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Platonic Rhizomes In Computer Music



A tribute to the Platonic View on the mathematical nature of music

(Lectures and Concert)

Tuesday 16th of September, 18.00, Gymnasium. Academy of Plato


Gymnasium, Academy of Plato (Alexandreias street, Kolonos , Athens)

The event Platonic Rhizomes in Computer music, offers a tribute to the contribution of Plato to the mathematical foundations of Music, as discussed in Timaeus, Republic, Laws and Epinomis, and the impact that his work had on composers of contemporary computer music such as Iannis Xenakis, Anestis Logothetis, and others. The event will take place at the archeological site of the Gymnasium next to the location of the original Academy of Plato. 

The concert will also feature the performance of two musical works.

The first one is Iannis Xenakis (1922 – 2001)’ “La Légende d’Eer” (1978). This multitrack electronic composition is a characteristic representative of Xenakis’ investigation of ancient Greek mythological and philosophical topics. It is directly related to Plato, as it is a reference to the Myth of the Land of Eer as told in the “Republic”.  It is furthermore inspired by other works of philosophy (Pascal’s “Pensées”, as well as physics topics (the phenomenon of supernovae).  The myth of Eer is a widely influential account of the immortality of the soul, which it also places in relationship to immutable laws of the universe (the Spindle of Necessity). The Spindle is described in terms of the orbits of the planets.  In musical terms, this finds a parallel to the relationship between the emotional and moral effects of the modes and the mathematical structure of scales or of musical sounds in general.

The second composition that is going to be presented is “Globus” (1978) by Anestis Logothetis (1921 - 1994). According to the composer, the flute melody represents “the person’s introverted serpentine path” while the sound environment describes “the globe which is characterized by continental borderlines defined by oceans and is covered with scattered explosive events like fireworks”. A deeper study of the above symbolism reveals the platonic belief that music aims at bringing the soul in concord with itself and the whole of the universe.


The event “Platonic Rhizomes in Computer Music” approaches this thematic complex from the point of view of contemporary technological research in computer music and comments on its philosophical repercussions.


17.30-18.30: Guided tour at the archeological site


PLATONIC Rhizomes in Computer music

J.C.Risset, J. Chowning, G. Assayag, M.Novak,  A.Discipio, M.Solomos, A.Marsden, P. Nelson, C Lippe, C. Barlow

Moderators: A. Georgaki, I.Zannos

20.00-21.30: CONCERT

Iannis Xenakis (1922 – 2001): La legende d'Eer(1978)

Anestis. Logothetis (1921 – 1994): Globus (1978)

                                                                                 Katerina Zenz: flute

Reception drink (21.30-22.30)

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