Ying-Hsueh Chen plays at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the composer Xenakis
Ying-Hsueh Chen plays Xenakis

Photo: Malthe Folke Ivarsson

Xenakis 100 years

Tribute to the legendary composer Iannis Xenakis with JACK Quartet, Ying-Hsueh Chen and Maciej Nerkowski, among others.



  • Concret PH (1958) for electronics
  • Mikka (1972) for violin solo
  • Ikhoor (1978) for string trio
  • Bohor (1962) for electronics

The Queen's Hall

  • ST/4 (1956-62) for string quartet
  • Mikka »S« (1976) for violin solo
  • Tetras (1983) for string quartet
  • Psappha (1989) for solo percussion
  • Kassandra (1989) for baritone / psaltery and percussion

The legendary French-Greek composer Iannis Xenakis would have turned 100 this year, and the anniversary is celebrated in The Black Diamond and other places. On the occasion of his 100th anniversary, you can experience a series of concerts that let his music unfold in and play together with iconic architecture around Denmark - like in The Black Diamond. The concert series is entitled Ancestral Modernism, and the concept was created by percussionist, composer and performer Ying-Hsueh Chen, who herself has a great knowledge of Xenakis' music.

World-renowned musicians with expertise in Xenakis' music gather this evening to provide the wildest possible experience of his ground-breaking works. In addition to Ying-Hsueh Chen, you can experience the JACK Quartet and Maciej Nerkowski.

A radical composer

Iannis Xenakis was the radical composer who could not be contained. At the urging of his teacher in Paris, Olivier Messiaen, he began to consider how instrumental sound could be built, just as a structure is built without "cracks and seams" in the construction. He already had an educational background in music, ancient Greek, mathematics and physics and now also took architecture to heart. He worked for several years in Le Corbusier's studio, first as an engineer and later as a designer, specialising in complex architectural models. Xenakis's masterstroke as a composer was to translate these models into music.

Does this sound very "high-brow"? Behind all this construction thinking lies Xenakis' great idea:
"The listener must be grabbed and, whether he likes it or not, drawn into the path of the sound, without any preconditions..."

The concert begins in front of the Queen's Hall in the Diamond's Atrium with two of Xenakis' electronic works, adapted for the Diamond's 12-channel system by Wayne Siegel.

Xenakis’ Kassandra med Maciej Nerkowski og Ying-Hsueh Chen


JACK Quartet (US), string quartet

Maciej Nerkowski (PL), baritone and psaltery

Ying-Hsueh Chen (TW/DK), percussion

Wayne Siegel (US/DK), sound design

The concert has been created in collaboration with Ying-Hsueh Chen, Copenhagen Architecture Festival (CAFx) and ArtFREQ.

The concert is supported by the Danish Composers' Association, Koda Kultur, the Danish Tennis Foundation, Solistforeningen af 1921, the William Demant Foundation, the Knud Højgaards Foundation, and Art Music Denmark.

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