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60th anniversary of “Atmosphères”.

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the world premiere of Atmosphères, one of the masterpieces of Hungarian composer György Ligeti (1923-2006). The short piece was included by Stanley Kubrick in the soundtrack of his film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), without the composer’s permission, but it served to popularise the composer’s name, making him one of the great names of 20th century classical music.

The work had been commissioned by Südwestrundfunk or SWR (Southwest Broadcasting), one of Germany’s leading public broadcasters, and was given its world premiere on 22 October 1961 at the Donaueschngen Festival, with Hans Rosbaud conducting the SWF Symphony Orchestra. After Apparitions (1958-59), it was the second piece Ligeti composed to explore what he called “micropolyphonic” textures.