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Kontakte by Karlheinz Stockhausen in Four Channels

Analysis Notes, October–November 2008, April 2009

Closing Remarks




I would like to thank Stockhausen Verlag for giving me permission several years ago to present recordings of audio examples of Kontakte in concert, and as “hall pick-ups” for later listening. The original plan was to present characteristic examples of this monumental work, which I tried to do on the first few occasions.

In time, it became impossible to find “excerpts” that did justice to the creative fountainhead that Kontakte remains to today. Students and colleagues asked for documentation and more detail. The version which is presented here is a signal example of communication to a wider audience and Stockhausen Verlag’s visionary understanding that such presentations being made widely available could do nothing but enhance the reception of this work.

Thanks to Concordia students Max Stein and Julian Stein for their assistance in preparing the images and for developing the design of this presentation, and jef chippewa for his overseeing the whole process of taking an unscripted spoken presentation into an exceptional web-integrated article.


Kevin Austin

Kevin Austin, composer, teacher, arts animator, theorist, lives in Montréal and teaches at Concordia University. His creative activities run from live electronic improvisation to work with dancers, visual artists, studio composition and acoustic compositions. Since 2002, he has returned to public composition and works in mixed forms (live instruments and fixed media), fixed media ea, and in MIDI-strations. Most of his work is anecdotal in nature, and his focus is on the rather small (miniatures), or the rather large, such as Kontakte or Joyce’s Ulysses. He hopes never to find a middle ground to put things in balance.

Max Stein and Julian Stein are undergraduate students in the Electroacoustic Studies program at Concordia University. They are founding members of the Concordia Electroacoustic Studies Student Association (CESSA) and the creators of the Montreal Sound Map, an interactive Google Maps-based archive of Montreal's soundscape.

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