A Timeline History of 20th Century Classical and Electronic Music

     The below timeline of contemporary classical music was first inspired from Paul Griffiths' excellent book Modern Music A Concise History, which covers the years 1903 to 1988.  I subsequently added many more entries based on various other sources (see links at bottom) and on personal taste (the focus of this timeline is on "innovation", as opposed to popular works, thus many "famous" repertoire works are not listed).  The organization of entries within each year is generally Stockhausen's works first, followed by acoustic works, acoustic and electronic ensembles, tape/electronic works, performance art, and finally "miscellaneous".

     Griffiths' more recent book Modern Music and After, 3rd Edition (also superb) lists additional works going up to 2010.  Since I personally am not as familiar with the more recent era, from 1988 to 2010 the listing at this point includes all of the works cited in Griffiths' book "unedited" (comments and probably some editing added as I become more familiar with these works).  An initial version of this timeline didn't include some of the more obscure electronic music pioneers, so now it has been updated to include all of the works cited in David Dunn's brilliant essay History of Electronic Music Pioneers (which unfortunately only covers up to 1970).  Again, not an expert here myself on this field, but worth listing for further exploration in the future (an earlier version of this timeline without the electronic music entries can be found here).  In any case, this is a "work in progress"...

     More detail on the works of Karlheinz Stockhausen (who do know pretty well) can be found here.

     To look for a specific year, composer, or work, use "CTRL-F" (find) and "CTRL-G" (find next) to fast navigate. Also, every entry is formatted so that you can highlight a composer/work and right click on it to open a menu which will allow you to do a quick Google/Bing search (taking you to a YouTube clip, Wikipedia entry, etc...).

1920  -  1940  -  1960 1980  -  2000

PRE-
LUDE
  • 1804: Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica"), transcends Classical sonata form by introducing an extra theme subject in the development section (as well as a bizarre "pre-echo" before the recapitulation), signalling the beginning of the path to "modern music"
  • 1865: Richard Wagner: "Tristan and Isolde", opera, pushes tonal harmony into new realms
  • 1888: Erik Satie: "Gymnopédies", for piano, Satie playfully defies traditional form and harmony using humor, and this work foreshadows "ambient music" in its innocuousness
  • Percy Grainger conceives of "Free Music" which is not constrained by Western equal tempered tuning or rhythmic meter.
  • 1894: Claude Debussy: "Prelude a L'apres-midi d'un faune", for orchestra, (premiere), ambiguous harmony leads to multiple keys, has non-traditional form (theme is embellished as a fragments in an improvisation), orchestration (coloring) is an integral element
  • 1896: Richard Strauss: "Also sprach Zarathustra", uses symphonic poems to derive form, paints narratives
  • 1899: Arnold Schoenberg: "Verklärte Nacht"/"Transfigured Night", string sextet, tonal with chromatic elements, still uses classical form
  • 1900: Schoenberg: "Gurre-Lieder" (completed 1911), cantata, chromatic but still basically influenced by Wagner and the Romantic style (in 1903 Mahler's music would influence the newer sections) 
  • Gustav Mahler writes mostly tonal symphonies which are based on psychological confessions, using dynamics to shape the form structure.  He uses exotic instruments to create a more worldly atmosphere.
  • 1901: Maurice Ravel: "Jeax d'eau" (Water Games), for piano, impressionistic, uses extended chords, bitonal harmony and sliding chromaticism to blend melody and harmony
  • 1902: Debussy: "Pelléas et Mélisande" (opera, mostly completed 1895), whole tone and modal scales suggesting states of mind
  • 1902: Charles Ives: 2nd Symphony (1st version), prefigures American Neo-Romanticism by drawing on popular hymns and tunes (including "Camptown Races")
1903
  • Debussy: "Pagodes" (from "Estampes"), piano work, uses oriental scales and rhythms
  • Ravel: String Quartet, uses odd time signatures (5/8 in the last movement)
  • Satie: "Trois morceaux en form de poire"/"Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear" for piano duo
1904
  • Béla Bartók first begins transcribing Magyar and other folk songs (and continues for the next 15 years) in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, N. Africa and Turkey.  Though initially influenced by R. Strauss and Debussy, these folk studies eventually provide Bartók with a way to transcend traditional harmony (church modes, pentatonic scales, etc..., enigmatic rhythm changes).  This would be a different path than Schoenberg's later serial (dodecaphonic) approach.  Zoltán Kodály also collects Hungarian folk recordings, independently (at first).
  • Schoenberg takes on Anton Webern and Alban Berg as students.
1905
  • Debussy: "La Mer", for orchestra, (premiere), has a huge influence on 20th Century form and expressionistic orchestration, uses pentatonic, octatonic, modal and chromatic scales
  • Max Reger and Ferruccio Busoni address chromaticism through Baroque counterpoint. 
  • Many composers during the 20th century continue the tonal music tradition in the guise of Neo-Romanticism: 
    • Edward Elgar (1857-1934), 
    • Frederick Delius (1862-1934), 
    • Alexander Glazunov(1865-1935),
    • Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), 
    • Hans Pfitzner (1869-1949), 
    • Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958),  
    • Frank Bridge (1879-1941),
    • John Ireland (1879-1962),
    • Arnold Bax (1883-1953), 
    • Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), 
    • Arthur Bliss (1891-1975), 
    • Erich Wolgang Korngold (1897-1957),
    • Edmund Rubbra (1901-86),
    • William Walton (1902-83), 
    • Aram Khachaturian (1903-78),
    • Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-87), 
    • Michael Tippett (1905-98),
    • Samuel Barber (1910-81), 
    • Benjamin Britten (1913-76), 
    • Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006),
    • Hans Werner Henze (also integrates atonality and jazz, 1926-2012), etc...
1906
  • Schoenberg: "Chamber Symphony No. 1", uses harmony based on 4ths instead of the traditional major/minor 3rds.
  • Charles Ives: "Central Park in the Dark" (1st ver.), a polytonal symphonic sound portrait designed to evoke an environment from the past (nature, a fire engine, casino, runaway cab horse, street musicians, etc)
  • Thaddeus Cahill invents the Telharmonium (1st version 1900), the first music synthesizer (weighing 200 tons)
1907
  • Ravel: "L'heure espagnole", opera, uses Spanish imagery
  • "Sketch Of A New Aesthetic Of Music" published by Busoni, proposes the necessity for an expansion of the chromatic scale and new (possibly electrical) instruments to realize it
1908
  • Schoenberg: String Quartet 2, Schoenberg fully embraces atonality in the final 2 movements of this Quartet (a guest soprano sings, "I breathe the air of other planets..." in the previous movement).
  • Some other composers also arrive at atonality, but not through Schoenberg's influence (Varèse, Ives, Cowell, Carl Ruggles, Nikolay Roslavets, Roger Sessions, etc...) 
  • Some composers approach atonality, but never quite make the complete leap:
    • Gustav Mahler, 
    • Jean Sibelius, 
    • Richard Strauss, 
    • Carl Nielsen, 
    • Karl A. Hartmann,
    • Karol Szymanowski, 
    • Lennox Berkeley,
    • Ernest Bloch,
    • Alexander Scriabin, etc...).  
  • Debussy: "Golliwogg's Cakewalk" (from "Children's Corner"), for piano, uses elements from jazz ragtime.
  • Bartók: "14 Bagatelles", for piano, influenced by Debussy, leading further away from the influence of Strauss (and Romanticism)
  • Camille Saint-Saëns: "L'assassinat du duc de Guise", for orchestra, one of the first film scores (the 1st is Nathaniel D. Mann's "The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays", from just 4 months earlier) 
  • Strauss: "Elektra", opera, stretches tonal harmony
1909
  • Schoenberg: "Three Piano Pieces, Op. 11", first totally atonal work, but uses dramatic form (classical/epic form) 
  • Schoenberg: "Book of the Hanging Gardens" (begun 1908), for voice and piano, uses lyric form
  • Schoenberg: "Five Orchestral Pieces Op. 16", 3rd movement "Klangfarbenmelodie" creates a "sound color melody" by using changing orchestrating on slow, shifting chords without much harmonic motion
  • Schoenberg: "Erwartung", opera
  • Anton Webern: "5 Lieder from "Der siebente Ring" by S. George, Op. 3", follows Schoenberg into atonality with 14 songs based on poems of Stefan George
  • Bartók : String Quartet 1, chromatic, but Straussian
  • Kodály: String Quartet 1, captures Hungarian folk melody
  • Isaac Albéniz: "Iberia" (begun 1905), for piano, uses Spanish (Andalusian) impressionism (also Enrique Granados, "Tonadillas al estilo antiguo", voice/piano, 1910, and Joaquín Turina, "Danzas fantásticas", piano/orchestra, 1919)
  • Mahler: "Das Lied von der Erde", symphonic work with vocal soloists, probably considered Mahler's most important work
1910
  • Debussy: "Preludes, Book 1", for piano
  • Webern: 6 Orchestral Pieces, Op.6, influenced by both Schoenberg and Mahler
  • Alban Berg: "Vier Lieder", Op. 2, begins to approach extreme chromaticism
  • Igor Stravinsky: "The Firebird", ballet, blends Russian Romanticism with bursts of primitivism and exotic melodicism
  • Alexander Scriabin: "Prometheus: The Poem of Fire", for piano, organ, choir and orchestra, uses his "mystic chord" and accompanied by a "color organ"
  • Scott Joplin: "Treemonisha", opera, folk and ragtime elements
1911
  • Schoenberg: "Pierrot Lunaire", for soprano and 5 players, notates pitches for a soprano using sprechstimme ("speech-song"), where notes are immediately abandoned as they rise or fall away.  It is written with a "light, ironic satirical tone" to show that atonal music was not all "disturbing feelings" (tho it still has elements of isolation, violence, glee and nostalgia).  The form revisits counterpoint.
  • Bartók: "Duke Bluebeard's Castle", uses Straussian orchestration but Hungarian melodies and rhythms, ballad form
  • Bartók: "Allegro Barbaro", for piano, uses folk elements but in a driving, propulsive manner ("Primitivism")
  • Stravinsky: "Petrushka", uses polyrhythms and bitonality/polytonality (more than 1 key at once, C and F# Major).  Many others also use this technique: Charles Ives ("Psalm 67", 1894-1902), Sergei Prokofiev ("Sarcasms for piano", 1912), Darius Milhaud (Saudados do Brazil", 1920)
  • Ravel: "Daphnis et Chloe", ballet, uses classical Greek imagery
1912
  • Henry Cowell: "The Tides of Manaunaun", presents piano clusters for the 1st time, also used in "Adventures in Harmony"
  • Stravinsky: "Rite of Spring" (premieres to a riot in 1913), explores advanced asymmetrical rhythm (folk-inspired "additive rhythm"), free meter, cell structures, etc…  uses polytonal folk music as a melodic basis.  This work is sometimes considered an example of "Primitivism".  Along with Debussy's "La Mer", "Rite of Spring" is probably the most influential symphonic work of the 20th century.
1913
  • Debussy: "Préludes, Book 2" (begun 1912), for piano, continues to explore harmony using exotic modes and scales, makes his atonality more "palatable"
  • Debussy: "Jeux", for orchestra, almost atonal in places, abandons classical form by continually making sudden changes in structure reminiscent of a game of tennis (total emancipation from consecutive development).  This evolution in form was first begun in" Prelude a L'apres-midi d'un faune" and "Jeux de vagues" (from "La Mer")).  The premiere is just days before Stravinsky's equally influential "Rite of Spring".
  • Webern: "6 Bagatelles for String Quartet", atonal, concise, haiku-like.  Breaths of sound or subtle ostinatos tend towards timelessness (in stark contrast to Stravinsky's motivic rhythms)
  • Webern: "Five Pieces for Orchestra" Op.10
  • Grainger: "Random Round" (begun 1912), explores indeterminate form.
  • Luigi Russolo: "The Art of Noises" ("L'Arte dei Rumori") published, Futurist manifesto arguing for acceptance of noise as music, predicts electronic music
1914
  • Ives: "Three Places in New England" (begun 1911, sketches from 1903), features collaged genre elements (marches, popular songs, dance music and hymns), particularly in the 2nd movement ("Putnam's Camp, Redding, Connecticut"), which includes "Yankee Doodle", "The British Grenadiers" and John Philip Sousa's "Semper Fidelis" march.
  • Satie: "Sports et Divertissements", short pieces for piano
  • Russolo: "Risveglio di una città (Awakening of a City)", "Convegno d'aeroplani e d'automobili (The Meeting of Aeroplanes and Automobiles)", for Intonarumori.  Russolo exhibits his "Intonarumori" noise machines in London.
  • World War I begins
1915
  • Berg: "3 Orchestral Pieces", chromatic, but in between Schoenberg and Mahler
  • Ives: Piano Sonata 2: "Concord Sonata", for piano (begun 1911)
  • Ives: "String Quartet No.2, for 4 men--who converse, discuss, argue (in re: 'Politick', fight, shake hands, shut up) --then walk up the mountain side to view the firmament!"
  • Manual de Falla: "Nights in the Gardens of Spain", piano and orchestra, influenced by Debussy and the Paris music scene
  • Sergei Prokofiev: "Scythian Suite" for orchestra, Primitivism style, inspired by Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring"
  • Kodály: "Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8",  blends Hungarian folk elements with modern instrumental technique, including scordatura (alternate tunings)
  • Microtonal music becomes more popular for exploration:
    • Alois Hába ("Suite for String Orchestra", 1917), 
    • Charles Ives ("Three Quarter Tone Pieces for Two Pianos", 1923-24), 
    • Ernst Bloch ("Piano Quintet 1", 1923),
    • Alban Berg ("Chamber Concerto, 1925), 
    • Julian Carrillo ("Bosquejos for String Quartet", 1926), 
    • Ivan Vishnegradsky, 
    • Aaron Copland ("Vitebsk", 1929), 
    • Bartok (Violin Concerto 2, 1937), 
    • Arseny Avraamov ("The Universal System of Tones", 1927), etc...
1916
  • Cowell: "Dynamic Motion", for piano, further explores tone clusters
  • Gustav Holst: "The Planets" (begun 1914), for orchestra, along with Debussy's "La Mer", provides a template for 20th Century film music, most notably John Williams' "Star Wars" scores.  The 1st section, "Mars" is in 5/4 and bitonal.  The "Neptune" movement features a hidden off-stage female choir.  Also considered a work of Primitivism. 
  • Stravinsky: "Renard" (begun 1915), chamber opera-ballet ("burlesque in song and dance"), uses a Russian folk tale as inspiration
  • Leoš Janáček: "Jenůfa", opera, draws from Czech folk music and Moravian speech rhythms (much like Bartók did with Hungarian folk music)
1917
  • Bartók: String Quartet 2, the 2nd movement is influenced by N. African folk music
  • Bartók: "The Wooden Prince", ballet
  • Satie: "Furniture Music", various small ensembles, Dadaist influence, foreshadows "muzak"
  • Satie: "Parade", ballet, scenario by Jean Cocteau, set and costumes by Picasso, has some ragtime and other popular elements, prompts the term "surrealism"
  • Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1, the "Classical Symphony", foreshadows Neoclassicism
1918
  • Stravinsky: "The Soldier's Tale", operetta, originates from Russian folk stories, includes parodies of popular dance forms (ragtime, tango, etc...), early Neoclassicism.
  • Stravinsky: "Rag-Time", for piano, or 11 players (extract from "The Soldier's Tale"), and "Piano-rag-music", for piano, these jazz tendencies will also eventually lead to Neoclassicism.
  • World War I ends.  Death of Claude Debussy.
1919
  • Bartók: "The Miraculous Mandarin" (begun 1918, rev. 1925), ballet, influenced by the primitivism of the "Rite of Spring" (as well as Schoenberg and Strauss)
  • Falla: "The Three-Cornered Hat", ballet, London premiere has set and costumes by Picasso.  Returning to Spain, Falla finds his own (Spanish folk) voice, but still with some influence from Stravinsky.
  • Prokofiev: "The Love for Three Oranges", opera, has elements of Neoclassicism (musical satires)
  • Francis Poulenc: "Cocardes", voice and piano, song cycle setting Jean Cocteau's text
  • Edward Elgar: "Cello Concerto", probably the most famous cello concerto of the 20th-century
  • Ravel: "Le Tombeau de Couperin", for piano, approaches Neoclassicism, based on a French Baroque suite.  Ravel's later works are further influenced by Neoclassicism.
  • Cowell: "Quartet Euphometric" (begun 1916), string quartet, expresses frequencies as rhythms
  • Erwin Schulhoff: "Fünf Pittoresken, 3rd part: In futurum", piano, the first "silent" movement of a work written in the 20th Century, consisting only of a series of rests (preceded in 1897 by Alphonse Allais' silent "Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Great Deaf Man").
  • Schulhoff: "Sonata Erotica for female voice solo", Dada-inspired, a soprano spends several minutes faking a carefully notated orgasm
1920
  • Stravinsky: "Symphonies of Wind Instruments", 24 wind and brass players, explores sudden changes in unrelated textures (jumps back and forth between multiple musical ideas)
  • Stravinsky: "Pulcinella" (ballet, premier), signals the "official" beginning of his Neoclassicism phase, a satirical/ironic (yet affectionate) return to old 18th Century music styles (opera buffa, etc...), sometimes using "wrong-note" tonality.  Other composers who explore the Neoclassic style include:
    • Busoni
    • Reger
    • Prokofiev
    • Shostakovich
    • Ravel
    • Hindemith
    • Milhaud
    • Honegger
    • Poulenc
    • Falla 
    • Chávez
    • Albert Roussel,
    • Bohuslav Martinů
    • Ottorino Respighi
    • Vagn Holmboe
    • Ernst Krenek
  • Prokofiev: "Chout", ballet, uses Neoclassical elements
  • Heitor Villa-Lobos: "Carnaval das Crianças", for piano, explores Brazilian carnival atmospheres
  • Darius Milhaud: "Le Boeuf sur le Toit", ballet, inspired by Brazilian and Latin popular music (tango, maxixe, samba, fado)
  • Joseph Hauer: "Nomos", for piano, uses a primitive unstructured form of 12-tone technique
  • Schulhoff: "Partita", for piano, begins to explore jazz melodies and rhythms in a classical setting (1st Movement: "all art is useless...")
1921
  • Paul Hindemith: "Kammermusik No. 1", for small ensemble, uses Neoclassicism's Baroque (contrapuntal) forms, but bending harmonies and adding tricky mechanical rhythms.  6 more Kammermusik follow (1924-27).  Generally, Neoclassicism in Germany is less satirical and more "pugnacious" than the "ironic" Neoclassic style of Paris. 
  • Webern: "Sechs Lieder Op. 14" ("Six Trakl Songs") (begun 1917), atonal works for voice, clarinets and strings
  • Edgard Varèse: "Amériques" (1st version), for orchestra with sirens, influenced by Europian music and Stravinsky (updated in 1929 to include the ondes Martenot). 
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams: "The Lark Ascending", Romance for violin and orchestra (Neo-Romantic), originally scored for violin and piano in 1914, often voted the most popular classical work in England
  • Schulhoff: "Suite for Chamber Orchestra", further development of jazz tendencies
  • Luigi Russolo exhibits his Intonarumori noise machines in Paris which are seen by Stravinsky, Arthur Honegger and Edgard Varèse.
  • Jörg Mager's "Sphärophon" ("Electrophon", "Spherophone") is designed to create synthesized quarter tones as well as different timbres.
1922
  • Berg: "Wozzeck" (begun 1914), opera, the first "atonal" opera, it has leitmotif-driven explorations of character.  It still, however, references tonality and classical forms in its movement structures.
  • Stravinsky: "Mavra", opera buffa satire, uses conventional rhythms and harmony (Neoclassical)
  • Ives: "114 Songs", art songs, explores dissonance in some, (some "unsingable")
  • Varèse: "Hyperprism", for wind, brass and exotic percussion, sirens
  • Nielsen: Symphony 5, includes a battle between snare drum and orchestra
  • Russolo: "Corale" and "Serenata", recordings of intonarumori machines with orchestra.
  • Arseny Avraamov: "Simfoniya gudkov" ("Symphony of factory sirens"), essentially a noise installation, employs navy ship sirens and whistles, bus and car horns, factory sirens, cannons, the foghorns of the entire Soviet flotilla in the Caspian Sea, artillery guns, machine guns, hydro-airplanes, a specially designed "whistle main," and renderings of the Internationale and Marseillaise anthems by a mass band and choir. The piece was conducted by a team of conductors using flags and pistols.
1923
  • Schoenberg: "Fünf Klavierstücke, Op. 23" (5 Piano pieces, begun 1920), begins using 12-tone serialism in some parts.  Also sometimes called "dodecaphonic", a 12-tone work is derived from iterations and layerings of a unique sequence of 12 non-repeated notes (a "row") and its permutations (layered, reversed, upside-down, transposed).  These early works, however, still use old classical forms (ex. Baroque suite) to house the new methods of atonality.
  • Schoenberg: "Suite für Klavier, Op. 25" (begun 1921), the first work written completely in 12-tone technique.
  • Stravinsky: "Les Noces", ballet with voice, choir, percussion and 4 pianos, Primitivist style, Russian choreographic scenes based on Russian folk wedding music, also uses the additive rhythmic cell technique.  An element of "ritualism" surfaces.
  • Stravinsky: "Octet for Winds", "Concerto for Piano and Winds", Neoclassic, inspired by Baroque structures and Bach, respectively, creating "brilliant and witty" string-less textures
  • Arthur Honegger: "Pacific 231", tone poem, a driving orchestral work influenced by Futurism and trains.  Other "Futurist/Machine Age" composers include 
    • George Antheil ("Ballet mecanique")
    • John Alden Carpenter ("Skyscrapers"), 
    • Prokofiev ("Le pas d'acier"), 
    • Alexander Mosolov (Op.19 "The Iron Foundry: Zavod/Machine Music") and 
    • Carlos Chávez ("Horse-Power: Ballet Symphony"/"Caballos de vapor").
  • Milhaud: "La Creation du Monde", a "sleazy" jazz ballet, influenced by African-American music, uses polytonality where several keys are present at once
  • George Enescu: "Violin Sonata 3", uses Romanian fiddler elements with Romanticism
  • Henry Cowell: "Aeolian Harp", uses the inside strings of a piano.
  • Eugène Ysaÿe: "Six Sonatas for Solo Violin", summarizes violin technique from Bach to the present time (whole tone and quarter tone scales, sul ponticello, Spanish folk elements, etc...) 
  • Alexander Tcherepnin: "Ajanta's Frescoes", ballet, inspired by ancient Indian cave paintings, draws connections between Eastern and Western music
1924
  • Cowell: "Ensemble" for 2-6 players (string quintet and "thundersticks"), improvisiation on a few provided fragments
  • Schoenberg: "Wind Quintet Op. 26", has serial elements, but it's 4 movements are in traditional forms (sonata, scherzo, etc…)
  • Prokofiev: Symphony 2, contains witty Neoclassic elements
  • George Gershwin: "Rhapsody in Blue", piano concerto (jazz band), approaches classical from the jazz side
  • Leos Janáček: "The Cunning Little Vixen" (opera)
  • Ottorino Respighi: "Pines of Rome", for orchestra, includes the phonographic playback of a nightingale recording (1st live electronics)
1925
  • Schoenberg: "Three Satires for Mixed Chorus, Op. 28" (criticizes Neoclassicism)
  • Bloch: "Concerto Grosso No. 1", piano and string orchestra, blends 20th century harmony with Baroque idioms
  • Varèse: "Intégrales" for wind and percussion (begun 1924), imitates backwards tape with acoustic instruments
  • Janáček: "Sinfonietta", for orchestra, emphasizes brass, partly derived from military fanfares
  • Ives: Symphony 4, summation of Ives' stylistic explorations, 3 conductors layer 3 different tempos and meters
  • Cowell: "The Banshee", uses rubbing, plucking and scratching of piano strings
  • American "maverick" Harry Partch begins experimenting with alternate tunings
1926
  • Berg: "Lyric Suite for string quartet" (begun 1925), serial and non-serial movements are based on a tonal background
  • Bartók: Piano Concerto 1, influenced by folk scales, rhythms and harmonic forms. Bartók begins using palindromic (mirror) and inverted forms, somewhat influenced by Neoclassicism (but without satire elements).
  • Bartók: "Out of Doors", for piano, the movement "The Night's Music", presents his "night music" texture, consisting of eerie chord clusters and/or ostinati with background melodies, evoking the natural sounds of night. 
  • Aaron Copland: "Piano Concerto", influenced by jazz
  • Ernst Krenek: "Jonny spielt auf", opera, includes jazz elements
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1, brash and ironic, before censorship submerges this style in later years from Symphony 5 (1937)
  • Falla: "Concerto for Harpsichord (and 5 Instruments)",  reflects on Spanish musical history in a Neoclassical context.
  • Kodály: "Háry János", Hungarian folk opera
  • George Antheil: "Ballet mecanique" premiered in Paris, requires exotic percussion (16 player pianos (or pianolas) in four parts, 2 regular pianos, 3 xylophones, at least 7 electric bells, 3 propellers, siren, 4 bass drums, and 1 tam-tam)
  • Jean Sibelius: "Tapiola", orchestral tone poem, draws on Nordic culture
1927
  • Bartók: String Quartet 3, folk elements but dissonant with wild glissandi and snapped pizzicato effects
  • Ravel: Violin Sonata (begun 1923), includes a "blues" movement, premiered by Enescu
  • Stravinsky: "Oedipus Rex", opera-oratorio, inspired by Baroque forms, but with additional modern day-influenced ritual elements
  • Schoenberg: 3rd String Quartet, begins loosening reliance on the old classical forms
  • Webern: String Trio, Webern's first 12-tone piece
  • Varèse: "Arcana", for orchestra, a musical idea is repeated with different orchestrations
  • Tcherepnin: Symphony No. 1, 1st symphonic movement consists entirely of percussion.  Tcherepnin explores his synthetic "Tcherepnin scale" and his own contrapuntal "interpoint" technique.
  • Hans Haass: "Capriccio fuge und intermezzo für mechanisches klavier" (for mechanical piano), premieres at Donaueschingen and foreshadows Conlon Nancarrow's experiments with "supra-human" piano rolls 
1928
  • Bartók: String Quartet 4, probably Bartok's most influential string quartet, features synthetic scales, "night music" and extended techniques
  • Webern: Symphony, Op.21, 12-tone using a 4-part canon, melodies are articulated by constantly-changing instrumental colors.  From here Webern never breaks the 12-tone rules or leaves serialism (he still draws from traditional forms though).
  • Schoenberg: "Orchestral Variations", Schoenberg's first serial work for orchestra
  • Berg: "Der Wein", for soprano and orchestra, sets Baudelaire text with cabaret-tinged elements
  • Shostakovich: "The Nose", opera, satirical, Neoclassic
  • Stravinsky: "Apollo", ballet for strings, inspired by French Baroque
  • Kurt Weill: "The Three-Penny Opera", jazz and cabaret elements
  • Ravel: "Boléro", uses hypnotic orchestration on repeating refrains
  • Theremin and Ondes Martenot invented
1929
  • Varèse: "Amériques" is updated to include Ondes Martenot ("early live electronics")
  • Villa-Lobos: "Introduction aux chôros: Ouverture, for guitar and orchestra", "Chôros" compositions, various solos and ensembles (begun 1920), Brazilian folk elements
  • Villa-Lobos: "12 Etudes", for guitar
  • Trautonium invented
1930
  • Bartók: "Cantata Profana", Bartók's self-proclaimed personal "credo"
  • Copland: "Piano Variations", early atonal, almost serial work
  • Poulenc: "La voix humaine", opera with soprano (on a phone call), using Cocteau text, Poulenc's works also use Neoclassicism to satirize old forms or mix new and old genres to seductive or perturbing effect. 
  • Villa-Lobos: "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1", for orchestra of cellos, blends Baroque and Brazilian styles (also No. 5 (1938/45) for soprano and cello orchestra) 
  • Amadeo Roldán: "Ritmicas", works for percussion orchestra, Afro-Cuban elements
  • Eduard Tubin: "Süit eesti tantsuviisidest"/"Suite on Estonian Dance Themes", violin or orchestra, uses Estonian folk elements
  • Ernst Toch: "Geographical Fugue", choral work, based on rhythmic chanting (foreshadows rap music?)
  • Kurt Weill: "Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny", opera, is a hit
  • Paul Hindemith and Ernst Toch recycle records to create sound montages.
1931
  • Bartók: Piano Concerto 2 (begun 1930)
  • Stravinsky: "Violin Concerto in D", Neoclassical
  • Carl Ruggles: "Sun-Treader" for orchestra (begun 1926), uses "American-style" serial counterpoint (something like 8-tone pitch classes)
  • Ruth Crawford Seeger: "String Quartet", quasi-serial but more rhythmic, 3rd movement begins exploring an element of "total serialism" in that the rising/falling dynamics of held tones determine how collaborative melodies surface
  • Ravel: "Piano Concerto in G", jazz influenced
  • William Grant Still, "Afro-American Symphony", has 12-bar blues, ragtime, banjo, etc...
  • Varèse: "Ionisation", for 13 percussionists, the first work entirely for Western percussion orchestra, the first musical work to be organized solely on the basis of noise (includes "lion's roar" and fire sirens).
  • Hindemith: Concertino for Trautonium and Strings (orchestra)\
1932
  • Poulenc: "Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra", Neoclassical, parodies Mozart's K. 466 Piano Concerto's slow movements, has elements of Balinese Gamelan and music hall slapstick
  • Schoenberg: "Moses und Aron", opera, 1st 2 acts completed, based on a single series
  • Shostakovich: "The Lady Macbeth of the Mtensk District", opera, begun 1930.  In 1936 is condemned, triggering a retreat from progressive composition.
  • "Rhythmicon", a primitive drum machine/sequencer invented by Henry Cowell and Leon Theremin (6 years later Theremin is forced to return to the Soviets and work as a spy)
1933
  • Bartók: Hungarian Peasant Songs and Hungarian Folksongs arranged for orchestra (BB 107/108)
  • Krenek: "Karl V", opera, dabbles with serialism
  • Partch: "The Seventeen Lyrics of Li Po", voice and microtonal instruments, Partch gains fame in New York doing solo shows
1934
  • Cowell: "Ostinato pianissimo" for percussion ensemble, uses ethnic percussion, inspires John Cage's later percussion ideas
  • Bartók: String Quartet 5
  • Webern: "Concerto for Nine Instruments", uses Brandenberg-like form
  • Messiaen: "L'Ascension", for orchestra, uses Hindu rhythms for the first (but not last) time
  • Varèse: "Ecuatorial", for voice, choir and ensemble, uses ondes Martenots or theremin-cellos
  • Kosaku (Kôsçak) Yamada: "Nagauta Symphony", incorporates Kabuki music elements and instruments
1935
  • Cowell: "Mosaic Quartet" (String Quartet 3), features variable form structure (indeterminate)
  • Ives: "The Unanswered Question", for strings, solo trumpet and wind quartet (begun 1908, continued 1930), uses spatially separated groups with individual tempi.
  • Roger Sessions: "Violin Concerto" (begun 1927), breaks from Neoclassic style and forms his own "flowing" style where ideas slowly surface and then fade away
  • Grainger: "Free Music" is performed for the first time to the public at one of his Melbourne broadcast lectures.
  • Death of Alban Berg.
1936
  • Bartók: "Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta", uses "polymodal chromaticism" (layers of modal scales) use in the 1st movement fugue
  • Varèse: "Density 21.5" for solo flute, explores solo polyphony between atonality and modal scales
  • Carl Orff: "Carmina Burana" (begun 1935), scenic cantata based on 13th century poems
  • Colin McPhee: "Tabuh-Tabuhan: Toccata for Orchestra", uses folk gamelan elements from Bali
  • Prokofiev:"Romeo and Juliet", ballet, leaves Neoclassicism and returns to Romanticism 
  • Copland: "El Salón México", for orchestra, based on Mexican folk melodies
  • Carlos Chávez: Symphony No. 2 ("Sinfonía india"), uses many Mexican ethnic percussion instruments and is based on 3 indigenous Mexican melodies
  • Grainger: "Free Music No. 1", graphic notation for 4 theremins exploring non-scalar, non-metered melodies 
1937
  • Bartók: "Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion"
  • Berg: "Lulu", opera, uses serial technique, but also "tonal schmalz" from saxophone and vibes
  • Shostakovich: 5th Symphony, after censure is forced to abandon wit and Neoclassicism and writes a more conservative work (possibly in a tacit satire)
  • Grainger: "Lincolnshire Posy", for concert band, based on rural English folksongs
  • Messiaen: "Fêtes des belles eaux", for six ondes Martenots
  • Copland: "Billy the Kid", ballet, introduces rural American folk to classical music with cowboy songs
1938
  • Webern: "String Quartet, Op. 28", serial, uses permutations of the B-A-C-H pitch sequence
  • Stravinsky: "Dumbarton Oaks Concerto", "Concerto in D" (1946), also inspired by Bach's Brandenburg Concertos but less cynical than earlier Neoclassic works
  • John Cage begins exploring "prepared piano", eventually leading to "Bacchanale" (1940).
  • Samuel Barber: "Adagio for Strings"
  • Silvestre Revueltas: "Sensemayá" (begun 1937), for orchestra, inspired by a Cuban poem
1939
  • Bartók: String Quartet 6
  • Bartók: "Mikrokosmos", pedagogical piano pieces (begun 1926).  Some pieces combine layers using different scales (Ex.: No. 148 has Phrygian over Ionian modes)
  • Webern: Cantata No. 1, related to Bach cantata form
  • Cage: "First Construction (in Metal)", percussion sextet, explores rhythmic divisions of time.
  • Cage: "Imaginary Landscape 1", for two variable-speed turntables, frequency recordings, muted piano, and cymbal, another early "live electronics" work (test tone records).
  • Joaquín Rodrigo: "Concierto de Aranjuez", probably the most famous guitar concerto 
  • Villa-Lobos: "New York Skyline" for piano, the melody is a transcription of the NY skyline
  • Poulenc: "Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani" ("Organ Concerto"), probably the most famous 20th century concerto
  • Vocoder invented by Homer Dudley, one of the 1st sound processors.
  • World War II begins.
1940
  • Cage: "Bacchanale", for prepared piano
  • Stravinsky: "Symphony in C", uses tonal patterns and Neoclassic forms, no longer "corrupting" the old forms
  • Messiaen: "Quatuor pour la fin du temps" (“Quartet for the End of Time”), Bb clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, written and premiered 1941 in a prison camp.  Composed using "additive rhythmic" (see "Rite of Spring") and symmetrical modes, this work also features an early use of bird song imitation.
  • Chávez: "Xochipilli (An Imagined Aztec Music)", for concert band (winds, percussion, ethnic instruments), inspired by Mexican antiquity
1941
  • Schoenberg: "Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte" for speech-song/sprechgesang vocal, piano and string quartet, mixes serial elements with tonal sections.  This vocal part also uses one of the earliest examples of graphic notation (indeterminate pitch) after Grainger's "Free Music 1".  
  • Cage: "Third Construction", for 4 percussionists
1942
  • Schoenberg: Piano Concerto (begun 1941), has a slightly more tonal approach to 12-tone composition.
  • Luigi Dallapiccola: "Cinque frammenti di Saffo", for voice and chamber orchestra, uses 12-tone serial technique
  • Hindemith: "Ludus Tonalis (Counterpoint, tonal and technical studies for the piano)", a modern answer to Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier"
  • Copland: "Rodeo", ballet, continues exploration of "American Romanticism" (or Neoclassicism), which uses largely tonal American folk elements ("Americana").  
  • Copland: "Fanfare for the Common Man", for brass and percussion
  • Many other American composers (besides Copland) also explore tonal American Romanticism: 
    • William Schuman, 
    • Virgil Thomson,
    • Samuel Barber,
    • Walter Piston, 
    • Roy Harris, 
    • Howard Hanson, 
    • David Diamond,
    • Ned Rorem, 
    • Leonard Bernstein, etc... 
1943
  • Bartók: "Concerto for Orchestra", one of Bartok's final works, and most poular
1944
  • Copland: "Appalachian Spring", for orchestra, American romanticism
  • Messiaen: "Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus" for piano.  Messiaen explores what he calls "Modes of Limited Transposition", which can only have certain key centers due to their symmetry
  • Alan Hovhaness: "Lousadzak (The Coming of Light), Op. 48, concerto for piano & strings", uses Armenian folk melodies with one of the earliest forms of indeterminate notation.  Hovhaness' aleatory technique, "spirit murmur", is based on rhythmically free, asynchronous repeated phrases.
  • Bohuslav Martinů: "Fantasia for Theremin (or Ondes Martenot), Oboe, String Quartet and Piano", Czech elements, mostly Neoclassic/Neo-romantic
  • Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett will eventually move from Neoclassicism to more conservative forms, inspired by English music of the past (Elizabethan madrigals, Purcell, etc…), though both would also explore atonality in later years as well. 
1945
  • Bartók: 3rd Piano Concerto 
  • Stravinsky: "Symphony in 3 Movements", uses tonal patterns and Neoclassic forms, originally written as score for war or religious films
  • Magnetic recording tape starts becoming available (for general use by 1950).  
  • World War II ends.  Deaths of Anton Webern and Béla Bartók.
1946
  • Schoenberg: String Trio, uses serialism but recaptures some of the "craziness" of his earlier atonal works
  • Britten: "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra", originally for a BBC film
1947
  • Pierre Boulez: 2nd Piano Sonata, the level of difficulty makes him famous
  • Milton Babbit: "Three Composition for Piano", uses serialism applied to rhythm in a somewhat wittier, more organic way than the more "dry" style of the "Darmstadt serialists" in later years
  • Maurice Duruflé: "Requiem" (begun 1941), for organ or organ with orchestra, combines Gregorian chant, modal polyphony and 20th-century French harmony
  • In America, some composers explore ways of blending 12-tone technique with tonal harmony, but outside of American Romanticism/Neoclassicism: 
    • Wallingford Riegger (ex. "Dichotomy", 1931/Symphony 3, 1946-47, 1960),
    • Stefan Wolpe (ex. "The Man From Midian", 1941), 
    • George Perle (ex. "Lyric Piece for cello and piano", 1946) and 
    • Leon Kirchner (ex. "Duo per violino e pianoforte", 1947), 
    • etc...
  • André Jolivet: Concerto for ondes Martenot and orchestra 
  • Partch publishes "Genesis of a Music", describing his tuning theories.
1948
  • Messiaen: "Turangalîla-Symphonie" (begun 1946), uses exotic folk rhythms, as well as ondes Martenot, organizes rhythm and pitch in series
  • Tubin: "Double Bass Concerto", has Estonian folk elements
  • Elliott Carter: "Sonata for Cello and Piano", breaks from (American) Neoclassicism and uses "metric modulation" (proportionate tempo changes) 
  • Cage: "Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano" (begun 1946)
  • Cage: "Suite for Toy Piano, for toy piano or piano" 
  • Henri Dutilleux: "Piano Sonata", a new style born from in between Bartok and Debussy
  • Dallapiccola: "Il prigioniero" (begun 1944), opera, 12-tone
  • Conlon Nancarrow: "Boogie-Woogie Suite", Nancarrow begins using player pianos to realize his compositions
  • Oskar Sala's Mixtur-Trautonium is developed to produce filtered noise and subharmonics (fractions of the dominant pitch instead of multiples).  In the future, Sala would synthesize the bird noises in the Hitchcock film, "The Birds".
  • Yves Klein: "Symphonie Monotone-Silence", a 20 minute drone (sustained chord) is followed by 20 minutes of silence
  • Pierre Schaeffer: "Étude aux chemins de fer" (from "Cinq études de bruits" (Five Studies of Noises)), first piece of "musique concrète", created from tape-manipulated field recordings of trains (this style also later labelled "acousmatic" due to its "enigmatic" properties).  
  • Paul Boisselet: "Symphonie Rouge, Symphonie Jaune", blends live instruments, sound effects, electronic instruments and tape in an abstract collage (possibly 1947 and pre-dating Schaeffer as the first musique concrete work)
1949
  • Messiaen: "Modes de valeurs et d'intensities" (from "Quatre études de rythme"), for piano, puts durations, dynamics and attack into ordered scales (modes), eventually leading others (Goeyvaerts, Stockhausen, Boulez, Nono...) to the idea of "total serialism"
  • Copland: Clarinet Concerto (begun 1947), uses elements of popular music from North and South America
1950
  • Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry: "Symphonie pour un homme seul", a musique concrète radioplay, considered a masterpiece
  • Bebe and Louis Barron: "Heavenly Menagerie", the first electronic music on magnetic tape, created mostly by recording circuits as they burned out (probably also the first examples of "circuit bending")
1951
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: "Kreuzspiel", uses total serialism (systematic organization of pitch, duration, dynamic, articulation) in a "jazz-tinged" way.  Stockhausen would continue to use forms of serialism in probably the most diverse, stylistic and influential collection of works in the 20th century
  • Karel Goeyvaerts: "Opus No, 1 for 2 Pianos", "Opus No. 2 for 13 Instruments", possibly the first works of "total serialism" 
  • Boulez: "Polyphonie X" for 18 instruments, total serialism, subsequently withdrawn.
  • Many composers continue to explore serialism to various degrees:
    • Jean Barraqué
    • Milton Babbitt
    • Hans Werner Henze
    • Luciano Berio
    • Luigi Dallapiccola
    • Hanns Jelinek
    • Alexander Goehr
    • Walter Piston
    • George Perle
    • Charles Wuorinen
    • Einojuhani Rautavaara
    • York Höller
    • Peter Maxwell Davies
    • Oliver Knussen, etc...
    • also briefly: Ginastera, Stravinsky, Copland, Bernstein
  • Cage: "Music of Changes", for piano, uses chance operations on the I Ching for compositional decisions
  • Cage: "Imaginary Landscape 4", uses 12 radio signals as a sound source, chance composition
  • Cage: "Concerto for Prepared Piano" (with chamber orchestra)
  • Morton Feldman: "Projection" and "Intersection" (1950-53), works for small chamber groups using aleatoric (indeterminate) notation for quiet and held dynamics-based works (respectively).  Many New York-based composers follow suit with works exploring indeterminate notation (Cage, Earle Brown, Christian Wolff...later Karlheinz Stockhausen, Witold Lutoslawski, Henri Pousseur, Helmut Lachenmann)
  • Carter: String Quartet 1, further explores metric modulation and atonal individuality, 4 string layers explore individual tempi.
  • Lou Harrison: "Suite for Violin, Piano, and Small Orchestra", explores Balinese gamelan timbres
  • Tubin: "Alto Saxophone Sonata", for alto sax and piano, Tubin's works mix Estonian folk and chromaticiscm
  • Hans Werner Henze: "Boulevard Solitude", opera with serial and jazz elements
  • Stravinsky: "The Rake's Progress", opera, uses Mozart's operas (esp. "Don Giovanni") as a foil.  Essentially ends Stravinsky's Neoclassic phase.
  • GRMC ("Group for Research on Musique Concrète", later GRM: Groupe de Recherches
    de Musicales), the first electroacoustic music studio established in Paris, led by
    Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry, devoted to musique concrete. 
  • WDR Studio for Electronic Music (West German Radio) established in Cologne, Germany, devoted to synthesizing sound, typically organized through serialism. 
  • The Music for Magnetic Tape Project (led by John Cage ("Williams Mix"), Earle Brown ("Octet No. 1"), Christian Wolff ("For Magnetic Tape"), David Tudor, and Morton Feldman ("Intersection")) established in the US, using the studios of Bebe and Louis  Barron in NYC
  • Death of Arnold Schoenberg.
1952
  • Boulez: "Structures" (begun 1951) for 2 pianos, total serialism, causes controversy and doubt on Boulez' part.   
  • Boulez: "Etudes I sur un son" and "Etudes II sur sept sons" for electronic tape, uses total serialism (begun 1951) 
  • Jean Barraqué: "Piano Sonata", 40 minute work of total serialism
  • Stravinsky: "Septet", for clarinet, bassoon, horn, piano, violin, viola and cello, confronts Schoenberg's serial music technique 
  • Cage: "4'33"", silent piece basically consisting of unintentional ambient noise, 3rd "silent work" after Allais and Schulhoff, but most famous by far
  • Cage: "Imaginary Landscape No. 5 for any 42 recordings", free content (indeterminate) collage
  • Earle Brown: "December 1952" (part of "Folio"), unspecified instrumentation, freely-interpreted graphic score (indeterminate)
  • Partch: "Castor and Pollux" for "Surrogate Kithara, Harmonic Canon, Diamond Marimba, Bass Marimba, and Cloud Chamber Bowls"
  • Bruno Maderna: "Musica su due dimensioni" for flute and magnetic tape, 1st use of tape with live instruments
  • The first "tape music" concert is held in the United States (MoMA, NYC), featuring Otto Luening's "Fantasy in Space" (flute recordings manipulated on magnetic tape) and Vladimir Ussachevsky's "Sonic Contours" (overdubbed and processed piano layers).  These works were created in the homes of Henry Cowell, Arturo Toscanini and Ussachevsky's own living room.
1953
  • Stockhausen: "Kontra-Punkte", for chamber group, "starfields of serial points" gradually clump together
  • Stockhausen: "Studie I", synthetic music from sine complexes, the first published electronic music score
  • Cage: "Williams Mix" (begun 1952), for tape, 600 tape fragments based on chance operations on the I Ching
  • Feldman: "Intersection for magnetic tape", concrete sounds
  • Brown: "Twenty-Five Pages", for 1-25 pianos, uses indeterminate form and graphic notation
  • György Ligeti: "Musica ricercata" for piano, uses 1 additional pitch for each new section (begun 1951), foreshadows the mechanistic "clocks" from his "clocks and clouds" style
  • Messiaen: "Réveil des oiseaux" for piano and orchestra, derived entirely from bird songs, compresses a 12-hour field transcription into 20 minutes, at the same time slowing down the individual birdcalls.
  • Henry Brant: "Rural Antiphonies", for orchestra, explores spatial orchestration
  • Wolpe: "Enactments, for 3 pianos" (begun 1950), independent layers of chromaticism and "organic modes", influenced by Arabic maqams
  • Alberto Ginastera: "Variaciones concertantes", explores "subjective nationalism", or Argentinian folk culture
  • Boris Blacher: "Abstrakte Oper Nr. 1", opera scene, jazzy, with nonsense words
  • Pierre Schaeffer & Pierre Henry: "Orphée 53", musique concrete
  • Studio de Fonologia (for electronic music) established in Milan, Italy
  • Harry Partch creates his Gate 5 label/home in Sausalito, California
  • Moondog's album "Moondog on the Streets of New York" (among others) is released.  Moondog's work, influenced by street sounds of New York City and featuring some invented instruments, would influence the early Minimalist composers.
1954
  • Boulez: "Le Marteau sans Maitre" (begun 1952), for contralto and six instrumentalists, utilizes exotic sounds and rhythms from Bali and sub-Saharan Africa to add variety to serialism
  • Ligeti: String Quartet No. 1, "Métamorphoses nocturnes" (begun 1953), Ligeti's first mature work, but still inspired by Bartok and uses chromatic motifs in traditional forms
  • Rolf Liebermann: "Concerto for Jazz Band and Symphony Orchestra", blends jazz and 12-tone music 
  • Rodrigo: "Fantasía para un gentilhombre", guitar concerto, elements of Spanish antiquity incorporating 6 17th-century dances
  • Witold Lutoslawski: "Concerto for Orchestra" (begun 1950), uses atonality and Polish folk music, as well as old structural forms such as the Baroque Concerto grosso, passacaglia, toccata, etc...
  • Varèse: "Déserts" for wind, percussion and tape (begun 1949), alternates tape with orchestra.  The premiere in Paris is introduced by Boulez, and Stockhausen does the sound mix.
  • Iannis Xenakis: "Metastasis", for orchestra, uses statistical sound mass and glissandi ("stochastic music").  This "textural" style would be a huge influence for many composers from Penderecki's string clusters to Ligeti and his "micropolyphony" to the Spectral music composers.
  • Luening: "A Poem In Cycles And Bells For Tape Recorder And Orchestra"
1955
  • Stockhausen: "Zeitmasse", wind quintet, uses player ability as a tempo scale value (layers of tempos)
  • Barraqué: "Séquence" (begun 1950), soprano with chamber ensemble, serial, but somewhat influenced by Romanticism
  • Partch: "The Bewitched (A Dance Satire)", for 18 Partch-invented instruments
  • Astor Piazzolla: "Sinfonía de tango", bandoneon and chamber group, creates "nuevo tango", a modern blend of tango with modern music
  • Hovhaness: Symphony No. 2 ("Mysterious Mountain"), anticipates the "Holy Minimalism" movement (?)
  • Gottfried Michael Koenig: "Klangfiguren Il", for electronic tape
  • Bebe and Louis Barron compose the electronic score for the film "Forbidden Planet" using their self-extinguishing "cybernetic" electronics
1956
  • Stockhausen: "Gesang der Junglinge", 5-channel tape (reduced to 4), uses concrete recordings of a boy soloist with synthetic tones and spatializes them
  • Nono: "Il canto sospeso": cantata, uses total serialism with political texts
  • Xenakis: "Pithoprakta", for orchestra, uses statistical processes
  • Messiaen: "Oiseaux Exotiques" (begun 1955), for piano and small ensemble, bird song transcriptions from India and America (global birds) 
  • Ussachevsky: "Piece for tape recorder" 
  • Maderna: "Notturno", for tape, filtered white noise
  • Krenek: "Spiritus Intelligentiae Sanctus", for solo voices and tape.
  • Aram Khachaturian: "Spartacus", ballet, Khachaturian uses Armenian ethnic elements
1957
  • Stockhausen: "Gruppen", for 3 spatially-separated orchestra groups, treats large instrumental groups in different tempo proportions (and spacial placement).  Each group is composed with layers based on scales of rhythmic subdivision in order to imitate harmonic overtone properties.  Includes an electric guitar solo.  The premiere in 1958 is conducted by Stockhausen, Boulez and Maderna.
  • Stockhausen: "Klavierstuck XI", for piano, uses indeterminate form ("polyvalent/mobile form")
  • Boulez: Third Piano Sonata, uses indeterminate form
  • Berio: "Allelujah II" (begun 1955) for 5 orchestra groups
  • Toru Takemitsu: "Requiem" for string orchestra (impresses Stravinsky)
  • Lejaren Hiller: "Illiac Suite for String Quartet", composed by a computer (CAC: "computer-assisted composition")
  • Varèse: "Poème électronique" (begun 1956), 3-channel tape collage for the 1958 Brussels Exhibition
  • Henri Pousseur: "Scambi", electronic work open to multiple form realizations
  • Henk Badings: "Evolutionen", Dutch electronic music for ballet
  • The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in New York City is established in the early 1950's by Ussachevsky, Luening, Babbitt and Sessions, who eventually obtain the RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer (co-designed by Ussachevsky and Babbitt).  This device is used for most of the important works from the Center.
1958
  • Messiaen: "Catalog d'oiseaux" (begun 1956), for piano, more bird song transcriptions
  • Cage: "Aria" for voice, as 10 graphically-notated  "characters"
  • Cage: "Variations I", uses transparencies to create aleatorically-created scores
  • Cage: "Fontana Mix", for tape, based on transparencies
  • Cage: "Concert for piano and orchestra", using many aleatoric notation techniques
  • Boulez: "Poesie pour pouvoir", for spatialized tape and orchestra
  • Berio: "Sequenza I", for flute, contains first notated multiphonic.  Berio would continue with a series of Sequenza pieces for different instruments exploring solo extended technique and often theatricality
  • Berio: "Thema--Omaggio a Joyce", manipulations of Cathy Berberian's voice, reading James Joyce texts
  • Mauricio Kagel: "Anagrama" (begun 1957), for vocalists and chamber orchestra, presents an excerpt of Dante's "Divine Comedy" in 4 languages.  Kagel's work usually involves some kind of humorous theatrical element expressed in modern compositional techniques
  • Stravinsky: "Threni" for solo singers, chorus and orchestra, Stravinsky's first serial work
  • Jolivet: Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra
  • Roh Ogura: "Nine Pieces on Children's Songs of Tohoku Region", for female chorus a cappella, one of several works exploring Japanese folk and rural music 
  • Kagel: "Transición I", for tape 
  • Ligeti: "Artikulation", electronic music, begins developing the concept of "micropolyphony" from working at the WDR Electronic Music Studio
  • Xenakis: "Diamorphoses" and "Concret PH", Xenakis' first electro-acoustic works, based on sound mass density changes
  • Pousseur: "Rimes Pour Différentes Sources Sonores", instruments and noises projected spatially from loudspeakers
  • Lejaren Hiller establishes the Studio for Experimental Music at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana.
  • La Monte Young: "Trio for Strings" (ongoing revisions), serial work based on extremely long drones and silences in various tunings
  • Babbitt's essay on contemporary classical complexity "The Composer as Specialist" is renamed "Who Cares if you Listen" by High Fidelity.
1959
  • Stockhausen: "Zyklus", percussion solo, uses graphic notation, explores indeterminate form (can be started in different places or read upside-down) and scales of indeterminacy (some notation rhythmically free in duration and sequence)
  • Carter: String Quartet 2, further explores independent tempo schemes
  • Stravinsky: "Movements for Piano and Orchestra", serial, influenced by Stockhausen's music (?)
  • Giacinto Scelsi: "Quattro pezzi su una nota sola", for orchestra, approaches his mature style of monotonal harmony based on slow-moving pitch clusters
  • Ligeti: "Apparitions" (begun 1958), for orchestra, first explores "micropolyphony" (vibrating, melodically indistinct sound masses, the "clouds" from his "clocks and clouds" style). 
  • Xenakis: "Duel" for 2 small orchestras, explores "game theory"
  • Feldman: "Atlantis", for orchestra, scored with graphic notation
  • Dutilleux: Symphony 2 ("Le double"), orchestra groups reflect and dialogue with each other from the front and back of the hall
  • Galina Ustvolskaya: "Grand Duet For Violoncello And Piano", Ustvolskaya's works explore a uniquely powerful and stark austerity in her approach to spiritual/sacred themes
  • Berio: "Différences", for flute, clarinet, viola, cello, harp and tape, where the tape is pre-recorded processed sounds of the live acoustic quintet
  • Cage: "Indeterminacy", electronics and text readings 
  • Kagel: "Transición II" for piano, percussion and tapes
  • Daphne Oram invents "Oramics", in which sound is synthesized by "drawing" on film (prior to this she and Desmond Briscoe found the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in 1958).
  • Roberto Gerhard: "Audiomobiles I-IV" (begun 1958), electronic music from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
  • Karl-Birger Blomdahl: "Aniara", opera, based on science-fiction themes, uses jazz, serial writing, tape, etc...
1960
  • Stockhausen: "Carré", for 4 choirs and 4 orchestra groups, uses "moment form", based on systemized organization of discrete musical sections
  • Stockhausen: "Kontakte", for tape with/without piano and percussion, applies serial technique to electronic music, invents "rotation table" to create swirling spatial effects, probably Stockhausen's best work
  • Messiaen: "Chronochromie", for orchestra, last major birdsong work, uses an 18-layer birdsong polyphony in the Epode movement
  • Berio: "Circles", for voice, harp and percussion, written for vocalist Cathy Berberian, explores voice and theatricality in ee cummings' text
  • Krzysztof Penderecki: "Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima", string orchestra, uses graphic notation with massed string clusters (immediately preceded by "Anaklasis", 42 strings and percussion)  
  • Shostakovich: String Quartet 8, dedicated to the victims of fascism and war
  • Ginastera: "Cantata para America Magica op. 27, for dramatic soprano and percussion orchestra", mixes Latin American folklore with serialism, includes 2 pianos, banging rocks and ethnic instruments
  • Cage: "Cartridge Music", for amplified sound, uses phono cartridges as contact mikes 
  • Cage publishes "Silence", a book collecting his writings
  • Gerhard: Symphony 3: "Collages", for orchestra and tape
  • Takemitsu: "Water Music", for tape, consists of minimal, haunting concrete sounds
  • Robert Ashley: "The Fourth of July", for tape
  • Richard Maxfield: "Night Music", tape 
  • Xenakis: "Orient-Occident", tape
  • François-Bernard Mâche: "Volumes", tape
  • Kagel: "Sur Scene", for voice, mimes, actors and instrumental ensemble, includes a musicologist's lecture and performers practicing scales, warming up, etc... as part of the work
  • La Monte Young: "Compositions 1960", various instrumentation, a series of Fluxus-inspired performance art works ("Push the piano up to a wall... Then continue pushing into the wall...")
1961
  • Boulez: "Structures II" for 2 pianos, a "looser" version of "Structures I"
  • Lutoslawski: "Jeux vénitiens" for orchestra, uses "limited aleatoricism", where scored phrases are played in independent attacks (asynchronously) or cued, producing "aleatoric counterpoint" (also indicated as "ad libitum")
  • Ligeti: "Atmosphères", for orchestra, uses "micropolyphony clouds".  Repurposed in Stanley Kubrick's film "2001: A Space Odyssey".
  • Ginastera: 1st Piano Concerto, 4th mvmt later arranged for rock band by ELP
  • Luigi Nono: "Intolleranza 1960", a protest opera attacking capitalism, fascism and exploitation of the working classes
  • Penderecki: "Polymorphia", for string orchestra, some pitch shapes based on encephalogram readings taken on people listening to "Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima"
  • Berio: "Visage" for voice and tape, with Cathy Berberian 
  • Babbitt: "Composition for Synthesizer", tape created from the RCA Mark II, essentially the first synthesizer, total serial electronic music
  • James Tenney: "Collage #1 (Blue Suede)", tape, samples and recycles Elvis Presley
  • Tenney: "Analogue #1: Noise Study (for tape)", uses computer-synthesized noise (based on MUSIC IV, software codesigned by Max Mathews)
  • Mel Powell: "Electronic Setting", tape, Benny Goodman's swing pianist turns to serial and electronic music (also "Events for Tape Recorder, 1963)
  • Nancarrow: "Studies for Player Piano: Study No. 21", layers 2 voices with changing tempi.   
  • Piotr Zak, "Mobile for Tape and Percussion", a "joke" radio broadcast made of improvised percussion noises and whistling, created by Hans Keller and Susan Bradshaw at the BBC
1962
  • Stockhausen: "Momente" (completed 1969), for soprano, choir, brass, electric organs and percussion, features systematic organization of musical attributes into sections of indeterminate form (moment form)
  • Britten: "War Requiem", for voice, chorus and 2 orchestra groups
  • Ligeti: "Aventures" for voices and ensemble, uses polyphonic nonsense words for 5 emotional states, also modified for use in Kubrick's "2001".  This would be further explored in "Nouvelles Aventures" (1962–65)
  • Ligeti: "Poème Symphonique, for 100 metronomes", inspired by Fluxus movement
  • Messiaen: "Sept haïkaï", for piano and chamber group, inspired by Indian tâlas and Japanese Gagaku music (4th mvmt), as well as some birdsong
  • Cage: "Atlas Eclipticalis" (begun 1961), for 86 instruments, chance composition based on star charts
  • Brown: "Available Forms II", open form work for 2 conductors and orchestra ("orchestra 4-hands")
  • Copland: "Connotations", for orchestra, Copland returns to serialism here 
  • Mario Davidovsky: "Synchronisms No. 1 for Flute and electronic sound" (first of a series of electro-acoustic works)
  • Kenneth Gaburo: "Antiphony III (Pearl-White Moments), for sixteen voices and electronics" (third in a series of electro-acoustic works) 
  • Xenakis "Bohor", tape 
  • Michel Philippot: "Étude III", tape
  • Bernard Parmegiani: "Danse", tape, manipulates voice
  • San Francisco Tape Music Center established by Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender (later with Pauline Oliveros and Terry Riley).
  • La Monte Young creates his own performing group, The Theatre of Eternal Music, which includes members John Cale and Terry Riley, and plays music based on proportionate drone frequencies..
1963
  • Ligeti: "Requiem" for chorus, soloists and orchestra (completed 1965), also used in Kubrick's "2001"
  • Lutosławski: "Trois poèmes d'Henri Michaux" (begun 1962), for 2 conductors, chorus and orchestra, uses "aleatory counterpoint"
  • Lukas Foss: "Echoi", for 4 players, mixes improvisation with atonal scoring
  • Hovhaness: Symphony No.17 ("Symphony for Metal Orchestra Op.203"), inspired by Japanese Gagaku orchestra music, uses metal instruments only (including flute and trombone)
  • Arne Nordheim: "Epitaffio", for taped chorus and live orchestra
  • Luc Ferrari: "Hétérozygote", collage tape
  • François Bayle: "Portraits de I'Oiseau-Qui-N'existe-Pas (Portraits of the Bird-That-Does-Not-Exist)", tape, manipulates concrete, electronic and instrumental sounds
  • Tenney: "Phases", blends pure tones and noise elements, computer-assisted composition
  • Don Buchla begins building modular sound sequencers with a more "unpredictable" approach than what the Moog keyboard-driven synthesizerswill eventually present
1964
  • Stockhausen: "Mixtur", uses ring modulation on 5 small orchestral groups
  • Stockhausen: "Mikrophonie I", uses close-miked noises from a manipulated giant tam-tam, 1st "live electronics" work using aleatory elements, sound production is based on onomatopoeic word notation
  • Xenakis: "Eonta", for piano and brass quintet, computer-assisted composition to calculate stochastic (statistical) values
  • Ben Johnston: String Quartet 2, microtonal, 53 notes to an octave 
  • Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 10, has a brutal 2nd movement ("Allegretto furioso")
  • Terry Riley: "In C", unspecified instrumentation, uses 53 tonal, aleatoric modal fragments in C major.  This work ushers in "Minimalism", a style based on repetition, usually tonal.  The main composers of Minimalism during the 20th-century are Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and to a lesser extent, La Monte Young (later joined by Michael Nyman, John Tavener, John Adams, etc...). 
  • Britten: "Curlew River – A Parable for Church Performance (Op. 71)", singers and chamber ensemble (including organ), inspired by Japanese noh theatre
  • Babbitt: "Ensembles for Synthesizer" (begun 1962), tape created from RCA Mark II synthesizer, total serial electronic music
  • Babbitt: "Philomel", voice and synthesizer/processed vocal tape
  • Nono: "La Fabbrica illuminata", blends soprano with tape recordings of factory workers and factory environments in order to make a connection with the "common people".  He would later incorporate recordings of street protests and speeches by Fidel Castro.
  • Herbert Brün: "Futility 1964", tape, blends noise, concrete sounds, voice narration
  • J.K. Randall: "Quartets in Pairs", tape, computer-assisted composition which realizes wide pitch ranges unachievable by most acoustic instruments
  • Ramon Sender: "Desert Ambulance", amplified accordion, voice, 3-track tape, projections.  Sender collaborates with Don Buchla on synthesizer design
  • Robert Ashley: "The Wolfman" (noise piece based on found sound tapes feeding back at high volume)
  • La Monte Young: "The Well-Tuned Piano" (begun, ongoing) an improvisatory work for specially-tuned piano.  Also "The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys" (ongoing, for Theatre of Eternal Music ensemble)
  • Robert Moog invents his own synthesizer.
1965
  • Harrison Birtwistle: "Tragoedia" for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, harp and string quartet
  • Bernd Alois Zimmerman: "Die Soldaten", opera, employs "klangkomposition pluralism", which includes speech-song, large orchestra, electronics, and Bach quotes, sometimes simultaneously on separate stage areas, influenced by Berg's "Wozzeck".  
  • Hovhaness: "Fantasy on Japanese Woodprints" for Xylophone and Orchestra (inspired by Japanese culture)
  • Cage: "Rozart Mix" for tape loops
  • Steve Reich: "It's Gonna Rain", tape loop experiment using the idea of rhythmic phasing (2 or more layers slowly go out of sync, creating degrees of syncopation)
  • Gaburo: "Lemon Drops", somewhat more "charming" electronic sounds
  • İlhan Mimaroğlu: "Agony", tape, Turkish electronic music, concrete-like sounds through electronic means
  • Randall: "Mudgett-Monologues By A Mass Murderer", a soprano monologue is recorded together with the computer synthesized elements
  • Moog demonstrates his new modular synthesizer, which is available the next year.
  • Alvin Lucier: "Music for Solo Performer", derives sound from only the performer's alpha brainwaves
  • Death of Edgard Varèse.
1966
  • Stockhausen: "Telemusik", tape, appropriates folk music recordings for electronic manipulation (ring modulation, filtering, etc...)
  • Ligeti: "Lux Aeterna", for chorus, micropolyphony clouds in canon, also used in Kubrick's "2001"
  • Penderecki: "De natura sonoris No. 1", for orchestra, further exploration of contrasting instrumental effects (No. 2, 1971, No. 3, 2012)
  • Zimmermann: "Musique pour les soupers du roi Ubu", instrumental collage of other popular classical works
  • Hovhaness: "Vishnu Symphony (No. 19)", aleatoric modal elements to create statistical structures
  • Xenakis: "Terretektorh", for 88 musicians scattered among the audience  
  • Scelsi: "Uaxuctum", for choir and orchestra, evokes lost civilizations in monolithic sound masses 
  • Kagel: "Musik für Renaissance-Instrumente", "Kammermusik fur Renaissance-Instrumente"
  • Partch: "And On The Seventh Day Petals Fell In Petaluma", begun 1966, one minute verses of duets, trios, quartets, quintets, and one septet, essentually a showcase/pedagogical work for Partch's invented instruments
  • Kirchner: String Quartet 3, for strings and tape, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • John Eaton: "Concert Piece for Syn-Ket and Orchestra", uses an early micro-tonal Moog-related synthesizer
  • Pauline Oliveros: "I of IV", tape, feedback/drone electronic music
  • Gordon Mumma: "Mesa, For Cybersonic Bandoneon", amplified and processed bandoneon
  • Mumma, David Behrman, Ashley, and Lucier form the electroacoustic performing group, the Sonic Arts Union.
  • The Beatles: "Tomorrow Never Knows", utilizes tape loop techniques in popular music, partly inspired by Stockhausen's "Gesang der Junglinge"
1967
  • Stockhausen: "Prozession", for tamtam, viola, electronium, piano, uses process symbols (plus-minus symbols) to direct indeterminate performer actions
  • Stockhausen: "Hymnen", tape, national anthems as musique concrete with electronics
  • Ligeti: "Lontano", for orchestra, micropolyphony clouds
  • Birtwistle: "Punch and Judy", opera, brutalizes the classic puppet drama 
  • Cornelius Cardew: "Treatise" (begun 1963), consisting of 193 pages of graphic notation open to free interpretation and instrumentation.  The previous year saw Cardew join AMM, a free improvisation group. 
  • Reich: "Piano Phase", for 2 pianos, one of the earliest minimalist instrumental phasing works, also "Violin Phase"
  • Takemitsu: "November Steps", for shakuhachi, biwa, and orchestra, contrasts Japanese traditional and Western classical music 
  • Babbitt: "Correspondences" for synthesized tape music and string orchestra 
  • Gaburo: "Antiphony IV (Poised), for voice, piccolo, trombone, bass and electronics"
  • Subotnick: "Silver Apples of the Moon", tape, uses electronic synthesis technology developed by Don Buchla
  • Koenig: "Terminus II", "Funktion Grün" for tape, Koenig explores aleatoric and groupwise selection of serial elements in Project 1 (1964) and Project 2 (1966)
  • Pril Smiley: "Eclipse", tape
  • John Chowning discovers the FM synthesis algorithm, eventually leading to the development of the Synclavier (1977) and the Yamaha DX7 (1983)
1968
  • Stockhausen: "Kurzwellen", for six players with shortwave receivers and live electronics
  • Stockhausen: "Stimmung", for 6 vocalists, uses aleatoric overtone singing, foreshadows the "Spectral Music" movement
  • Stockhausen: "Aus Den Sieben Tagen", intuitive music (improvisation) based only on text
  • Ligeti: "Ramifications" for "mistuned" string orchestra (quarter-tones) and String Quartet 2 (indeterminate microtonality smaller than quarter tones)
  • Alfred Schnittke: 2nd Violin Sonata (begun 1967), explores "polystylism" 
  • Leo Brouwer: "Canticum", guitar, Brouwer's style changes from Cuban folk to avant-garde after hearing Penderecki and Xenakis, sometimes using indeterminacy.
  • Lutoslawski: "Livre pour orchestre", 4 orchestral 'chapters' separated by aleatoric interludes.  
  • Jani Christou: "Enantiodromia" (begun 1954), for orchestra, employs textured noise, abrupt dynamics and indeterminacy
  • Xenakis: "Kraanerg", 23 instruments and 4-channel tape
  • Helmut Lachenmann: "temA", for chamber group, concentrates on "breath noises", and marks the beginning of his "mature period" where he explores the concepts of "touch".
  • Pousseur: "Votre Faust" (begun 1960), opera, allows the audience to choose the form structure of the opera by ballots or verbal cues.  Pousseur called the 2nd production a "shipwreck", and "an artistic disaster"
  • Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV): "Sound Pool" and "Free Soup", with members including Alvin Curran, Richard Teitelbaum, Frederic Rzewski, and Allan Bryant, invites open, public improvisations in its performances
  • Jacob Druckman: "Animus II for mezzo-soprano, percussion and electronic tape", begun 1967 
  • Nono: "Contrappunto dialettico alla mente", tape
  • Gaburo: "Dante's Joynte", tape
  • Randall: "Lyric Variations for Violin and Computer" (begun 1965)
  • Jean-Claude Risset: "Computer Suite From Little Boy", tape, Rissett explores an eternally falling  glissandi (Risset scale or Shepard-Risset glissando)
  • Brün: "Infraudibles", computer music in two versions (with and without live ensemble)
  • Hiller: "Algorithms I, Version 1 (I. The Decay of lnformation, II. Icosahedron, Ill. The Incorporation of Constraints), a computer and ensemble work (
    computer-assisted composition)
  • Behrman: "Runthrough" for synthesizers and photocell mixers (begun 1967), activated by lighting
  • David Tudor: "Rainforest", live electronics installation, environment populated by small noise machines
  • Reich: "Pendulum Music (For Microphones, Amplifiers Speakers and Performers)", uses pulsed, phasing feedback
  • Annea Lockwood: "Piano Transplants" (1968-1982, including "Piano Burning", 1968) in which the performer plays freely as a piano is slowly destroyed (by fire or exposure to natural elements)
  • Wendy Carlos: "Switched on Bach", Moog synth realizations of Bach works, sells many copies and wins awards
  • Frank Zappa: "Lumpy Gravy", sound collage of musique concrete, rock and orchestral recorded pieces, as well as voice resonating from piano strings
1969
  • Carter: "Concerto for Orchestra", 4 orchestra groups each have different harmonies and tempo schemes
  • Shostakovich: Symphony No.14, applies serialism in an 11 movement meditation on death
  • Berio: "Sinfonia" (begun 1968), middle movement quotes many works, all contained in a scherzo from Mahler's "Resurrection Symphony"
  • George Crumb: "Night of the Four Moons" for voice and a few exotic instruments (slide banjo, Kabuki blocks, etc...), inspired in part by Mahler’s "Das Lied von der Erde" and Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 ("Farewell"). 
  • Philip Glass: "Music in Similar Motion", explores repetitive phrases at different levels of unison and syncopation.  Glass uses an "additive/subtractive" process where a single note/fragment is added or subtracted from loops or parts of loops.
  • Horatiu Rădulescu: "Credo" for 9 cellos, 1st "spectral music" work, which orchestrates 45 layers of harmonics of a C fundamental
  • Per Nørgård: "Voyage into the Golden Screen", for chamber orchestra, explores his "Infinity Series" 
  • Peter Maxwell Davies: "Eight Songs for a Mad King", bizarre monodrama with quotes from Handel, birds, the Beatles, foxtrots, etc...
  • Henze, Symphony No. 6, for 2 chamber orchestras, includes Cuban revolutionary songs and Cuban dance rhythms
  • Cardew forms the Scratch Orchestra, which melds improvisation with simple music structures in an attempt to create a "communal situation"
  • Merrill Leroy Ellis: "Kaleidoscope, for Orchestra, Synthesizer, and Soprano", collaboration with Robert Moog
  • Cage: "Cheap Imitation", for piano, (later orchestra (1972) or violin), a Satie work, "Socrates" (1918) is modified so that vocal line pitches or fragments are transposed according to chance operations.  Other works consisting of "altered" pre-existing material would follow ("Hymns and Variations", for 12 singers, 1979)
  • Cage and Hiller: "HPSCHD" for 1 to 7 amplified harpsichords playing permutations of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Gottschalk, Busoni, Schoenberg, Cage and Hiller) and 1 to 51 tapes of computer music (begun 1967), the LP includes a score for manipulation of the stereo controls when listening to the record
  • Nancarrow: "Studies for Player Piano: Study No. 37" (begun 1965) has 12 somewhat canonic voices in 12 independent tempi schemes.
  • Luc Ferrari: "Music Promenade" (begun 1964), tape, explores organized field recordings as music
  • Risset: "Mutations", computer music
  • Charles Dodge: "Changes", computer music
  • Charles Wuorinen "Time's Encomium" for electronic tape (begun 1968, Pulitzer Prize winner) 
  • Salvatore Martirano: "The SalMar Construction", invention of an interactive "composing" synthesizer, which projects sound through loudspeakers which float around based on air currents
  • Douglas Leedy: "Entropical Paradise", Moog and Buchla synthesizers, triple LP recording of randomized patches that, once set, played without further intervention by the performer, intended as "background environmental music" (ambient).
  • John Mizelle: "Photo Oscillations", uses lasers and photocells triggering sounds
  • Mini-Moog presented for sale to the public, designed for live performance. 
  • Peter Zinovieff, Tristram Cary and David Cockerell found EMS (Electronic Music Studios), which would create the VCS 3 and Synthi synthesizer/sequencers (notable used by Stockhausen and his live electronics group).
  • The Beatles: "Revolution No. 9", uses tape loop cut up techniques
1970
  • Stockhausen: "Mantra", for 2 pianos and ring modulators, begins a new phase of "formula compositions" based on articulated melodies
  • Ligeti: "Continuum" for harpsichord, "Chamber Concerto", works begin to add moments of rhythmic complexity and phasing to "clouds"
  • Reich: "Phase Patterns" and "Four Organs", gradual lengthening of a chord
  • Brian Ferneyhough: "Cassandra's Dream Song" for flute, explores difficult notation, aleatory elements come from the "impossible"  technical demands, "not literally realisable", signals the beginning of the "New Complexity" movement (the "old complexity" being Stockhausen, Boulez, Babbitt, etc... during the 1950s' total serialism era).  Other New Complexity composers eventually include 
    • Michael Finnissy, 
    • James Dillon, 
    • Chris Dench and 
    • Richard Barrett.
  • Lachenmann: "Pression" for cello, "Guero" for piano body, works explore new timbres from bowing pressure and other extended techniques ("instrumental musique concrète")
  • Iancu Dumitrescu: "Sound Sculptor (I), spectral music for piano", Dumitrescu explores acoustic overtones
  • Crumb: "Black Angels, Thirteen Images from a Dark Land" for electric string quartet, percussion, crystal glasses, tam-tams, etc…
  • Crumb: "Ancient Voices of Children", includes eerie vocal effects from singing into an amplified piano (previously explored by Frank Zappa)
  • Richard Rodney Bennett: "Concerto for Guitar and Chamber Ensemble", Bennett's style traversed many different realms, including jazz and film ("Murder on the Orient Express")
  • Henze, "El Cimarrón (The Runaway Slave)", 15 "political tableaus" for a baritone, guitar, flutes and percussion 
  • Kagel: "Acustica" (begun 1968), for ensemble using experimental sound-producers and loud-speakers with electroacoustic tape
  • Kagel: "Staatstheater" (begun 1967), a plotless, absurd "anti-"opera
  • Davies: "Taverner" (begun 1962), opera, reworks pre-Baroque forms (plainchant, etc...) with avant-garde techniques 
  • Davidovsky: "Synchronisms No. 6", for piano and electronics, Pulitzer Prize
  • Ferrari: "Presque rien No. 1: Le Lever du jour au bord de la mer", tape, organized field recordings
  • Bülent Arel: "Stereo Electronic Music No.2", tape
  • Lucier: "I am sitting in a room", tape, looped resonating speech
  • Dodge: "Earth's Magnetic Field", computer music, maps magnetic field data to musical sound
  • Chowning: "Sabelithe", tape, synthesized music
  • Sofia Gubaidulina: "Vivente - Non vivente", for ANS (early Russian synth using drawn shapes on plates to form pitch figures, used for Tarkovsky films "Solaris" and "Stalker")
  • Hovhaness: "And God Created Great Whales", taped whale songs accompanied by orchestra (relatively Romantic)
  • David Rosenboom: "Ecology of the Skin", translates biofeedback readings of brainwaves and heart signals from performers and audience members into music textures
1971
  • Carter: String Quartet 3, 2 duos play separate and independent layers
  • Feldman: "Rothko Chapel", soprano, alto, choir, percussion and viola, static, droney textures
  • Reich: "Drumming", percussion group, phasing with beat substitution, includes bongos, marimbas, glockenspiel and voice
  • Crumb: "Lux Aeterna, for 5 Masked Musicians", for soprano, bass flute (w recorder), sitar and two percussionists, spare and haunting
  • Kagel: "Exotica" for 6 "singing instruments" (players) with 10 or more non-European instruments, aleatory elements come from the players' "ignorance" of their instruments' playing techniques
  • Harrison: "La Koro-Sutra", choir and homemade percussion, uses his own homemade "American gamelan" percussion kit
  • Christian Wolff: "Burdocks" (begun 1970), various instrumentation, for one or more groups of five or more players, uses indeterminate form based on layering of 10 entirely different types of composition (such as one simply based on the word "flying")
  • Druckman: "Synapse", tape, to be played leading into the contrabass solo "Valentine (1969) 
  • Gavin Bryars: "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet", tape and orchestra, field recording of a homeless person's chant is looped and orchestral elements are added on top 
  • Eliane Radigue: "Chry-ptus", ARP synthesizer and tape, explores haunting electronic drones/landscapes
  • Shostakovich: Symphony No.15, quotes Rossini's "William Tell" and Wagner
  • Death of Stravinsky.
1972
  • Lachenmann: "Gran Torso", for string quartet, further explores new string timbres from string pressure
  • C. Curtis-Smith: "Rhapsodies" for bowed piano (1973), Curtis-Smith invents the bowed piano technique, which would be further developed by other composers including the tonal minimalist Stephen Scott (Bowed Piano Ensemble: "Entrada").
  • Schnittke: Symphony No. 1, further explores "polystylism" (begun 1969), which includes quotations from Bach, Haydn ("Farewell Symphony"), Beethoven, Chopin, Strauss, etc... as well as "jazz improvisation episodes".
  • Dieter Schnebel:"ReVisionen" (completed 1989?), reworkings of classic works by Bach, Beethoven ("Beethoven-Sinfonie"), Wagner ("Wagner-Idyll"), Webern ("Webern Variationen"), Verdi ("Verdi-Moment"), Mozart, etc...
  • Michael Tippett: Symphony 3, quotes Beethoven's 9th Symphony
  • Henryk Górecki: Symphony No. 2, Op. 31 ("Copernican"), violent, contrasting sound masses leading to hymnal textures and Polish folk themes
  • Mâche: "Korwar Pour Clavecin Et Bande Magnétique", harpsichord and concrete tape with voices, etc...
  • Einojuhani Rautavaara: "Cantus Arcticus, Concerto for Birds and Orchestra", includes field recordings of birds, largely Romantic but with some birdlike loops
1973
  • Ustvolskaya: "Composition No. 2, Dies Irae, for eight double basses, piano and wooden cube", uses a large beaten wooden cube of her own design
  • Boulez: "...explosante-fixe" (various revisions), MIDI-flute and chamber orchestra, explores live sound manipulation
  • Henze: "Tristan", for piano, tape and orchestra, includes elements of Wagner, Brahms and Chopin, essentially an homage to Wagner's opera "Tristan und Isolde".
1974
  • Stockhausen: "Inori", for orchestra and dancer-mimes, uses a melodic formula and dancer-mimes which interpret the music in gesture-based scales
  • Glass: "Music in 12 Parts" (begun 1971), 5 players on voice and various instruments, 4 hours and more in length
  • Gérard Grisey: "Périodes" for septet, Grisey helps popularize "spectral music" by exploring tone color derived from analyzing overtone structures.  Spectral music is based on pleasantly-dissonant layers of overtone pitches, realized orchestrally.  This piece would become part of the larger work "Les espaces acoustiques", completed 1985
  • Rădulescu: "A Doini" for bowed vertical concert grand pianos, "spectrally retuned"
  • Wojciech Kilar: "Krzesany", for orchestra, influenced by songs and dances of the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland, ending includes a loud free improvisation crescendo 
  • Wolfgang Rihm's "Morphonie-Sektor IV" (for orchestra) at the Donaueschinger Festival marks the beginning of a return to more "conservative" musical styles (eventually leading to the "New Simplicity" movement).  This movement was also probably led by George Rochberg's String Quartet 3 (1971), which reverts to Romantic styles (but with some dissonance).  Penderecki and others would soon follow suit.
1975
  • Stockhausen: "Sirius", for soprano, bass (vocal), trumpet, and bass clarinet, with electronic tape, uses the EMS Synthi 100 synthesizer to compress and expand spatial melodies both horizontally and vertically
  • Frederic Rzewski: "The People United Will Never Be Defeated", for piano, applies 19th and 20th century piano vocabulary to a Chilean protest song in a set of 36 variations 
  • Cage: "Etudes Australes" (begun 1974), for piano, more star signs and chance composition
  • Cage: "Child of Tree", for amplified cactus (or amplified plant materials)
  • Carter: "A Mirror on Which to Dwell", for soprano and ensemble, Carter begins to use poetry as texts for somewhat more lyrical chamber cantatas
  • Jonathan Harvey: "Inner Light 3" orchestra w synth
  • Parmegiani: "De Natura Sonorum", tape, musique concrete masterpiece
  • Lou Reed: "Metal Machine Music", processed and feedback-driven guitar layers creating an aleatoric drone landscape
1976
  • Carter: "Symphony of Three Orchestras",  4 groups with overlapping movements and 12 types of music
  • Dutilleux: "Ainsi la nuit", string quartet, each of 7 movements focuses on a different "special" technique 
  • Nono: "...sofferte onde serene...", piano and tape, uses tapes of pre-recorded and processed held piano chords and string noises
  • Xenakis: "Dmaathen", for oboe and percussion, features extended techniques, sinuous and rhythmic
  • Ferneyhough: "Unity Capsule" for flute (begun 1973), more "unplayable" notation, designed to keep the player (and listener) off-balance and in a constant state of alertness (or panic!)
  • Salvatore Sciarrino: "Sei Capricci" for solo violin (begun 1975), explores fleeting harmonics and similar extended textures 
  • Arvo Pärt: "Für Alina", for piano, uses "tintinnabuli style", where notes of a scale melody are combines with notes of a resonating triad ("Holy Minimalism")
  • Louis Andriessen: "Hoketus", chamber group, uses chromatic cells in a minimalistic way (or perhaps minimalism with more dynamics and dissonance).  
  • Andriesson: "De Staat", choir and ensemble, dissonant minimalism
  • Maurice Ohana: "Sacral d'Ilx", uses harpsichord, brass and wind and multiphonics to evoke "ancient" traditions 
  • Gubaidulina: "Revue Music for Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Band", combines textural effects with funk jazz  
  • Reich: "Music for 18 Musicians" (begun 1974), female voice, piano, tuned percussion, wind, strings, probably the most famous Reich work 
  • Glass: "Einstein on the Beach", opera, plotless and minimalist, the audience is invited to come and go during the performance
1977
  • Stockhausen: "Der Jahreslauf", contemporary classical scored for traditional Japanese Gagaku orchestra
  • Stockhausen begins working on his "LICHT" opera cycle, which would incorporate all of his future works for almost the next 29 years
  • Xenakis: "Jonchaies" for 109 musicians, Xenakis explores folk (tribal) rhythm in his own personal style and incorporates some Balinese melodic elements
  • Ferneyhough: "Time and Motion Study II", for cello and live electronics, the cellist is miked so that the sounds of extreme exertion become part of the music 
  • Michael Finnissy: "English Country-Tunes", for piano, New Complexity frenzied ornamentation confronting English heritage, dreamy/pounding
  • Lachenmann: "Salut für Caudwell" for 2 acoustic guitars, explores slides, muffled picking and harmonics over and around the soundhole  
  • Sciarrino: "All'aure in una lontananza", flute, begins exploring breathy extended flute techniques in trembling pianissimo
  • Górecki: Symphony No. 3, Op. 36 ("Symphony of Sorrowful Songs", begun 1976), uses medieval modes, not popularized until 1992, another of the "Holy Minimalists"
  • Pärt: "Tabula Rasa" for two violins, prepared piano, and chamber orchestra, tintinnabuli style (also "Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten" for strings and bell)
  • Silvestrov: "Quiet Songs"/"Silent Songs", voice and piano, settings of classic Russian poems using Romantic style, gives the feeling of "perpetually ending"
  • Ligeti: "Le Grand Macabre" ("anti-anti-opera") 1st ver completed (begun 1975)
  • Boulez becomes the first director of IRCAM, a new electroacoustic studio facility in Paris
1978
  • Pärt: "Spiegel im Spiegel", piano and violin, various other arrangements, uses "tintinnabuli style"
  • Dutilleux: "Timbres, espace, mouvement", for orchestra without high strings, interprets Van Gogh's "The Starry Night" 
  • Xenakis: "Ikhoor", string trio, rhythmic and dynamic explorations reminiscent of Stravinsky early period
  • Xenakis: "La Légende d'Eer " (begun 1977), 7-channel tape, designed for "Le Diatope", a curved building with laser lights
1979
  • Crumb: "Makrokosmos", 4 volumes, for amplified piano (begun 1972)
  • Nono: "Con Luigi Dallapiccola", for 6 percussionists with electronics (sine generators, ring modulation, etc...)
  • Meredith Monk: "Dolmen Music", vocal sextet and cello, extended vocal techniques in tonal/minimalist settings 
  • Grisey: "Jour, Contre-jour" (begun 1978), for electric organ and ensemble, spectral drone music 
  • Grisey: "Tempus ex Machina", percussion group and pulsar signals, (later expanded into "Le Noir de l'etoile" (1989-90), explores polyrhythmic pulse rates 
  • Oliver Knussen: Third Symphony (begun 1973), engages both early 20th century expressiveness and Carter-like rhythmic complexity
  • Brant: "Orbits, a Spatial Symphonic Ritual for 80 Trombones, Organ and Sopranino Voice"
  • Sciarrino: "Un'immagine Di Arpocrate", opera
  • Xenakis finishes the computer program UPIC, which can convert images to music (such as "Mycenae Alpha" from the previous year)
  • A movement dubbed "New Simplicity" arises (including Rihm) which rebels against the complexity of avant garde music and turns back towards traditional harmony, melody and forms
1980
  • Tristan Murail: "Gondwana", for orchestra, spectral work based on harmonics from bell and trombone sounds, inspired by continental drift
  • Claude Vivier: "Lonely Child", for soprano and orchestra, spectral music with more melodic and ritual elements
  • Sciarrino: "Anamorfosi", piano, humourous work which layers Nacio Herb Brown's "Singin' in the Rain"  over Ravel's "Jeux d'eau" (Water Games)
  • Boulez: "Répons" (revised 1984), orchestra with live electronics, uses computer transformation on percussion soloists, premiered at IRCAM.
  • Subotnick: "After the Butterfly", trumpet and chamber instruments with "ghost electronics"
  • Harvey: "Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco", 8-track tape
  • John Stump: "Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz (from 'A Tribute to Zdenko G. Fibich')", humor score
1981
  • Stockhausen's 1st opera, "Donnerstag aus LICHT"/"Thursday from Light" is premiered.
  • Cage: "Thirty Pieces for Five Orchestras", first usage of "time bracket" notation (placement of note attack is aleatoric in a time duration), which would be used in the "number pieces" and the "Music for __" pieces.
  • Sessions: "Concerto for Orchestra", Pulitzer Prize  
  • Andriessen: "De Tijd", for orchestra, sustained textures with high metallic accents
  • Sciarrino: "Efebo con Radio", for voice and orchestra, imitates the sound of scanning through popular radio stations (includes instrumentally-created "static")
  • Poul Ruders: "Violin Concerto", a modern pastiche of Vivaldi 
  • Arthur Kreiger: "Variations On A Theme By Davidovsky", first (?) electronic work based on variations of a previous electronic work
1982
  • Stockhausen: "Lucifer's Farewell", a male chorus enacts a drama in a church, and then release a live bird at the end
  • Ligeti: "Horn Trio", signals a return to Bartokian folk elements
  • Gubaidulina: "Seven Words" for cello, bayan, and strings
  • Tenney: "Clang", spectral work for aleatory chamber orchestra
  • Harrison: "Double Concerto (begun 1981) for violin, cello, and Javanese gamelan
  • Rădulescu: "Clepsydra" for 16 "sound icons", side-turned open string pianos
  • Harvey: "Bhakti" for ensemble and electronics
1983
  • Feldman: 2nd String Quartet, (up to) 6-hours long, explores large scale but quiet surfaces
  • John Adams: "Shaker Loops", for 7 strings, explores (mostly) tonal and minimalistic tremolo, trill and ostinati patterns 
  • Cage: "Ryoanji", various arrangements, uses graphic notation to indicate pitch, based on the Japanese sand garden
  • Sciarrino: "Piano Sonata II", explores dialogue between an extreme high and low register chord and the rest of the piano 
  • Dumitrescu: "Gnosis", for contrabass, Dumitrescu continues his "phenomenological" approach, emphasizes unusual sounds and textures hiding the original instrument's identity
  • Frank Denyer: "After the Rain", explores non-Western instrumentation and pulsing, natural processes 
  • Murail: "Désintégrations", for tape and 17 players (begun 1982) 
1984
  • Stockhausen's 2nd opera, "Samstag aus LICHT"/"Saturday from Light" is premiered.
  • Babbitt: "Sheer Pluck", for guitar, complex and jagged, unlike the other "original Complexity" composers (Stockhausen, Boulez, etc...), Babbit continues writing enigmatic, difficult music
  • James Dillon: "Sgothan", flute, jagged, charged New Complexity work
  • Sciarrino: "Hermes" for flute, explores flute harmonics in wide dynamic ranges (as well as other extended techniques)
  • Rădulescu: "Das Andere" for viola, explores solo string harmonics in just intonation
  • Penderecki: "A Polish Requiem" (begun 1980, updated 1993), vocal soloists, choir, orchestra, a Requiem Mass using a return to avant-garde techniques
  • Rodion Shchedrin: "Self-Portrait, variations for symphony orchestra", episodes of various degrees of dissonance, portrays 20th-century Russian strife under the earlier oppressive regime 
  • John Zorn: "Cobra", combines his previous "game piece" explorations in free improvisation group dynamics (begun in the late 1970's with "Lacrosse", "Hockey", "Pool", "Archery", etc...) and gives the performers advanced abilities to form and direct subgroups of improvising ensembles within the larger ensemble.  His next work, "Xu Feng" would begin to add musical directives to the free improvisation structures (dynamics, tempo, styles, etc...).
  • Grisey: "Les Chants de l'amour" (begun 1982), for 12 (or 14) voices and tape, tape uses both processed and synthesized voices, vocals include text in 22 languages
  • Tenney: "Spectral CANON for CONLON Nancarrow" (begun 1982), for player piano, 24 harmonics pulsing at their frequency ratios
1985
  • Ligeti: "Études pour piano", Book 1, six etudes exploring polyrhythms, partly inspired by music from sub-Saharan Africa
  • Carter: "Penthode", for orchestra, 20 players in 5 disparate subgroups, with a melody which winds itself through the orchestra, (also String Quartet 4, with a similar design)
  • Ferneyhough: "Etudes transcendantales" (begun 1982), song cycle for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble of 4, a modern, New Complexity answer to Schoenberg's classic, "Pierrot Lunaire" 
  • Ellen Fullman: "The Long String Instrument"
  • Nono: "Prometeo" (begun 1981) opera with multiple orchestras and live sound manipulation 
  • Magnus Lindberg: "Kraft" (begun 1983), for orchestra, electronics and mobile "junk" percussionists (Toimii Ensemble), a meeting between industrial rock and modern avant-garde textures
1986
  • Stockhausen: "Xi", explores microtonal scale timbres for wind soloist
  • György Kurtág: "Kafka-Fragmente" (begun 1985) for soprano and violin, 40 short movements inspired by the stark miniatures of Webern (chromatic but not 12-tone).  Kurtág addresses the music of the past with the extreme sonorities of the present.
  • Birtwistle: "Earth Dances", for orchestra
  • Birtwistle: "The Mask of Orpheus", opera, uses multiple layers of action (multiple stages) in non-linear narrative 
  • Dench: "sulle scale della Fenice", for flute, New Complexity but has some repeated melodic elements
  • Gubaidulina: "Stimmen Verstummen", symphony in 12 movements, features a silent "conductor's solo".  Gubaidulina uses exotic and unusual instrumental groupings in her work in a kind of spiritual chromaticism.
  • Gubaidulina: "Offertorium" (1st version 1980), violin and orchestra 
  • Grisey: "Talea", for 5 instruments, Grisey begins applying spectral music techniques to faster structures
  • Dumitrescu: "Harryphonies (alpha, beta, gamma, epsilon)", chamber ensembles, uses Dumitrescu's invented contact mike and percussion instrument the "Harryphono"
  • Heinz Holliger: "Übungen zu Scardanelli", choir, ensemble and tape, settings of Hölderlin's "mad" poetry, using extended vocal techniques (microtones, breath, etc...) organized in Barogue forms
  • Harvey: "Madonna of Winter and Spring", for orchestra, synthesizers and electronics
1987
  • Cage begins writing his "Number Pieces" which use indeterminate time notation ("time brackets")
  • Cage: "Europeras", operas where both music and stage design (sets, costumes, etc...) are derived from indeterminacy
  • Philip Glass: "Violin Concerto No. 1"
  • Adams: "Nixon in China", opera
  • Nancarrow, String Quartet 3, Nancarrow begins writing multi-tempo canons for live performers (instead of player pianos)
  • Rădulescu: String Quartet Nr. 4, Opus 33: "Infinite to be cannot be infinite, infinite anti-be could be infinite" (begun 1976), 9 string quartets, making 128 + 4 strings, create a spectral "viola de gamba"
  • Dillon: "helle Nacht" (begun 1986), for orchestra, New Complexity informed by Xenakis and "Rite of Spring"
  • Nono: "Post-Prae-ludium No.1 (per Donau)", for tuba & live electronics, the notated score is basically "an example" of what the performer should play, the electronics create delay loops of the tuba sound 
  • George Benjamin: "Antares" (begun 1985) for chamber orchestra and electronics
  • Zorn: "Spillane", uses "file-card" system to organize "sound scenes" based on a literary theme, uses studio overdubbing and jazz improvisation elements
  • Tod Machover: "VALIS", an electronic opera using "hyperinstruments" (motion-controlled effects), based on Philip K. Dick's book. 
1988
  • Stockhausen's 3rd opera, "Montag aus LICHT"/"Monday from Light" is premiered.
  • Ligeti: "Piano Concerto" (begun 1985), draws on jazz-blues, Bartok and Nancarrow
  • Zorn: "Cat O'Nine Tails (Tex Avery Meets the Marquis de Sade)", string quartet with cartoon music elements
  • Finnissy: "Red Earth" (begun 1987), for orchestra, ritualistic/impressionistic, influenced by Australian aborigine culture, includes didgeridoo
  • Peter Sculthorpe: "Kakadu", for orchestra, influenced by Northern Australian Aboriginal music
  • Oliveros forms her "Deep Listening Band" after descending 14 feet into an underground cistern to make a recording.  Deep Listening is based on improvisational interaction with the environment. 
1989
  • Nono: "La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura" (begun 1988), violin solo with 8 tapes of pre-recorded and processed violin, adjusted by the sound mixer 
  • Richard Barrett, "Tract I", for piano, rhythmically interesting New Complexity
  • Tan Dun: "Nine Songs", sung in both Classical Chinese and contemporary English alongside Western and Chinese instruments (including 50 invented instruments)
  • Nancarrow: "Concerto for Player Piano and Orchestra", an orchestration of movements 1 and 3 of Study No. 49 
  • Rihm: String Quartet No. 8, thorny, noisy, players appear to revise the score during performance
1990
  • Gubaidulina: "Alleluia", boy vocal, choir, orchestra, color organ
  • Benjamin: "Upon Silence", for Mezzo-soprano and string ensemble of 7 players
  • Xenakis: "Tetora" for string quartet,  dissonant blocks, somewhat canonic
1991
  • Stockhausen: "Oktophonie", 8-channel tape, uses a 3-dimensional "cube" sound space to simulate a "war" environment
  • Chris Dench: "Severance", for guitar, New Complexity, a sweeping, percussive, sparkling work
  • Messiaen: "Éclairs sur l'Au-Delà" (begun 1987), for orchestra
  • Berio: "Continuo", for orchestra
  • Kurtág: "Samuel Beckett: What is the Word" (begun 1990), voices and ensemble
  • Michael Finnissy: "Seven Sacred Motets", for vocal group
  • Zorn: "Carny", for piano
1992
  • Stockhausen: "Paare vom Freitag" (from "Freitag aus Licht"), vocoder-processed concrete sounds with voice
  • Kaija Saariaho: "Amers", cello concerto
  • Osvaldo Golijov: "Yiddishbbuk", string quartet
  • Gerald Barry: "Piano Quintet", blends Celtic themes with machine-age rhythms
  • Lachenmann: "... Zwei Gefühle ..." (extract from The Little Match Girl, begun 1991), for 2 speakers & small orchestra
1993
  • Stockhausen: "Helikopter-Streichquartett", tremolo glissandi with the sounds of helicopter rotor blades (violinists are flown around and video projected to the hall)
  • Ligeti: "Violin Concerto (begun 1989), has polyrhythms, folk elements and just intonation
  • Berio: "Notturno", string quartet
  • Schnittke: "Gesualdo", opera
  • Gubaidulina: Fourth String Quartet
  • Gubaidulina: "Now always Snow", for voices and orchestra
  • Benjamin: "Sudden Time" (begun 1989), for orchestra
  • Dumitrescu: "Galaxy" acousmatic and spectral music for 3 harryphonos, 3 percussionists and computer
1994
  • Grisey: "L'Icône paradoxale" (begun 1992), for female vocal soloists and orchestra
  • Kurtág: "Stele", for orchestra
  • Hanspeter Kyburz: "Cells", for saxophone and ensemble
  • Saariaho: "Graal théâtre", violin concerto
  • Golijov: "The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind", clarinet quintet
  • Ades: "Arcadiana", string quartet
  • Zorn: "Aporias", for piano and orchestra
  • Birtwistle: "The Second Mrs Kong" (begun 1993), opera 
  • Ed Chang: "Picture Show", various instrumentation, aleatory compositions based on cued layers of musical "behavior" formulas
1995
  • Berio: "Sequenza XIII", for accordion
  • Gerard Pesson: "Mes Beatitudes", piano quartet
  • Harvey: "Missa brevis", for choir
  • Dench: "Beyond Status Geometry", 4 percussionists, dense, near-unplayable New Complexity music
  • Steve Martland: "Beat the Retreat", chamber ensemble, blends Henry Purcell, minimalism
  • Harvey: "Soleil noir/Chitra", for chamber group and electronics
  • Paul Keenan: "Palimpsest", for soprano, ensemble and electronics (begun 1992), based on analysis of trombone multiphonics
  • Saariaho: "L'Amour de loin", opera
  • Alexander Goehr: "Arianna", contemporary setting of 1608 opera by Monteverdi,  including contrabassoon, saxophone, Akai sampler and electric guitar
1996
  • Berio: "Ekphrasis", for orchestra
  • Berio: "Outis", opera (begun 1995)
  • Xenakis: "Ittidra", for string sextet, abrasive, industrial sonorities
  • Grisey: "Vortex Temporum" (begun 1994), piano ensemble, jagged shapes and dark textures in different combinations
  • Murail: "Bois flotté", chamber quintet with live electronics, based on spectral analysis of sea sounds
  • Brice Pauset: "M", for 2 sopranos, contralto and 2 ensemble
  • Mark-Anthony Turnage: "Blood on the Floor" for electric jazz group and orchestra blending scored notation and jazz/fusion improvisation
  • Birtwistle: "Pulse Shadows" (begun 1989), opera
  • Lachenmann: "Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern"/"The Little Match Girl" (begun 1990), opera
  • Georg Freidrich Haas: "Nacht", opera
1997
  • Haas: String Quartet 1
  • Kurtág: "Hölderlin Gesänge" (begun 1993), for Baritone
  • Benjamin: "Viola, Viola", for 2 violas
  • Zorn: "Shibboleth", for clavichord, three muted strings and percussion
  • Thomas Adès: "Asyla", for orchestra, 3rd movement inspired by techno-music 
  • Judith Weir: "Piano Concerto", for piano and strings, consonant and light but includes synthetic scales
  • Tan Dun: "Symphony 1997 (Heaven Earth Mankind)", cello, orchestra, children's orchestra, and ancient Chinese instruments including Bianzhong chime bells, celebrating the return of Hong Kong to China, premiered with Yo-Yo Ma, includes field recording tape of traditional Hong Kong street opera ("Peking Opera")
  • Tavener: "Fall and Resurrection", cantata, inspired by Byzantine chant, includes saxophone as well as ancient instruments 
  • Olga Neuwirth: "...?risonanze!...", for viola d'amore, spectral music for solo strings
  • Brett Dean: "Carlo", for strings with sampler and tape
  • Lindberg: "Related Rocks", for two pianos, two percussionists and electronics, percussive sounds are gradually transformed into other textures using "diphône technique" developed at IRCAM
1998
  • Grisey: "Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil" (begun 1996), for soprano and ensemble
  • Kurtág: "...pas a pas-Null part…" (begun 1993), baritone, string trio w perc.
  • Rolf Riehm: "Hawking", for spatially separated chamber ensemble
  • Pauset: "Huit Canons", period oboe concerto
  • Gubaidulina: "In the Shadow of the Tree", for koto, bass koto, Chinese zheng and orchestra 
  • Holliger: "Schneewittchen", opera, based on Snow White
  • Sciarrino: "Luci mie traditrici" (Oh My Betraying Eyes) (begun 1996), opera based on Gesualdo
  • Péter Eötvös: "Three Sisters", opera
1999
  • Gubaidulina: "Two Paths", for 2 Viola soloists and orchestra, chromatic and impressionistic
  • Lachenmann: "Nun", double concerto for flute and trombone with 8 male voices and orchestra,  includes indeterminate elements and form
  • Harvey: "White as Jasmine", song cycle, orchestra and electronics
  • Berio: "La cronaca del luogo" (begun 1998), opera
  • Ed Chang and Motoko Shimizu: "Spin-17", for 2 players, electroacoustic improvisations, impressions and re-arrangements of 20th century repertoire 
  • Ed Chang: "Ring steppers" (w John Dieterich, David Forlano, Sean O'Donnell), electronics, 4 independently-realized electronic tapes are re-assembled/re-processed in 4 successive iterations, with a final re-processing by the original composer as the last iteration ‎and final work
2000
  • Gubaidulina: "Johannes-Passion" (begun 1999), choir and orchestra
  • Haas: "in vain", chamber ensemble
  • Pesson: "Forever Valley"(begun 1999), opera
  • Pauset: "Kontra-Sonate, for piano (to be played with Schubert's Sonata in A minor, D.845)", for piano
  • Poul Ruders: "Paganini Variations - Guitar Concerto No. 2", variations using modern harmony
  • Golijov: "La Pasión según San Marcos (St. Mark Passion)", voices and orchestra, originally an homage to Bach's "St Matthew Passion", it uses several Latin and Afro-Cuban musical styles and uses ethnic instrumentation (guitar, accordion, many percussion instruments)
2001
  • Ligeti: Piano Etudes Book 3 (begun 1995)
  • Haas: String Quartet 3: "In iij Noct"
  • Peter Ablinger: "Orte", various ensembles in 3 environments
2002
  • Ligeti: "Hamburg Concerto"(begun 1998), for solo horn and chamber ensemble, layers mixed tuning systems
  • Toshio Hosokawa: "Deep Silence/Gagaku", duets for shō (bamboo mouth organ), and accordion in the traditional Japanese "Gagaku style" 
  • Heiner Goebbels: "Landscape with Distant Relatives"/"Landschaft mit entfernten Verwandten", opera
  • Neuwirth: "Lost Highway", opera, based on the David Lynch film
2003
  • Stockhausen: "Sonntags-Abschied" for 5 synthesizers (or tape), the final scene of the 29-hour LICHT opera cycle is completed.
  • Kurtág: "…concertante…" (begun 2002), for violin, viola and orchestra
  • Steven Stucky: "Second Concerto for Orchestra"
  • Jörg Widmann: "Third String Quartet (Hunting Quartet)"/"'3. Streichquartett - Jagdquartett", a dissonant traversal of Beethoven's 7th Symphony.  Widmann draws from the Romantic composers as well as Xenakis and Lachenmann.
  • Lucier: "Ever Present", for flute, saxophone and piano with electronics
2004
  • Stockhausen: "Himmelfahrt" for organ, Stockhausen begins KLANG cycle of chamber works
  • Ferneyhough: "Shadowtime" (begun 1999), opera
2005
  • Lachenmann: "Concertini" (begun 2004), for orchestra
  • Beat Furrer: "FAMA" (begun 2004), chamber group
  • Pesson: "Wunderblock (Nebenstucke II)", accordion and orchestra
  • Mark Andre: "durch", for soprano saxophone, piano & percussion
  • Donacha Dennehy: "Elastic Harmonic", violin concerto
  • Haas: "Sieben Klangraume, accompanying the unfinished fragments of Mozart's Requiem", for choir and orchestra,
2006
  • Boulez: "Derive 2" (begun 1988), orchestra
  • Haas: "Hyperion", concerto for light and orchestra (4 groups), uses light cues to "conduct" aleatoric elements
  • Rebecca Saunders: "Stirrings Still", for five players: alto flute, oboe, clarinet in A, piano and crotales
  • Pierluigi Billone: "1 + 1 = 1" for 2 bass clarinets
2007
  • Stockhausen: "Cosmic Pulses", 24 polytemporal-spatial electronic layers 
  • Gubaidulina: "In tempus praesens", for violin and orchestra
  • Ferneyhough: "Dum transisset I-IV for string quartet"
  • Furrer: Piano Concerto (frenetic/noirish piano sonorities are reflected and magnified in the orchestral parts)
2008
  • Kurtág: Colinda-Balada (begun 2006), for Chamber Ensemble and Choir
  • Ferneyhough: "Chronos-Aion" (begun 2007), for orchestra
  • Hans Abrahamsen: "Schnee" (begun 2006), for two pianos and percussion with trios of woodwinds and strings
  • Birtwistle: "The Corridor", opera
2009
  • Ablinger: "DEUS CANTANDO (God, singing)", for computer-controlled piano and screened text (with voice recordings)
  • Ablinger: "Landschaftsoper Ulrichsberg", a "happening" in 14 locations
  • Neuwirth: "No more", ensemble with laptop and collage samples, summarizes 20th-century music (and culture) with samples
2010
  • Ferneyhough: Sixth String Quartet


Links
Modern Music A Concise History (Paul Griffiths)
Modern Music and After, 3rd Edition (Paul Griffiths)
A History of Electronic Music Pioneers (Dunn)
Summary of Western Classical Music History (Marlon Feld)
Music, Instruments and Innovations During the 20th Century (Espie Estrella)
Music history online : Music of the 20th century (Brian Blood)
Music since 1960 (The Rambler blog, Tim Rutherford-Johnson)
A guide to contemporary classical music (Tom Service, The Guardian)
A Brief History of Developments in 20th Century Classical Music, related to the compositional style of Frank Zappa (Chris Sansom)
20th Century Style
MICROCOSMS: A Simplified Approach to Musical Styles of the Twentieth Century (Phillip Magnuson)  
Classical Music: 1600-2000: A Chronology (Jon Paxman) 
20th century composers: making the connections 
A Guide to Modern Music (www.scaruffi.com)
The Apres-garde: A History of Avantgarde Music

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