One of the leading figures of the Darmstadt School, Stockhausen's compositions and theories were and remain widely influential, not only on composers of art music but also on jazz and popular-music artists
Stockhausen was widely acknowledged as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. He is known for his groundbreaking work in electronic music, aleatory (controlled chance) in serial composition, and musical spatialisation. He was educated in Cologne and later studied in Paris (with Messiaen) and Bonn. One of the leading figures of the Darmstadt School, his compositions and theories were and remain widely influential, not only on composers of art music but also on jazz and popular-music artists.
His works, composed over a period of nearly 60 years, break new ground and turn their back on traditional methods. In addition to electronic music – both with and without live performers – they range from miniatures for musical boxes through works for solo instruments, songs, chamber music, choral and orchestral music, to a cycle of seven full-length operas: the operatic cycle Licht is possibly the most ambitious project ever undertaken by a major composer. His theoretical and other writings comprise 10 large volumes. He received numerous prizes and distinctions for his compositions and recordings, and for the scores produced by his publishing company.