Menu Close

Swedish composer Catherine Christer Hennix, a disciple of La Monte Young, passes away at her Istanbul home.

Swedish composer and experimental artist Catherine Christer Hennix, known for her fusion of minimalist drones, mathematical logic and spiritual traditions in an approach she called “infinite composition”, died suddenly on Sunday 19 November at her home in Istanbul, according to Lawrence Kumpf, founder and artistic director of Blank Forms, the label that published her work. She was 75 years old.

Although she trained in the 1960s in the tradition of Xenakis and Stockhausen, in 1968, during a trip to New York, Hennix met Fluxus artists Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles, who introduced her to other Fluxus musicians, including Henry Flynt and La Monte Young. Through the latter, she met the Hindustani raga master Pandit Pran Nath at the Nuits du Fondation Maeght festival in 1970, and from then on she continued his studies with Young and Pran Nath throughout the 1970s. Last September Blank Forms had released Solo for Tamburium, a work she premiered in 2017, in Berlin, at the MaerzMusik, in which she played the tamburium, an instrument of her own invention consisting of a keyboard interface that controls a set of eighty-eight tambura recordings.

Recently, Hennix had been chosen as the first winner of the 2023 grant from the newly established Sundén Art Foundation, an organisation founded in Sweden by siblings Annika and Anders Sundén to promote Swedish contemporary art by awarding a grant to an active Swedish artist each year. The jury had noted that “Hennix’s art interweaves expressions and techniques and is driven by a wide range of references ranging from logic, intuitive mathematics, music and psychoanalysis. Through the grant we hope to bring this pioneering art to the Swedish public and to celebrate a practice that remains highly experimental and innovative”. Hennix received the news of the grant in October and said the award was, for her, “the best news of the year so far. I am very grateful for their choice, which comes at a time of great uncertainty. The award was due to be presented on 24 November, but just five days before the ceremony the artist died at her home.

© Photograph of Catherine Christer Hennix taken by Fergus Padel and downloaded from the Sundens Art Foundation website.