"Artistic freedom means being free of all sorts of blinders, even those of 'modernity.'"
Working without blinders, György Ligeti (1923-2006) was engaged like no other contemporary composer with realities that were distance in both time and space: with important works in the whole of Europe's musical history just as much as with the music of non-European peoples, especially from southeast Asia and Africa. To this gaze beyond time and space corresponds a gaze beyond the borders of his own métier: toward literature and painting as well as to various fields within the natural sciences. In doing so he was not concerned with simply adopting what he had encountered. After he had researched the phenomena in detail, he fused the stimuli he had absorbed in a process of "transculturation" into unmistakably Ligetian material.
György Ligeti travelled a long road: from Romanian folk music and the tonal language of his fellow countryman Béla Bartók to his own cosmos of sounds. The mentor of a whole generation of composers, he wanted to "fuse the fear of death with laughter".
György Ligeti died on 12 June 2006 in Vienna.
Further information: www.gyoergy-ligeti.de