Karlheinz Stockhausen (22 August 1928 – 5 December 2007) was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Another critic calls him «one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music». He is known for his ground-breaking work in electronic music, aleatory (controlled chance) in serial composition, and musical spatialization.
Stockhausen wrote 370 individual works. He often departs radically from musical tradition and his work is influenced by Olivier Messiaen, Edgard Varèse, and Anton Webern, as well as by film and by painters such as Piet Mondrian and Paul Klee.
Stockhausen had a powerful influence not only on the electronic music development in 1950s and 1960s but also on some of famous rock, jazz musicians and composers.
Jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, Cecil Taylor, Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock, Yusef Lateef, and Anthony Braxton cite Stockhausen as an influence.
Stockhausen was influential within pop and rock music as well. Frank Zappa acknowledges Stockhausen in the liner notes of Freak Out!, his 1966 debut with the Mothers of Invention. Rick Wright and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd also acknowledge Stockhausen as an influence. San Francisco psychedelic groups Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead are said to have done the same; Stockhausen himself says the former band included students of Luciano Berio, and the Grateful Dead were «well orientated toward new music». Founding members of Cologne-based experimental band Can, Irmin Schmidt and Holger Czukay, both claim they studied with Stockhausen, and Schmidt is confirmed to have attended the 1965–66 Cologne Courses for New Music, though Czukay’s name does not appear anywhere in the list of registrants. German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk also say they studied with Stockhausen, and Icelandic vocalist Björk has acknowledged Stockhausen’s influence.
Hear some compositions of Karlheinz Stockhausen and interviews with him or watch some videos you can on: http://www.stockhausen.org/stockhausen_multimedia.html