Hungarian composer György Ligeti died in Vienna today. (See obituary, Jam obituary, Wikipedia entry with many links.)

I can think of few composers who have been as inspiring and imaginative in their sound world as Maestro Ligeti. While he largely shunned electronic music production, his music for choir and orchestra challenges electronic and acoustic composers alike with its stunning timbres. If you’re looking for a different way of thinking about sound and form in your electronic work, whatever your genre, Ligeti is a good place to start. His life was equally remarkable, a Holocaust survivor who went on to become one of the great musical voices of the 20th Century. He will be sorely missed.

  • Its hard to understate the impact Ligeti had. His style of "orchestral colorism", using an orchestra or choir or both as a set of timbres rather than devices to play melodies with obvious harmonic relationships set the stage for so much electronic music that came later and shared his focus on timbre rather than melodic invention or harmonic revelation.

    At the very least, checkout his most famous works on the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack.

    Beautiful. His work isn't related directly to contemporary composers such as Arvo Part or Gorecki, but its hard to imagine their work existing in their known form without Ligeti's own efforts preceding them.

  • Like most composers who have worked with EA music, his acoustic music was forever changed by his early work in the studio at WDR. Ban Levy recently finished a dissertation on the three works completed there – an excellent work if you can get your hands on it.