Kasemets, Udo (b. November 1919, Tallinn). Estonian-born Canadian composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, piano, and electroacoustic works that have been successfully performed across the world; he was one of the first to adopt the methods of John Cage.
Mr. Kasemets received his music training at the Tallinn Conservatory and the Akademie der Musik in Stuttgart. In 1950, he attended the Kranichstein Institut für neue Musik in Darmstadt and was exposed to teachings by Ernst Krenek, Hermann Scherchen and Edgard Varèse. A year later, he immigrated to Canada and in 1957, became a Canadian citizen.
During the 1950s, Mr. Kasemets was active in Toronto and Hamilton as a composer, conductor, lecturer, pianist, teacher, and writer. In 1962-63, he organized Toronto's first new music series, entitled Men, Minds and Music and followed it up in 1965 with the establishment of the Isaacs Gallery Mixed Media Concerts. He continued in 1968 by planning and directing the first Toronto Festival of Arts and Technology entitled SightSoundSystems and during the late 1960s, he founded and edited a new music publication series, Canavangard, while lecturing, performing and traveling in Canada and the USA.
In 1971, Mr. Kasemets joined the Faculty of the Department of Experimental Art at the Ontario College of Art where he taught until retiring in 1987, after which he was appointed Visiting Lecturer Emeritus; today, he works as a free-lance composer.
For Mr. Kasemets, the most significant influences have come from diverse sources, including composers, inventors, thinkers, visual artists, and writers. The Chinese book I Ching plays a major role in the structuring of most of his more recent works.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Street address: Mr. Udo Kasemets, 118-70 Delisle Ave., Toronto, ON M4V 1S7, Canada
Telephone: 416 929 5849
SELECT LIST OF WORKS, PRE-1960 (or slightly beyond, if in old style)
ORCHESTRAL: Recitative and Rondino, string orchestra, 1954; Concerto, violin, orchestra, 1957; Sinfonietta, 1959; Passacaglia, flute, violin, orchestra, 1959
CHAMBER MUSIC: Recitative and Fugue, 2 celli, 1955; Quintet, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1957; Sonata concertante, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1957; 1 + 1, 2 recorders, 1964 (arrangement of work for piano, 1960)
CHORAL: Two Songs, male chorus, 1957
VOCAL: Visions, speaker, orchestra, 1953; Poetic Suite, soprano, piano, string orchestra, 1954; The Thousand Nights and One Night, voice, piano, 1954; Canciones, voice, flute, guitar, 1956; Two Symphonic Songs, voice, piano, 1956; Three Songs from Atlantic Provinces, voice, piano, 1950s; Three Miniatures, voice, piano, 1960; Five Songs for Children, voice, piano, 1964
PIANO: Six Preludes, 1952; 1 + 1, 1960 (also arranged for 2 recorders, 1964)
SELECT LIST OF WORKS, POST-1960 (note that the composer wishes for these not to be categorized, as it would be difficult to do so, but instead listed only chronologically)
1960s: Haiku (text from classical Japanese poems [translated by Harold Henderson]), voice, flute, cello, piano, 1961; Squares, piano 4 hands, 1962; 5x5, 2 pianos (both + percussion), 1963; Communications (text by E.E. Cummings), any voice(s), speaker(s), actor(s), dancer(s), any player(s), 1963; Trigon, 1/3/9/27 players, 1963; Cumulus, any 1 player/ensemble, 2 tapes, 1963-64; Timepiece, 1 player, 1964; Cascando, any 1 or more players, 1965; Calceolaria, any number of players, 1966; Contactics, any number of players, audience/dancers, 1966; Variations (on Variations [on Variations]), voice, any player, tape system, 1966; Octode, tape, 1967; Octagonal Octet and/or Ode, any 1-8 players, 1967; Tt, computer, 1968; Synergetic, tape, 1969; Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The Sixth Moon, piano, 1969
1970s: Guitarmusic for John Cage, any number of guitars, conductor (using projectors), 1975; Elaborations on Erratum musical of Marcel Duchamp, any ensemble, 1975; Rites of Rights No. 1, percussion ensemble, 1977; In Support of Justice Thomas Berger: (Rites of Rights No. 2), any ensemble, 1977; David and David and Larry and James, 4 players (voices, instruments, synthesizers, microphones, mixers, amplifiers, loudspeakers), tape, delay system ad libitum, 1977; Whole Earth Music, 64 tapes, 1978
1980s: Celestial Timescapes, computer, tape, 1980 (may be performed with Zodiacanons and Ragtime: an Intercultural Timescape); Zodiacanons, 1-12 players on chromatically-tuned instruments, 1980 (may be performed with Celestial Timescapes); Ragtime: an Intercultural Timescape, Asian/Indian ensemble, European/North American ensemble, 1981 (may be performed with Celestial Timescapes); Earthspin: a Timescape for Gordon Monahan, piano, tape, 1982; Counterbomb Renga (text by Jonathan Shell), 1982-83 (collaboration between more than 100 musicians and poets in Canada and the USA); conNotations, any ensemble, 1983; lOOking fOr jacksOn maclOw in the cOncise OxfOrd dictiOnary (pOemusic), speaker, organ, vocal/instrumental ostinato ad libitum, 1983; Yi Jing Jitterbug: 50 Hz Octet, 8 winds/bowed strings, 1984; Yi Jing Jitterbug: Soloctet, wind/bowed string player, 8 tapes, 1984; 4-D I Ching, 16 tapes, 1984 (any one of the 4096 combinations in which the tapes may be performed separately arranged as What do You have to Say about This?, 1987-88); Piece for Peace (texts by Mahatma Gandhi, Lao-tzu, Albert Einstein, Black Elk), chanting voices, speaking voices, any number of sustained-tone instruments, 1985; Tangovariables on the word Tango, piano, 1986; Geo(sono)scope (sound installation, after R. Buckminster Fuller), 1986; Vertical Music: In remembrance of Morton Feldman, any 7 players, 1987 (also arranged for 2 pianos, 1987); Vertical Taps for Morty, snare drum, 1987; Marce(ntennia)l Circus C(ag)elebrating Duchamp (text by John Cage), 1987; Duchampera (music theatre work, text by the composer, after Marcel Duchamp), voices, speakers, actors, piano, glass ensemble, tape, lights, 1987; Spectrascapes (sound installation), 1987-88 (a mix of different possibilities of the tape arranged as Studies for Spectrascapes, 1987-88); Counterpoints for Philip Corner, any ensemble, 1988; Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The First Moon, columbine, amaranth, 1988; Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The Second Moon, amplified cello, 1988; Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The Third Moon, percussion, 1988; Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The Fourth Moon, clarinets (1 player), 1988; Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The Fifth Moon, gamelan ensemble, 1988; Calendar Round: Kaisernietzsche, guitar, percussion, 1989; Calendar Round: Megalcides, speaker, tape, 1989
1990s: Calendar Round: Malcgolmstein, violin, 1990; The Eight Houses of the I Ching, string quartet, 1990 (also arranged for 12 strings, 1993); Marklewake, more than 1 voice, more than 1 player, 1990; 'Harmonices Mundi' of Johannes Kepler, violin, tape, 1990; Hexagram No. 16, piano, 8 sine-wave oscillators, mixers, loudspeakers, 1990; Lun(h)armonics, 6 sine-wave oscillators, mixers, loudspeakers, 1990; Canonic Creationchants, high voices, 1991 (may be performed with Timetrip to Big Bang, Big Bang and Back); Requiem Renga, small orchestra (2 percussion, 15 strings), 1992; Palestrina on Devil's Staircase, 2 voices, 3 violins, 3 celli, 1993; Timetrip to Big Bang, Big Bang and Back, tape, 1994 (may be performed with Creationchants); Pythagoras Tree, piano, 1994; 3/7 D’un Morceau en Forme de Poire, piano, 1995; Feigenbaum Cascades, piano, 1995; Music of the First Eleven Primes, piano, 1995; …FUTURE is PAST is NOW is…, 4-7 players, 1996; OPazERA (trans[form]l[iter]ation, text by Octavio Paz), 1996-97 (cumulative work; all sections may be performed separately: John Cage/Octavio Paz Conjunction, voice, piano, 1996; Joan Miró/Octavio Paz Conjunction, speaker, percussion, slides, video, 1996; The Constellation of Virgo, voice, piano, vibraphone, marimba, 1996; Sunstone, voice, pianoharp, percussion, slides, video, 1996; Blanco, female voice, male voice, 2 pianos, percussion, 1997; OPJreSCTnga, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 1997; Homage and Desecrations, voice, speaker, piano, prepared piano, percussion, 1997); fraCtal fibONaCciERTO, piano, small orchestra (18 players), 1997; Mus(ost)ic for Barbara, piano, 1997; …and sounds sink back into silence (text by Martin Bartlett), voice, piano, 1997; On mere being (text by Wallace Stevens), voice, piano, 1997; Stanstars, piano, 1997; SoUNdFLOWER Triplet, voice, piano, 1998; 777, large orchestra (70 players), 1998; Ariannaira (scenario, after Jorge Luis Borges, Ovid, Claudio Monteverdi), voice-speaker, piano, visuals ad libitum, 1999 (one section, The House of Daedalus, piano, may be performed separately); Echoes of a Life: Chronologue, piano, 1999; QM for MC: Quantumatrix for Merce Cunningham, speaker, piano, 1999; Numbers/Digits, speaker, piano, 1999
2000s: Airs and Mirrors of Robert Creeley, voice, piano, 1997-2000; from 'Useful Knowledge' (text by Gertrude Stein), speaker, piano, 1999-2000 (two sections, Music of the First Hundred Natural Numbers, piano, 1999; BiB - Business in Baltimore, piano, 2000, may be performed separately); STiME: SpaceTiMemoryEchoes (text by James Joyce), 2000 (cumulative work; all sections may be performed separately: 43'33", any voice/player [playing in 4 spaces]; 4'33"2, any 4 voices/players [playing in 1 space]; 4'33" fractals, any voice[s]/player[s]; 4'33" PrimeTimeFractals, any voice[s]/player[s]; [4 x 4]'33" Sirens, any number of speakers, any number of players); Diaries and Letters of Ruth Crawford Seeger, 2 speakers, any number of players, 2000; Linda in Agnes, Agnes in Linda, any number of speakers, any number of players, 2001; musiXenia (musical gift giving/receiving ceremony), 6-10 players, 2001; LSP! (remembering Michael J. Baker), voice, piano, 2001; Signs (text by Robert Creeley), 2 speakers, any 2 players, 2001; F i r e l i n e - music of the first thirteen primes (text by David Libeskind), voice, piano, 2001; AL and alpha/beta - Algorithms and Alphabets: A Symphosium, 2 voices, any 4 players, 2001; E and T S T and B - Einstein and Tagore seeking Truth and Beauty, 2 voices, any 4 players, 2001; thousand and one thunderletters, piano, 2001; Calendar Round: Rixax, percussion, 2001; AQM - Anarchart with Quantumandala, 1998- (cumulative work; all sections may be performed separately: QM 8x11+11x8, piano, 1998; QM 4x7x4, violin, 1998; QQ - Quantumquotes with MM - Musicmandala, speaker, piano, 1998; QM 7x4x7, viola, 1999; QM 4x7+7x4, cello, 1999; QM 4x13x4, marimba, 1999; QM 4x9=6x6, vibraphone, 1999; QM 2x13+13x2, accordion, 2000; QM 2x13x2 - Anarchy Really Does Have a Future, voice-speaker, 2000; AQ - Anarchquotes, speaker, 1998-)
(Last updated on August 26, 2002)