Composer Xenakis Dies in Paris

Composer Iannis Xenakis, known as one of contemporary music's most innovative and erudite creators, died at the age of 78 on Sunday in his Paris home. Also a mathematician and engineer, Mr. Xenakis first attracted attention as an architect, working with Le Corbusier on the French designer's famous pavilion for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. For the fair, Mr. Xenakis composed an electronic work that brought recognition to his musical talent: ''Concerto PH,'' whose sole sound source was amplified burning charcoal. Born in Romania on May 29, 1922 to wealthy Greek parents, a young Xenakis moved to Greece at age 10. He earned an engineering degree at Athens Polytechnic. When World War II began, Xenakis joined the resistance against German occupation of Greece and suffered an injury that caused him to lose sight in one eye. Under the postwar Greek government, Mr. Xenakis was condemned to death in 1945, prompting him to flee the country and begin a new life in France. The death sentence was lifted 29 years later. In Paris and Switzerland, Mr. Xenakis took up music, studying with composers Hermann Scherchen, Darius Milhaud and Olivier Messiaen. Mr. Xenakis is credited with having invented ''stochastic music,'' composed with computers and based on mathematical probability systems. One of his electro-acoustic manipulations is the eerie yet delicate ''Bohor,'' using sounds derived from jingling jewelry and coupling freight cars. He is also widely recognized for percussion-ensemble works, notably ''The Pleiades,'' Associated Press reports.