Stockhausen: The Cosmic Conspiracy

Friday 24 July 2009

What about my symphony No. 3? I forgot to write…simple, like that–therefore recently, I commissioned Ken Friedman to write my Symphony No. 3.
— Nam June Paik, “My Ten Symphonies” in Source: Music of the Avant Garde, Number 11, 1973/74.

My BELOW-LEFT Symphony was here.
Someone must have torn it off.
Now will no one ever hear it?
March 15th 2003

Sigmar Polke, “Higher beings ordered: paint the right upper corner black!”, 1969.

For beings from the planets of the Sirius system, “everything is music, or the art of co-ordination and harmony of vibrations. . . . The art is very highly developed there, and every composition on Sirius is related to the rhythms of nature . . . the seasons, the rhythms of the stars.”

— Karlheinz Stockhausen, Towards a Cosmic Music, 1989.

Other snippets of vitally important information then came to me through a couple of revelatory dreams. Crazy dreams, from which it emerged that not only did I come from Sirius itself, but that, in fact, I completed my musical education there.

— Karlheinz Stockhausen, in Mya Tannenbaum, Conversations with Stockhausen, 1987.


Ken Friedman gladly wrote Nam June Paik’s 3rd Symphony, but reported that the score was lost at the rehearsal in Saugus, during the San Fernando earthquake of 1971. The earthquake itself constituted the finale of the piece.