This Music Should Not Exist

György Ligeti’s music is filled with drama because his life was dramatic. By mere luck, he narrowly escaped Nazi extermination in a Jewish labor camp. Even liberation of Hungary by the Soviets eventually turned into another oppression he had to flee. Trapped by geopolitics, he was continually haunted by visions of webs, of malfunctioning, menacing machines, of confined spaces, while he yearned for freedom, expression, and the open spaces of a creative life.

His work embodies these dreams and nightmares. Melodies intertwine to form dense webs, conflicting rhythms tick like a roomful of haywire clocks, and the tiny spaces between notes are packed with charged activity. Ligeti fit these musical ideas into experimental sounds, shapes and forms that made him one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century.

Alarm Will Sound’s production tells Ligeti’s story through a blend of music, text and imagery. Centered on his Chamber Concerto and Piano Concerto, the performance makes the connection between biography and music, explore the relationship of politics and art, and shed light on a unique artistic imagination.

The production will feature John Orfe as soloist in the Piano Concerto.

Alarm Will Sounds wishes to thank Jeff Johnson for his invaluable contribution to This Music Should Not Exist for his historical research on the life of György Ligeti.

This Music Should Not Exist Artists