Research seminar: ‘Interpretation and Performance Practice in Early Electronic Music’

Wednesday 2 November 2016, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr Sean Williams (University of Kent)

Early electronic music composed by Karlheinz Stockhausen and others at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk Studio for Electronic Music was made using a combination of laboratory equipment and custom designed instruments, and was often made using scores that resembled technical instructions rather than traditional notation.

Using ethnographic, archival, and practice-led methods, I have recreated some of this early music by making new realizations using period equipment. Using Stockhausen’s “Studie II” and “Gesang der Ju╠łnglinge”, and Gottfried Michael Koenig’s “Funktion” series as case studies, I will show how interpretation and performance practice feature in these kind of pieces, and how an examination of these practices can inform contemporary practice.


Sean Williams is a practice-led researcher specializing in historic and contemporary electronic music performance practice. Research includes sound recording, and building analogue and digital electronic instruments for historic and contemporary performances. His group Grey Area has recently performed music by group members, Hugh Davies, Christian Wolff and Karlheinz Stockhausen. He is an associate lecturer at the University of Kent and will be taking up a post as lecturer at the Open University in 2017. 

Location: Sally Baldwin D Block - I/D/003