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Roland Kayn

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When it comes to creative genius, Roland Kayn, born in Reutlingen (Germany) in 1933, might be the most unjustly neglected figure in contemporary music. From 1952 to 1955 he studied organ and composition at Stuttgart’s Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik, as well as scientific theory at the Technische Hochschule, undertaking further composition and analysis studies in Berlin with Boris Blacher and Josef Rufer from 1956 to 1958.

In that year he won the Best Foreign Work prize at the Kairazuwa Festival in Tokyo, and further awards followed in Italy in 1962 and 1964 for his orchestral compositions Vectors I and Schwingungen. Kayn’s discovery of electroacoustic sound synthesis occurred in 1953 at the mythic Westdeutscher Rundfunk Studios in Cologne, and by 1959 he’d had firsthand experience of studio work in Warsaw, Munich, Milan, Brussels and Utrecht. He freelanced in various radio stations from 1959 to 1963, when he was nominated director of New Music at Hamburg’s Norddeutscher Rundfunk.
In 1964 he was one of the co-founders, with Aldo Clementi and Franco Evangelisti, of the Gruppo Internazionale Nuova Consonanza, one of the first European ensembles mixing improvisation and live electronics, and in 1967 organised a simultaneous concert of works by 13 composers that included electronic, concrete, electro-instrumental, computer and cybernetic music, an event that reached its definitive form in Hamburg in 1970.

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