l, to which I subscribe. I felt that I knew what St. was getting at, in a "postmodern", "allegorical" manner, and sent in a posting right away with these words:

I went to the website link and also readStockhausen's remarks, and was thinking of posting a similar response to the call for censorship of his works that we had just received. I agree with James' interpretation that I've quoted above, and his opinion, too. I might describe S's remarks as "postmodern", reflecting the artist's psychological stance on an event, interpreting it purely aesthetically, without regard to it's emotional or moral impact. This has become more and more common in the arts, since at least the middle of the 20th century. I was particularly reminded of the writings of William Burroughs, who was also greatly reviled back in the 1950s. Many people might not be able to empathize with this stance of many modern artists, not being able to separate themselves personally, emotionally, and morally from events like those of last week and view them strictly from an aesthetic or intellectual point of view. Some artists can do that, and without it we would probably be without much of the art of the last 50 years or more. It probably goes back at least to the Dada movement, or even to the late-19th century "decandence" movement, as exemplified by J.-K. Huysmans, author of Arebours, who lived 1848-1907. These issues are central to the concept of "modern" in the arts and the explosive impact of, for example, The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky, and Picasso's cubist works. Every person interested in any of the arts should consider this artistic stance, even if one comes to the personal conclusion that he or she cannot agree with it.


Houston, TX

I would like to voice my support for Stockhausen and to pass along the deepest appreciation and gratitude for his work.

When I was 20 and a student of the music school in Louisville,KY in 1980 I produced a "performance" of Hymnen outdoors in a secluded park atop a hill (beginning at twilight and ending in the night with a clear sky above) with 4 speakers spread some 30 meters apart. It was truly surreal and moving. My composition teacher, previously only exposed to Stockhausen in the dry white walls of academia, was in tears and hugged me at the end of the event. The audience was free to move about the hill area to experience the music. This was a major moment in my life and I felt I awakened many to Stockhausen's genius.

I know completely what he meant by his statements and feel the same. The tragedy was a surreal arch typical event and one that will change the world as no composition can hope to. But I believe music in its totality does provide the antidote if people listen.

Sincerely and in full support,
Michael Medley
Vista, CA USA

Dear Jim,

Yesterday, I posted following text to Google Discussion Group, and sent fax to Mr. Stockhausen.

Stockhausen's reply for my fax was "To Shuji Yamashita, Thank you!"

best wishes

Shuji Yamashita
Japanese Stockhausen Page


If Stockhausen said that it was "the greatest piece of art of MICHAEL" about the terrorism, then he should be taken to a psychiatric hospital. But he said "LUZIFER"...NO LOVE, NO GOD! ( In addition, MICHAEL is "WITH LOVE, WITH GOD".)

It is apparent that Stockhausen really HATEs such like terrorism. Even though terrorists advocate "Jihad ", Stockhausen does NOT recognise them as "WITH LOVE" nor "WITH GOD".

I think that it is a reason for metaphor of "the greatest piece of art of LUZIFER", high intelligences without LOVE, without GOD, even if terrorists insist on "Holy War" or any other lofty purposes .

For me, I am a webmaster of Japanese Stockhausen Website, it is very very clear that what Stockhausen wanted to say. Because I know the characters of LUZIFER in LICHT, and my understanding is as mentioned above.

However, journalist (and other people) who does not know the LUZIFER characters made misunderstanding, and he twisted Stockhausen's real intentions.

It is only a kind of rubbishly misreport , and it has no effect on my reliances on our century's greatest composer.

I am very sorry for my poor English.

I hope all of you understand what I really want to say.

GOD's with us,

Shuji Yamashita


I am really sad of what has happened to Karlheinz Stockhausen and the "disinformation" we can see everywhere...Could you tell him that I've understood what he wanted to say, I know his non-violence ? If I can do anything for him...

Sincerely yours,

Loïc Riffault "

I too was shocked to read press reports here in the U.K. about Stockhausen's comments and even more shocked to learn from the Stockhausen website that he has been deliberately and scurrilously misquoted. All those who know Stockhausen and his work will know that his heart lies with peace and creation not war and destruction. My only hope is that those reporters who would seek to inflame an already painful and dangerous situation in such a way will change their minds and start to work, with Stockhausen and other like-minded individuals, for a world where all beings may live in peace and harmony with one another.

Martin McDonald
Manchester, U.K.

Dear Karlheinz,

Just a short note of support for you after this ridiculous garbage in the press. It seems to me a horrible irony that friends and relations of mine that have never bothered to listen to your music, (but know of my fondness for it) now feel fit to get in touch with me and mention your name. They have read about it in a moronic tabloid "newspaper", I am loathe to use the word "news" in this context. I myself have been mis-quoted in very small run magazines about far more trivial matters, and that hurt me a lot. So I can only begin to imagine how frustrated this must make you feel.

Of course all our thoughts are with those that lost their lives in this awful atrocity.

Love and peace,

Steve Pittis

Dear Stockhausen,

I have been appalled by the stories flooding the press about your supposed statements regarding the terrorist attacks in New York.

Please be assured that nobody who knows you and your work will believe a word of it. Nobody who knows you and your work can ever forget the countless and eloquent statements you have made over the years deploring any form of violence and cruelty, whatever their source.

Nor could anyone who knows you forget the spontaneity and consistency and with which you have supported intelligence, consciousness and tolerance wherever you've encountered them, often putting yourself at risk.

I will never forget the way you once said, of a piece of music you did not admire, that it had "no love, no tenderness, no heaven"...

Your priorities have always been crystal clear. It is incomprehensible to me that they remain unrecognizable to some who ought to know better.



Dear Mr Stonebraker,

Thank you a lot for your statement. Times are horrible enough, we need not more lies like the reports about Stockhausen´s interview in Hamburg. But the real scandal is, that now are coming former students and colleagues who want obviously check old bills. Today in germany there are many statements from those people who spent a lot of time with Stockhausen... they know him and his work and his attitude towards terrorism and violence.

Let´s hope for better times for all people.

with best regards

Professor Stockhausen,

I am embarrassed and ashamed for my remarks to you, given that what you are saying is true. I should know better than to listen to the press and take everything they say literally. More often than not, statements about what other people have said are taken out of context and misinterpreted.

I sincerely apologize for my remarks, and I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive my outrageous accusations.


Austin, Texas

Dear Jim Stonebraker,

I am as outraged as you are concerning this vile act performed by a Johannes Schulz from the NDR, wherby he twisted Stockhausen's words in order to attack the Hamburg Festival of New Music. This whole affair is simply outrageous, and we must join together to do something about this! Even the Boston Globe is quoting the misquote!! Kathinka FAXED me this morning about pictures in the papers of the burning World Trade Centre towers with a photograph of a smiling Stockhausen put in between! HE SHOULD SUE!! People are acting stupid. If Stockhausen's comments had been quoted fully in context, it would have been clear what he was saying. But what this reporter has done is to perform his own act of terrorism!! We must do something. Can a petition be drafted against him whereby he must make a public apology to Stockhausen, or be fired?! Please let me know what you think. Sincerely, Mark

I have never visited this site before, but have done so this morning to find a way to send my support to Maestro Stockhausen, and my understanding as an American fan that he was terribly misquoted.

Asheville, NC, USA (but in New York since the day before the attacks)

Sehr geehrter Herr Stockhausen

der Vorfall, unter dem Sie und Ihre Musik zu leiden haben, hat mich sehr berührt. Ebenso wie es auf Ihrer web-site angesprochen wird, sehe ich ein absichtliches Missverständnis, auch wenn es m.E. dabei weniger um die Publikumsgeilheit von Journalisten geht als um folgendes: Kaum einer konnte sich dem ästhetischen Aspekt der Terroranschläge entziehen. Die Bilder, die uns am 11. 9. erreichten, die Choreographie der Anschläge, all das war voll der Faszination des Grauens. Doch sich diese Faszination einzugestehen, erzeugt angesichts des ungeheuren menschlichen Leidens natürlich Schuldbewußtsein. Dieses auf andere abzuladen, hat entlastende Funktion.

Für mein Teil hatte ich Ihre Äusserung, bevor ich etwas mehr über den Kontext erfahren konnte, dahingehend interpretiert, dass im Sinne von Kunst als Produktion von Bedeutung innerhalb eines vorausgesetzten Zeichensystems die Attentate durchaus als happening zu verstehen sind. Die Erzeugung von Verunsicherung durch die Zerstörung von Symbolen, von neuen Verstehenszusammenhängen durch das Vernichten von alten wurde als das Wesen von Kunst schon durch die Klavierzerschlagung von Paik Nam-june gesetzt.

Dadurch, dass Sie im gleichen Atemzug das Verbrecherische des Verbrechens festgehalten haben, sind für mich Ihre Äusserungen über den unsinnigen Verdacht der Mitleidslosigkeit oder gar der Unterstützung des Terrorismus erhaben.

Ich hoffe, dass die deutsche Öffentlichkeit rasch zu Besinnung kommen wird.
Mit respektvollen Grüssen Ihre


Dear Sirs,

I very much apologize to Karlheinz Stockhausen for my reproach concerning his putative statements regards the terroristic attack. I now realize that he has been mis-interpreted by the journalist.

Please forward this message to Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Best regards


I'm saddened by the ignorance of the people comdemning Mr. Stockhausen on base of a misquoted interview. By becoming ignorant and intolerant we become the perpetrators of these heignous crimes. My sympathies go out to Mr. Stockhausen and to all of the victims.



I'm in the USA, and heard the story about KS's statement and how the reporter lied. What is the name of the reporter, and what magazine does he work for?

I want to organize a web-based campaign to get him fired.


Dear Sir,
I can see from the statements made by Mister Stockhausen that he is a man with great clarity of mind. As most of us in the U.S. follow popular opinion as lemmings to the slaughter, there are few that are able to see this event in it's relation to the world and it's history. I applaud for mr. Stockhausen for his ability to see clearly the true implications of the event.



Hi Jim,

No, thanks for sending this to me MusicalAmerica.com article), I hadn't seen it, but it still looks like as you said, Stockhausen was responding allegorically to an allegorical/metaphorical question, and I can still see no indication he was condoning the WTC attack in any way.

The bottom line (which the press and others don't seem to want to hear) is his statements when asked to clarify what he meant. If he really meant his original statement in the way he is being accused of, he could simply stand by it. It is no act of cowardice, but simply being truthful, to clarify something that has been distorted by the press. You will also notice that Ligeti and Majella also replied negatively in the context of "If Stockhausen really meant that as presented by the press". I think her negative statement about Stockhausen being a coward by his "subsequent excuses", if it is also being reported accurately, is probably a knee-jerk emotional reaction. Anyone who is familiar with Stockhausen's writings, in which he describes the carnage he witnessed as a result of Hitler's facist regieme, etc., and who knows Stockhasen personally, understands his opposition to totalitarian states and terrorism. He even purposely usually avoids immediate rhythmic repetition in his music because of the Nazi propaganda music the German people were forced to listen to continually during that era.

I hope your opinion isn't being swayed by the further press statements and controversy.



Dear Jim,

it is horrible how Stockhausen could be misinterpreted in such a way. Of course, I have strongly defended Stockhausen on various message boards. Here is my reply to someone on the internet:

I know you don't like Stockhausen's music - that's your perfect right. However, this disliking should not lead you to an unreflected condemnation of Stockhausen as a person. It is clear that Stockhausen's comments were taken out of context (see the statement above).

You apparently don't know Stockhausen personally. I do, since summer 2000. And I was very surprised to not get to know the arrogant man he often seems to be, but an unusually cordial, warm-hearted and friendly person who really takes time for people. That impression was further confirmed by exchange of letters during the last year and seeing him again last summer.

If you dislike Stockhausen, your disliking is most probably based on the ignorance stemming from not knowing him personally.

As I said, if you don't like his music that is your personal taste. But don't let that personal taste guide you to an unreflected attitude. To what unreflected disliking can lead, is evident in the stupid hate crimes in the US against US muslim citizens (and even those who just seem to look middle-eastern). In light of all the undifferentiated hatred against muslims in America (which is based on ignorance and misinformation) we all (including me of course) should learn to be less easily judgemental than we currently are in our satisfied complacency - WTC should be a wake-up call.