This month the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Conservatoire, together with their partners, present Stockhausen: a Festival of LIGHT, a celebration of the work of the highly influential composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

StockhausenThe three day Festival includes performances from artists inspired by Stockhausen’s work, including Modified Toy Orchestra, Raffertie, BEAST, BCMG and Ostrich Box, as well as debates led by leading academics of electronic music.

German composer Stockhausen (1928-2007) is considered one of the most important and controversial composers of the last century. A ground-breaking visionary, he is known for his pioneering work in electronic music which has influenced such artists as The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd and Bjork amongst many others.

Stockhausen – A Festival of Light is timed to coincide with the world premiere of Mittwoch aus Licht (Wednesday from Light), performed by Birmingham Opera Company on 21-24 August. The opera is so complex, featuring a Helicopter String Quartet with real helicopters, two choirs, solo instrumentalists, live electronic and acoustic music and a dancing camel, that it has never been performed in its entirety until now.

Spread over three days, Stockhausen – A Festival of Light celebrates both Birmingham’s pedigree of presenting major works by the ground-breaking composer and the excellence of new music scene in the city. Leading specialists on Stockhausen from around the world will converge on Birmingham to speak at the Festival, with subjects including ‘Stockhausen in Birmingham’ and ‘Stockhausen’s musical helicopters’.

The Festival includes Modified Stockhausen, an evening at mac Birmingham with performances from musicians influenced by the pioneering composer, including Modified Toy Orchestra ( playing new material on souped-up versions of children’s toys. Birmingham-based experimental electronic collective Ostrich Box ( and Raffertie ( also perform. Dick Witts, music historian and member of post-punk The Passage starts the evening with his take on the links between the composer’s work and leftfield electronic music.

Other performances will take place across the three days by BCMG, Jack McNeill, Richard Barrett & Chris Cutler, Ian Pace, Chris Brannick and BEAST (Birmingham Electro-Acoustic Sound Theatre –

A highlight of the Festival will be an exclusive visit to the dress rehearsal of the sold out Mittwoch aus Licht at Argyle Works on Tuesday 21 August.

Stockhausen – A Festival of Light is part of the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK in celebration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Stockhausen – A Festival of LIGHT 
19 – 21 August 2012 – University of Birmingham, Birmingham Conservatoire, mac

  • 3 day festival inspired by the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen
  • New material from Modified Toy Orchestra plus performances by Raffertie and Birmingham-based BEAST and Ostrich Box.
  • Exclusive visit to the dress rehearsal of sold out Mittwoch aus Licht by Birmingham Opera Company.

Tickets for the full, three day festival are priced £65 (£45 concessions).  Tickets are also available for individual talks and performances.

Booking information and further details can be found at