Knut Wiggen[NO]

Knut Wiggen has always been devoted to understanding how music and technology complement each other in today's society.

His radical ideas on the subject were exercised in his work in Sweden, both at Fylkingen Swedish Radio and the Elektronmusikstudion EMS Stockholm, thereby contributing  to Stockholm's position as a central hub for new and radical art and music in Europe during the 1960s and 70s.

Wiggen studied classical music and composition growing up, and music history at the Uppsala University. His first contact with musique concrète, electronic music, and composers like Pierre Schaeffer, Iannis Xenakis, Bruno Moderna, Luigi Nono, and Karlheinz Stockhausen came during the early 1950s in Paris and Darmstad.

He served as chairman of Fylkingen from 1959-1969, and in 1962, with engineer Tage Westlund, he began to plan, build, and lead an advanced electronic music studio for Swedish Radio, named Elektronmusikstudion i Stockholm (EMS). Two years later the Swedish National Radio turned the EMS over to Wiggen, who continued to head the institute until 1967.

During his time at EMS, Wiggen created a new musical instrument consisting partly of the world's first digitally steered electronic music studio and of a new composition programme, MusicBox. MusicBox allowed composers to work with a new concept of space, i.e. simulated variable space, similar to today's 5.1 sound technology. When Wiggen presented EMS at the 20th Anniversary of Musique Concrète in Paris in 1968, Pierre Schaeffer reacted saying: "I believe that this conception is completely unique in the whole world…", and "This tool, this super technique in the ear's service, is something the third millennium needs".

Knut Wiggen’s work has been presented internationally and at home, at events such as ISCM World Music Days (1956 Baden-Baden, 1976 Boston), at the Oslo Concert Hall's opening (1977), at the Ultima-Festival in Oslo (2003, 2004) and at the Bergen International Festival (2009). He is also the author of several books.

In 2003, the Norwegian Center for Technology in Music and the Arts (NOTAM) in Oslo established a “Studio Wiggen” in honour of the composer. Wiggen has also been awarded honourary membership in the Norwegian Society of Composers in November 2009, and in 2010 he was presented with the King's Medal of Honour in silver.

Wiggen continues to work full time today – both writing and composing.

50 Years Elektronmusikstudion EMS Stockholm

HAU2, Thu 30.01.2014, 16:00

Lecture by Mats Lindström with pieces by Rune Lindblad, Knut Wiggen, Åke Hodell a.o.