Catherine Christer Hennix

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Young / Flynt / Conrad compatriot, never released a single record (though appears on Flynt's 'Purified by the Fire'), ubuweb just put these up

on the Dutch 3 hour broadcast, skip to 24:57 for the 33-minute 'Waves of the Blue Sea', those don't sound like oboes

Waves of the blue sea. 2 Amplified renaissance oboes and sine waves
from Work Cycle Chagaku 1973-1975

0:24 - ?
6:55 - ?
24:57 - waves of the blue sea
59:45 - electric harpischord
1:27:30 - five times repeated music
2:09:17 - silicon solitone lifetime (or, just drifitng in the year of the blues for la monte young)

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 22:47 (fifteen years ago) link

here we go


The music of the Swedish-American composer, philosopher and artist Catherine Christer Hennix (1948) but has rarely been heard, both on the radio and in concert halls.

These pupils of the American minimal music pioneer La Monte Young lives since early nineties in Amsterdam, where she has worked as a scientist. Hennix learned of La Monte Young in 1969, and immediately became his pupil. For much of La Monte Young's compositions, the young Hennix a robust mathematical and muziektheoretische basis. But she also composed a whole series of works. The Concertzender presented in this special theme broadcast for the first three hours of music by Catherine Christer Hennix, with different radiopremières.

Hennix in the seventies a number of electronic works for La Monte Young realized, including his Drift Study'15 X 70 2:00-3:00 in the electronic music studio EMS in Stockholm. In 1970, she was also pupil of the northern Indian Kirana meesterzanger Pandit Pran Nath. Meetings which would exert a great influence on her musical style. Hennix also drew inspiration from the Japanese Gagaku music and early vocal, thirteenth-century music of Perotinus and Leoninus. In addition Hennix frequently worked together with the American composer / violinist Henry Flynt. Together with Flynt has Hennix a number dronewerken for violin and tamboura.

The Indian tamboura became Hennix 'lijfinstrument addition to the drums. Because in the seventies and eighties played Hennix as drumster also advanced with jazz musicians as bassist Marc Johnson and tenorsaxofonist / pianist Arthur Rhames. In addition, Hennix active as a poet and artist, and her work is included in the collections of, inter alia, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

All major compositions Catherine Christer Hennix regarded as a small part of an ongoing, endless compositiecyclus, or in her words, 'infinitary Composition. " One of her most famous work is also a part of this endless cycle, "The Electric Harpsichord" from 1976 to Yamaha 3-tuned manual keyboard and sinusgolven. In this broadcast you hear this minimalist classic alongside other work from 1973-75. Working to include enhanced renaissancehobo who Hennix realized for a ten-hour live concert at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in the spring of 1976. This three-hour broadcast theme ends with Hennix 'monumental, most recent drone-composition from 2003: "Silicon Soliton Live-Time (00:49:49: ... from 49:49:49:…) or Just Driftin' in the Year of the Blues for La Monte Young. " A work that Hennix could achieve through the collaboration of computer-klankarchitect Tejo Bolten.

Catherine Christer Hennix: From the Work Cycle CHAGAKU (1973-75)

1. The Hashigakari Chord - sine wave trichord composition (1973-present) (portions here during spreekmomenten)
2. Central Palace - Music - Renaissance amplified solo oboe & sine waves (CC Hennix solo)
3. Netori / Hashigakari - for sine waves, sho and oboe (Hans Isgren amplified-sheng; CC Hennix - Renaissance amplified oboe & sine waves)
4.Waves of the Blue Sea - for sine waves and two oboes Renaissance (CC Hennix - Renaissance amplified oboe & sine waves + Peter Hennix - Renaissance amplified oboe)
5. The Electric Harpsichord (CC Hennix on 3-manual tuned Yamaha keyboard & sine waves)
6. Five Times Repeated Music (CC Hennix - Renaissance amplified oboe & sine waves + Peter Hennix - Renaissance amplified oboe)
7. Silicon Soliton Live-Time (00:49:49: ... from 49:49:49:…) or Just Driftin 'in the Year of the Blues for La Monte Young

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 22:56 (fifteen years ago) link

that electric harpsichord thing is amazing.

GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ, Thursday, 24 April 2008 12:49 (fifteen years ago) link


am0n, Thursday, 24 April 2008 14:54 (fifteen years ago) link

Electric harpsichord is really great. Anyone recommend any recordings of these Notre Dame composers, Leonin and Perotin? Sounds like there's quite a bit of room for interpretation.

This and this seem to suggest the music's by a guy just called Christer Hennix. I'm confused, but anyway, this is some good stuff.

ogmor, Saturday, 26 April 2008 00:36 (fifteen years ago) link

thanks for linking those

I think it's definitely a she

the only Perotin I have is the Hilliard Ensemble on ECM, which is beautifully trancey but also very ECM glossy, there's a Leonin / Perotin CD on Naxos I want to hear

Milton Parker, Saturday, 26 April 2008 01:10 (fifteen years ago) link

flynt refers to hennix as a he in this interview

am0n, Thursday, 8 May 2008 21:05 (fifteen years ago) link

interesting find

the marcus boon interview (which seems to be a conversation) says that catherine is a she. reclusives find gender a fun thing to toggle.

Milton Parker, Thursday, 8 May 2008 22:33 (fifteen years ago) link

I can't say that I know what I mean by that, though

Milton Parker, Thursday, 8 May 2008 22:39 (fifteen years ago) link


am0n, Thursday, 8 May 2008 23:14 (fifteen years ago) link

two years pass...

soundohm, why all your links gotta break like that


Milton Parker, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 22:26 (thirteen years ago) link

Agh. I want this so bad but I can't shell up the bucks. Dangit.

carlx, Friday, 23 July 2010 17:59 (thirteen years ago) link

two months pass...

La Monte Young and Henry Flynt have praised her merger of music and mathematics for decades (well, initially his merger — Christer Hennix was born in 1948 and took the name Catherine when she adopted the female gender in 1990).

well there you go

Milton Parker, Thursday, 7 October 2010 17:52 (thirteen years ago) link

four years pass...

Only discovered this amazing record a few weeks ago:

Can't say enough good things about it - would imagine anyone who likes drones would love it.

toby, Monday, 23 March 2015 06:48 (eight years ago) link

eight years pass...


budo jeru, Monday, 20 November 2023 23:18 (two weeks ago) link

budo jeru, Monday, 20 November 2023 23:41 (two weeks ago) link

aw, i loved The Electric Harpsichord

Deflatormouse, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 20:53 (two weeks ago) link

...but this Deontic Miracle performance is ten times better, holy shit

Deflatormouse, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 23:00 (two weeks ago) link

i already want to hear it again

Deflatormouse, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 23:05 (two weeks ago) link

Fabio on Strength Through Failure on WFMU played 3 tracks by her this evening, my introduction just as I saw this thread on SNA. Amazing new discovery for me. The harpsichord and marimba tracks are incredible, sublime, resounding echoes.

glumdalclitch, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 23:24 (two weeks ago) link

she would be stone-cold classic if all she ever did was play on Henry Flynt's "Purified by the Fire"

the record I linked is amazing, i agree, as is this solo recording, another one of Blank Forms' excellent archival issues:

budo jeru, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 23:31 (two weeks ago) link

(you can click through from that link to see the other CCH material, most of which is still in print but also available for digital download)

budo jeru, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 23:35 (two weeks ago) link

omigod the marimba one 😍😍😍
Tamburium up next
how'd I miss this Deontic Miracle release??

Deflatormouse, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 23:46 (two weeks ago) link

you mean on the early piano works comp??? yes!!!

budo jeru, Wednesday, 22 November 2023 02:12 (two weeks ago) link


budo jeru, Wednesday, 22 November 2023 02:13 (two weeks ago) link

just checked our ILX ambient poll, where there is precisely one mention of CCH ... from me, lmao

but that marimba piece, which is new to me, should be regarded alongside robert turman's "flux" (i'm now deciding) as one of the alltime great avant ambient compositions!

budo jeru, Wednesday, 22 November 2023 02:15 (two weeks ago) link


i would add that if you're only going to have one minimal/drone record it should probably be that recording of the Deontic Miracle show budo jeru posted.

Early Piano Works comp is breathtaking, "glittery" is otm! i've listened to most of her discography today and it's all superlative.

Deflatormouse, Wednesday, 22 November 2023 02:36 (two weeks ago) link

I wanted to ask: What’s something in this world that you find profoundly beautiful that keeps you encouraged, that keeps you going?

For me Allah is the most beautiful, and everything else is maybe less beautiful.

What facet about Allah is most alluring to you?

Well, it’s everything! It’s the only thing that truly exists. It has an eternal existence and everything else is perishing, as you may notice if you look on TV.

How long have you believed in Allah?

It’s part of my training as a musician by ​Pandit Pran Nath​. The music is focused on an Indian idea that is expressed as Nada Brahma which means—and this is a not-so-good translation—“sound is God.” If you look in any English dictionary you’ll never find that God means Brahma or Allah or anything like that nor that Brahma or Allah means “God” were you to look in a Sanskrit or Arabic dictionary, so that is a quite misleading translation. It’s the colonial translation, you could say.

So there’s this idea that sound is God and you also said that Allah is the most beautiful—the only thing that isn’t perishing—does this mean you see sound as being something that is eternal?

Yeah, yeah—there’s a cosmic sound​ that is eternal.

[/b]Can you expand on that?[/b]

It’s an unbroken sound, it’s like a sound current that is always on—the universe is always on. It doesn’t stop when we go to bed or when we eat or do something else, it’s always something that is ongoing. And it’s the same with hearing; it’s not like our eyes, which you can close. You can never close your hearing—it’s always there. Even when there’s silence, the ear hears the silence, you see. It’s an organ that absorbs what is even invisible, while the eye only absorbs what is visible.

Deflatormouse, Wednesday, 22 November 2023 02:39 (two weeks ago) link

I know "organ" in that quote refers to the ear but i also read it as referring to the musical instrument

Deflatormouse, Wednesday, 22 November 2023 02:51 (two weeks ago) link

The first third of the Solo for Tamburim is very nice late evening music. Very reassuring.

il lavoro mi rovina la giornata (PBKR), Wednesday, 22 November 2023 02:54 (two weeks ago) link

Def, interesting quote! where's it from? here's the write-up i received in my inbox yesterday from Blank Forms:

Catherine Christer Hennix passed away at her home in Istanbul, Turkey yesterday. Born in Stockholm in 1948, Hennix was steeped in music and culture from a young age. Introduced by her mother to many of the era’s iconic jazz musicians, she saw luminaries including John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, and Eric Dolphy during their stints in Sweden, and took lessons from trumpeter Idrees Sulieman. Hennix was an early member of the Elektronmusikstudion (EMS), where she composed works for large mainframe computers in between her studies of biochemistry, linguistics, and mathematical logic. In 1968 she traveled to New York and quickly became immersed in the city’s downtown scene through Something Else Press’s Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles, who introduced her to figures such as John Cage and Walter De Maria. But most influential was her 1969 encounter with La Monte Young, whose approach to music would shape her artistic trajectory. In turn, Young introduced her to Pandit Pran Nath, of whom she became a disciple, and Henry Flynt, with whom she maintained a close collaboration with until her death. In the early ’70s, she returned to Sweden to found her own group inspired by the Theatre of Eternal Music, hoping to demonstrate how Young’s musical concepts were general enough to allow musicians to take many paths through them.

During the second half of the ’70s, Hennix was prolific as a musician, artist, and writer, although she struggled to find public outlets for her work with a few exceptions. In 1976 alone she co-organized the ten-day festival Brouwer’s Lattice at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, where she showcased the American composers Young, Terry Riley, and Terry Jennings alongside her own compositions, and presented the solo exhibition Toposes & Adjoints: Survey of Abstract Concept Formations from Cantor to Lawvere, while pursuing a degree in mathematical logic at Uppsala University, writing poetry, and producing her first abstract Nō drama. Throughout this period, Hennix traveled between New York, Boston, Stockholm, and San Francisco—where she had a chance encounter with Maryanne Amacher, who subsequently introduced her to the mathematician, poet, and activist Alexander Yessenin-Volpin, a meeting that would prove significant. Taken by Yessenin-Volpin’s deep interest in Brouwer, Hennix became his primary student and eventually his research partner.

Hennix relocated to New York in 1978 to serve as a professor of mathematics and computer science at SUNY New Paltz, and later became an affiliate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. While her position in upstate New York lasted for a single year, she collaborated with local artists and figures such as poet Charles Stein (who was leading informal seminars under the name The Rhinebeck Institute) and guitarist Arthur Rhames, and continued to be a key interlocutor to Flynt, recording with him as the Dharma Warriors. At the end of the ’80s, she returned to Europe, first to Sweden and later to Amsterdam with her girlfriend, photographer Lena Tuzzolino, whom she met through participation in a group show at the Museum Fodor. While in the Netherlands, Hennix studied Lacanian psychoanalysis, and dedicated herself to creating visual arts, writing Nō works, playing drums, and conducting mathematics research at the University of Amsterdam’s Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation. She was given the Centenary Prize Fellow Award by the Clay Mathematics Institute in 2000 for a paper coauthored with Yessenin-Volpin.

For much of her life, Hennix was an enigmatic figure in musical minimalism, primarily known for her “billowing cloud” study The Electronic Harpsichord (1976). Her resurgence and later period of artistic activity can in many ways be credited to the advocacy of Henry Flynt, who would present the piece at tape concerts throughout the ’70s and ’80s and maintained a voluminous correspondence with her throughout. In 2003, Hennix returned to producing computer-generated sound works, initiating a productive two-decade run. After a long hiatus from leading ensembles, she formed the Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage in 2005 after meeting the trombonist Hilary Jeffery, and later led the just intonation group the Kamigaku Ensemble. She toured internationally, released several archival recordings, circulated her poetic and theoretical writing, and exhibited her artwork in surveys such as Traversée du Fantasme at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and Thresholds of Perception at Empty Gallery, Hong Kong, in 2018.

While a student of Pran Nath, Hennix was introduced to Sufism—first in the Chishti Order, and later taking hand with Sheikha Fariha in the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Order—and has been dedicated to its practice ever since, integrating the devotional dimensions of Islam and Sufism into all of her work with poetry and sound. Hennix formally converted to Islam before relocating to Istanbul, where she spent the final years of her life in a wondrous immersion in the call to prayer, the sound of the One.

budo jeru, Wednesday, 22 November 2023 03:05 (two weeks ago) link

this stuff is great, never listened or heard of her before I don't think, thank u ilx #onethread

out-of-print LaserDisc edition (sleeve), Wednesday, 22 November 2023 03:12 (two weeks ago) link

xp it's from this interview:

Her works make good sense as expressions of Sufism. Each piece is a refraction, a different facet of a big crystal, "the sound of The One."

Deflatormouse, Wednesday, 22 November 2023 04:04 (two weeks ago) link

I think i was unfair to the Electric Harpsichord earlier. I really do love it, it's amazing, a brilliant refraction and a good place to start with CCH. it just needs to be 2 hours longer.

i am looking forward to listening to it tomorrow while lying in bed and gazing up at my little black goldstone glass rock thingy.

Deflatormouse, Wednesday, 22 November 2023 06:19 (two weeks ago) link

it's sort of wild to think that when a musician dies, there's a sonic pulse that results, a spike in people playing the sounds the musician recorded. like their death releases the truth to others. people accessing god.

ꙮ (map), Wednesday, 22 November 2023 14:53 (two weeks ago) link

Well, i ended up putting on The Electric Harpsichord as soon as i got up today. i felt energized and invigorated by it and liberated from my restless desire. that's really nice; a lot of the time music manipulates my emotions in ways that don't feel healthy.

Relistened to most or all of her main discography today and Electric Harpsichord was my favorite this time, though there's little to choose between the 4 releases mentioned in this revive and i was otm about it beint too short.

Deflatormouse, Thursday, 23 November 2023 00:46 (two weeks ago) link

Never heard of her before today but now i’ve ordered the most recently released album and I paid too much for a copy of electric harpsichord from Japan.

I would probably be rich if I never found my way to ILX.

Cow_Art, Thursday, 23 November 2023 01:58 (two weeks ago) link

if it makes you feel better it was a super expensive import only release when it came out in 2010. like $40 for 25 mins of music and a booklet.

took my little goldstone with me on a walk in the park today and blasted Solo for Tamburium in my headphones. the goldstone really looks the way her music sounds, it's just a tiny fake rock made of glass and filled with glitter but it's deep black and the layers of sparkes make it appear bottomless. it's hard to photograph but i'll try.

maybe not quite accessing god but i do feel drawn to rededicate myself to religious/spiritual/occult pursuits.

Deflatormouse, Thursday, 23 November 2023 02:36 (two weeks ago) link

Catherine Christer Hennix died on 19 November 2023. As a tribute we have made Marcus Boon’s 2010 interview with the Swedish musician, artist and mathematician free to read in our online magazine library.

Deflatormouse, Friday, 24 November 2023 23:07 (two weeks ago) link

Solo for Tamburium has been a source of rejuvenation for me in tough times.

il lavoro mi rovina la giornata (PBKR), Monday, 27 November 2023 19:59 (one week ago) link


The wire interview is really not great I prob should not have linked but the part about her music somehow being more than art is otm, and I loved this:

Hennix’s story leaves one with a series of questions and puzzles ... Why is a composer whose work is predicated on amplification and, more recently, the use of computer generated sounds, today living without a microphone or a laptop?

it's only music ffs!!
what's so much more important than producing work is being free to never do so.

Deflatormouse, Tuesday, 28 November 2023 04:21 (one week ago) link

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