German Composer Stockhausen Apologizes
The Associated Press
Sep 19 2001 1:27PM
HAMBURG, Germany (AP)—German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen apologized for calling last week’s attacks on the United States a “work of art”—words that prompted the cancelation of four concerts in this northern city.
The 73-year-old Stockhausen, one of Germany’s best-known postwar composers, had described the attacks as “the greatest work of art one can imagine.”
“That minds accomplish in one act something that we in music can’t dream of, that people rehearse like mad for 10 years—totally fanatically—for a concert and then die—that’s the greatest work of art there is in the entire cosmos,” he said Sunday.
Organizers of a music festival in Hamburg promptly canceled four concerts of Stockhausen’s music.
The composer has since apologized for the comments, which he made Sunday during a press conference, Hamburg’s top culture official Christina Weiss said Tuesday.
Stockhausen told Hamburg officials he meant to compare the attacks to “a production of the devil, Lucifer’s work of art,” said culture department spokesman Ingo Mix.
“If anyone feels hurt by what I said at the press conference, I ask their forgiveness, because I have never felt or thought what was read into my words,” the composer said, according to Weiss.
However, festival organizers still consider staging Stockhausen’s music inappropriate in view of his “unconsidered verbal gaffes,” Weiss said. The music festival itself will continue.
Stockhausen gained fame through his avant-garde works in the 1960s and 70s. He later moved to huge music theater and other projects, some involving military equipment, that have been less popular.