Composer. He represents the style of modern music commonly called "absurdist". Raised in Buenos Aires in a Jewish family that had fled the Soviet Union, he learned musical composition essentially on his own, while studying literature and philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires. He became chorus director at the Teatro Colon in 1955, but moved to Cologne, Germany in 1957. He taught at the State University of New York, Buffalo, in 1964 and 1965, and was professor at the Cologne Conservatory from 1974 until 1997. Though he was quite capible of playing, composing, and conducting "conventional" music, most of his compositions used such instruments as rachets, car horns, and cash registers. His best known works were the movie "Ludwig van" (1970), set in Beethoven's studio, and "Staatstheater" (1971), variously described as a ballet for non-dancers and an opera without a plot. In the former, the piano score consists of variations on themes of Beethoven; the latter has no libretto, and consists of nine sections, which can be performed in any order. In "Con Voce", the "singers" mime singing..."Match" is an orchestral tennis match between cellists, with percussion serving as the referee. Kagel made a number of recordings of his music, in both audio and video formats.
Bio by: Bob Hufford