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date: 20 August 2019

Scherchen(-Hsiao), Tonalocked

  • James R. Briscoe


(b Neuchâtel, March 12, 1938). French composer of Eurasian origin. She received training in traditional Chinese music, especially the pipa, from her mother, the composer Xiao Shuxian (Hsiao Shu-sien) in China, where she also studied literature and the other arts. Her father, the conductor Hermann Scherchen, introduced her to Western music. Later she studied with Henze at the Salzburg Mozarteum (1961–3), Schaeffer at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales, Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire (1963–5), and Ligeti in Vienna. She won the Prix de Rome in 1964, and later adopted French citizenship.

Since the 1980s, Scherchen has concentrated on music as an interactive art, synchronizing sound with lighting and live theatre. Scherchen emphasizes both the temporal and the sonorous aspects of music. Compositional innovation goes hand in hand with a concern for sound itself: in that way, her music reflects both her Asian and her Western heritage. Her music has gained wide acceptance, on the basis of both its technical innovation and its references to new worlds of sonority. She received the Italia Prize in ...

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