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Last Updated: Monday, 12 June 2006, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Influential composer Ligeti dies
Gyorgy Ligeti
Gyrogy Ligeti caused a sensation with his avant garde approach
Austrian composer Gyorgy Ligeti, whose music appeared in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, has died aged 83.

He was known for his avant garde compositions, including the 1962 piece Poeme Symphonique, which is played on 100 metronomes.

His most famous works are those used in the Stanley Kubrick film, including Atmospheres and Lux Aeterna.

Ligeti was born in Romania in 1923 to Hungarian parents, and later adopted Austrian citizenship.

He began studying music at the conservatory in Cluj, Romania, in 1941 and continued his studies in Budapest.

In 1943 he was arrested and, because he was Jewish, was sentenced to forced labour for the rest of the Second World War.

Although Ligeti survived, the war claimed several members of his family - including his brother and his father.


After his release at the end of the war, he returned to Hungary, where he taught music at the Liszt Academy.

His musical ambitions were constrained by Hungary's communist regime, with the result that much of his work from this period was based on folk music.

Following the 1956 uprising, Ligeti fled Hungary, settling in Vienna, Austria.

Here, he came into contact with avant garde composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Gottfried Michael Koenig.

After this time, his writing became more adventurous and playful - often challenging the conventions of music and performance.

Ligeti's 1961 work, Future of Music - A Collective Composition, consists of the composer looking at the audience from the stage, and the audience's reaction.

He wrote in a variety of styles, including chamber music, opera and electronic music.

In 2004, he was awarded Sweden's prestigious Polar Music prize, and judges praised him for "stretching the boundaries of the musically conceivable".

Ligeti is survived by his wife, Vera, and a son, Lukas, a percussionist who lives in New York.

Obituary: Gyorgy Ligeti
12 Jun 06 |  Entertainment
Polar prize salutes music legends
16 Oct 03 |  Entertainment

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