Udo Kasemets

(b. 16 November 1919, Tallinn – d. 19 January 2014, Toronto, Ontario).

Canadian composer, born in Estonia, of interdisciplinary works that have been performed throughout the world.

Mr. Kasemets initially studied at the Eesti Muusika- ja Teatriakadeemia – Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn, then at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Stuttgart.

He is also active in other positions. He worked as a conductor, pianist and writer in Hamilton, Ontario and Toronto in the 1950s and organised the series for contemporary music Men, Minds and Music in Toronto in 1962–63. He founded the Isaacs Gallery Mixed Media Concerts in Toronto in 1965, served a director and planner of the Toronto Festival of Arts and Technology in 1968 and founded the publication series for contemporary music Canavangard in the late 1960s, which he also edited.

He taught experimental art at OCAD University in Toronto from 1971–87, where he was visiting lecturer emeritus from 1987–2014.

Mr. Kasemets lived in Canada from 1951–2014 and became a citizen of Canada in 1957.


E-mail address:

SELECT LIST OF WORKS (early style, 1952–64)


Recitative and Rondino, string orchestra, 1954

Concerto, violin, orchestra, 1957

Sinfonietta, 1959

Passacaglia, flute, violin, orchestra, 1959


Recitative and Fugue, 2 cellos, 1955

Quintet, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1957

Sonata concertante, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1957

1 + 1, 2 recorders, 1964 (version of work for piano)


Two Songs, male chorus, 1957


Visions, speaker, orchestra, 1953

Poetic Suite, soprano, piano, string orchestra, 1954

The Thousand Nights and One Night, voice, piano, 1954

Canciones, voice, flute, guitar, 1956

Two Symphonic Songs, voice, piano, 1956

Three Songs from Atlantic Provinces, voice, piano, 1950s

Three Miniatures, voice, piano, 1960

Five Songs for Children, voice, piano, 1964


Six Preludes, 1952

1 + 1, 1960 (also version for 2 recorders)

SELECT LIST OF WORKS (mature style, 1961–2007; note that the composer prefers a chronological listing)


Haiku (texts from haiku from Japan [translated by Harold Gould Henderson]), voice, flute, cello, piano, 1961

Squares, piano 4 hands, 1962

5x5, 2 pianos (both + percussion), 1963

Communications (text by e. e. cummings), any number of voices, any number of speakers, any number of actors, any number of dancers, any number of players, 1963

Trigon, 1/3/9/27 players, 1963

Cumulus, any player/ensemble, fixed media, 1963–64

Timepiece, any player, 1964

Cascando, any player/any number of players, 1965

Calceolaria, any number of players, 1966

Contactics, any number of players, audience/dance troupe, 1966

Variations (on Variations [on Variations]), voice, any player, fixed media, 1966

Octode, fixed media, 1967

Octagonal Octet and/or Ode, any 1–8 players, 1967

Tt, computer, 1968

Synergetic, fixed media, 1969

Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The Sixth Moon, piano, 1969


Guitarmusic for John Cage, any number of guitars (with conductor [using projectors]), 1975

Elaborations on Erratum musical of Marcel Duchamp, any ensemble, 1975

Rites of Rights No. 1, percussion ensemble, 1977

In Support of Justice Thomas Berger: (Rites of Rights No. 2), any ensemble, 1977

David and David and Larry and James, 4 players (voices, instruments, synthesizers, microphones, mixers, amplifiers, loudspeakers), fixed media, 1977

Whole Earth Music, fixed media, 1978


Celestial Timescapes, computer, fixed media, 1980 (may be performed with Zodiacanons and Ragtime: an Intercultural Timescape)

Zodiacanons, 1–12 players on any chromatic instruments, 1980 (may be performed with Celestial Timescapes)

Ragtime: an Intercultural Timescape, ensemble from Asia/India, ensemble from Europe/North America, 1981 (may be performed with Celestial Timescapes)

Earthspin: a Timescape for Gordon Monahan, piano, fixed media, 1982

Counterbomb Renga (text by Jonathan Schell), 1982–83 (collaboration with more than 100 musicians and poets from Canada and the USA)

conNotations, any ensemble, 1983

lOOking fOr jacksOn mac lOw in the cOncise OxfOrd dictiOnary (pOemusic), speaker, organ, ostinato ad libitum, 1983

Yi Jing Jitterbug: 50 Hz Octet, any 8 winds/bowed strings, 1984

Yi Jing Jitterbug: Soloctet, any wind instrument/bowed string instrument, fixed media, 1984

4-D I Ching, fixed media, 1984 (also version as What do You have to Say about This?, fixed media, 1987–88)

Piece for Peace (texts by Mahatma Gandhi, Laozi, Albert Einstein, Black Elk [English translations]), any number of chanters, any number of speakers, any number of instruments capable of sustained tones, 1985

Tangovariables on the word Tango, piano, 1986

Geo(sono)scope (sound installation, after R. Buckminster Fuller), 1986

Vertical Music: In remembrance of Morton Feldman, any 7 players, 1987 (also version for 2 pianos, 1987)

Vertical Taps for Morty, snare drum, 1987

Marce(ntennia)l Circus C(ag)elebrating Duchamp (text by John Cage), 1987

Duchampera (music-theatre work, text by the composer, after Marcel Duchamp), any number of voices, any number of speakers, any number of actors, piano, ensemble of glass instruments, fixed media, lights, 1987

Spectrascapes (sound installation), 1987–88 (also version as Studies for Spectrascapes, fixed media, 1987–88)

Counterpoints for Philip Corner, any ensemble, 1988

Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The First Moon, columbine (invented instrument), amaranth (invented instrument), 1988

Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The Second Moon, amplified cello, 1988

Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The Third Moon, percussion, 1988

Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The Fourth Moon, clarinets (1 player), 1988

Portrait: Music of the Twelve Moons of the I Ching: The Fifth Moon, gamelan, 1988

Calendar Round: Kaisernietzsche, guitar, percussion, 1989

Calendar Round: Megalcides, speaker, fixed media, 1989


Calendar Round: Malcgolmstein, violin, 1990

The Eight Houses of the I Ching, string quartet, 1990 (also version for 12 strings, 1993)

Marklewake, more than 1 voice, more than 1 player, 1990

'Harmonices Mundi' of Johannes Kepler, violin, fixed media, 1990

Hexagram No. 16, piano, 8 sine-wave oscillators, mixers, loudspeakers, 1990

Lun(h)armonics, 6 sine-wave oscillators, mixers, loudspeakers, 1990

Canonic Creationchants, any number of high voices, 1991 (may be performed with Timetrip to Big Bang, Big Bang and Back)

Requiem Renga, small orchestra (2 percussion, 15 strings), 1992

Palestrina on Devil's Staircase, 2 voices, 3 violins, 3 cellos, 1993

Timetrip to Big Bang, Big Bang and Back, fixed media, 1994 (may be performed with Canonic Creationchants)

Pythagoras Tree, piano, 1994

3/7 D'Un Morceau en Forme de Poire, piano, 1995

Feigenbaum Cascades, piano, 1995

Music of the First Eleven Primes, piano, 1995

...FUTURE is PAST is NOW is..., any 4–7 players, 1996

OPazERA (trans[form]l[iter]ation, text by Octavio Paz), 1996–97 (cumulative work; its seven sections may be performed separately: John Cage/Octavio Paz Conjunction, voice, piano, 1996; Joan Miró/Octavio Paz Conjunction, speaker, percussion, film, slide projections, 1996; The Constellation of Virgo, voice, piano, vibraphone, marimba, 1996; Sunstone, voice, pianoharp [invented instrument], percussion, film, slide projections, 1996; Blanco, female voice, male voice, 2 pianos, percussion, 1997; OPJreSCTnga, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 1997; Homage and Desecrations, voice, speaker, piano, prepared piano, percussion, 1997)

fraCtal fibONaCciERTO, piano, small orchestra (18 players), 1997

Mus(ost)ic for Barbara, piano, 1997

...and sounds sink back into silence (text by Martin Bartlett), voice, piano, 1997

On mere being (text by Wallace Stevens), voice, piano, 1997

Stanstars, piano, 1997

SoUNdFLOWER Triplet, voice, piano, 1998

777, large orchestra (70 players), 1998

Ariannaira (scenario, after Jorge Luis Borges, Ovid, Claudio Monteverdi), voice–speaker, piano, visual medium ad libitum, 1999 (one section may be performed separately: The House of Daedalus, piano)

Echoes of a Life: Chronologue, piano, 1999

QM for MC: Quantumatrix for Merce Cunningham, speaker, piano, 1999

Numbers/Digits, speaker, piano, 1999


Airs and Mirrors of Robert Creeley, voice, piano, 1997–2000

from 'Useful Knowledge' (text by Gertrude Stein), speaker, piano, 1999–2000 (two sections may be performed separately: Music of the First Hundred Natural Numbers, piano, 1999; BiBBusiness in Baltimore, piano, 2000)

STiME: SpaceTiMemoryEchoes (text by James Joyce), 2000 (cumulative work; its five sections may be performed separately: 43'33", any voice/player [playing in 4 spaces]; 4'33"2, any 4 voices/players [playing in 1 space]; 4'33" fractals, any number of voices/players; 4'33" PrimeTimeFractals, any number of voices/players; [4 x 4]'33" Sirens, any number of speakers, any number of players)

Diaries and Letters of Ruth Crawford Seeger, 2 speakers, any number of players, 2000

Linda in Agnes, Agnes in Linda, any number of speakers, any number of players, 2001

musiXenia (musical gift-giving/-receiving ceremony), any 6–10 players, 2001

LSP! (remembering Michael J. Baker), voice, piano, 2001

Signs (text by Robert Creeley), 2 speakers, any 2 players, 2001

F i r e l i n emusic of the first thirteen primes (text by David Libeskind), voice, piano, 2001

AL and alpha/betaAlgorithms and Alphabets: A Symphosium, 2 voices, any 4 players, 2001

E and T S T and BEinstein and Tagore seeking Truth and Beauty, 2 voices, any 4 players, 2001

thousand and one thunderletters, piano, 2001

Calendar Round: Rixax, percussion, 2001

AQMAnarchart with Quantumandala, 1998–2002 (cumulative work; its ten sections may be performed separately: QM 8x11+11x8, piano, 1998; QM 4x7x4, violin, 1998; QQQuantumquotes with MMMusicmandala, speaker, piano, 1998; QM 7x4x7, viola, 1999; QM 4x7+7x4, cello, 1999; QM 4x13x4, marimba, 1999; QM 4x9=6x6, vibraphone, 1999; QM 2x13+13x2, accordion, 2000; QM 2x13x2Anarchy Really Does Have a Future, voice–speaker, 2000; AQAnarchquotes, speaker, 1998–2002)

The Liberties of Susan Howe (pOemPERA, libretto by Susan Howe), female voice–speaker, 2 female speakers, piano, fixed media, film (by Pierre Tremblay), 2007