1960 Cologne

Jun 10, 1960 – Jun 19, 1960

Festival info

Start: Jun 10, 1960

End: Jun 19, 1960

Locations: Cologne

Hosting member(s)


Co-organized by WDR Cologne

From contemporaneous reviews

“The thirty-fourth Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music … was certainly one of the biggest in this society’s history. Whether it was also one of the best remains a matter of opinion. In all events, it presented a strenuous and concentrated program in which the most radical music of today predominated to such an extent that it gave a distinctly one-sided picture of contemporary musical creation.”

— Everett Helm, “Avant-Garde Idiom Is Predominant In I.S.C.M.’s Busy 34th Festival,”
New York Times, July 10, 1960, Section X, p. 9.

“[W]hat made this Festival ‘go’ were neither the Webernites nor the Schoenbergians, though these included not only the American Berger, who prejudiced the earnest thought of his String Quartet by naive take-offs from Schoenbergian melody-types, but also Dallapiccola whose powerful voice seems unimpeded by his outmoded dodecaphony. The Cologne accent, this year, was not so much on musical invention as on idiomatic inventiveness. What, then, is the dernier cri–and what is the price we are asked to pay for the new tune? Music’s slow but devastating strip-tease, enforced by twentieth-century radicalism, has reached its final phase: she is at last being de-toned.”

— Peter Stadlen, “The I. S. C. M. Festival at Cologne,”
The Musical Times, Vol. 101, No. 1410 (August 1960), p. 484.

“During concert after concert, the festival had been producing a new sort of ‘sound-color’ composition, in which many different mixtures of instruments had purred and gurgled and blasted in novel patterns of sound effect. By now, every festival ear had become so attuned to the possible significance of any kind of tone at all that the accidental shattery clang of a cymbal sounded really like another (very short) piece of modern music.”

— Alexander Fried, “Cymbals Clang–by Accident or Design?”
San Francisco Examiner, June 22, 1960, p. 24.

Programme information