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Otto Laske Papers

Otto Laske completing "Performance Models for Music"
Otto Laske completing "Performance Models for Music" (1972). Image by Kees Tazelaar.

The Schneider Music Library is the proud custodian of the papers of esteemed composer and musicologist Otto Laske (b.1936). This archive contains a wealth of his music scores, recordings, books, journal articles, concert programs, and correspondence. Researches are welcome to visit the Otto Laske archive and examine items within the library--just ask our staff for access. Below is a detailed guide to the archive's current contents. Our great thanks for Dr. Laske for the donation of his papers, and also to Dr. Thomas Clark and Dr. Nico Schüler for helping to make this donation possible.

A Guide to the Otto Laske Papers
1964-2010 (Bulk dates: 1964-1995)
at the Schneider Music Library, Texas State University

Descriptive Summary

Biographical Sketch

by Nico Schüler

    Otto Ernst Laske was born on April 23rd, 1936, in Oels (Olesnica), Silesia. Together with his mother and sister, he escaped from the oncoming Soviet army in 1945, which brought him to Lilienthal, near Bremen (Germany), the city in which his mother was born. There, he soon started playing the piano. At age 11, he met his father, who had been a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union; still in a war trauma, Laske tried himself in writing poetry from age 13 on. Although he temporarily interrupted his piano studies and, thus, his musical activities, he never lost the contact to the music, as his family was very music-loving.
    After a social-science diploma at the business high school in Bremen (1955) and after one year of administrative work, Laske started studying business administration in Göttingen in 1956. There, stimulated by the Sociological Institute, he started research on sociology. This interest in sociology brought him to the Goethe University in Frankfurt / Main and the Institute for Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung) with Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno. While he abandoned his business studies, his sociological interest led him to studying philosophy, which he started (after a second, classical high school diploma) in 1958. In addition, he studied musicology from 1960 on (with professors Helmuth Osthoff, Friedrich Gennrich, and Lothar Hoffmann-Erbrecht) as well as English and American Language and Literature from 1964 on. After intensive studies of Greek philosophy, especially supported by Bruno Liebrucks, Laske wrote his dissertation under the supervision of Theodor W. Adorno on the dialectics of Plato and the early Hegel, which he completed in 1966.
    During his academic studies, specifically from 1961 on, Laske continued his music-practical studies, as he picked up composition and studied Hindemth’s Untersuchung im Tonsatz. From 1963 to 1966, Laske studied composition primarily with Konrad Lechner: first, at the Frankfurt Musikhochschule and later at the Academy of Music in Darmstadt. Besides his studies with Lechner, who specifically continued the tradition of Guillaume de Machaut and Anton Webern, the Darmstadt Summer Courses were very stimulating for Laske’s musical developments, where he met composers such as Stockhausen, Ligeti, Boulez, and Babbitt. In Darmstadt, he also met Gottfried Michael Koenig in 1964, which became most crucial for the development of Laske’s composition theory and Cognitive Musicology.
    After completing his dissertation, Laske was a Fulbright Scholar from 1966 to 1968 at the New England Conservatory in Boston (USA), where he graduated with a Master of Music degree in composition. He then gained teaching positions, each for one year, as visiting professor of philosophy in Ontario (Canada) and as visiting professor of musicology (specifically the music of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Baroque) at McGill University in Montreal (Canada). Invited by Koenig, Laske taught and studied at the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht (Netherlands) from 1970 to 1975. During the time period from 1971 to 1974, he was holding a fellowship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) for the project “The Logical Structure of a Generative Grammar of Music.” Besides his collaborations with Koenig and Barry Truax, the training in a classical electronic studio became very important for Laske. Here, influenced by informal studies of computer science (1972-1974), he developed the foundations for his Cognitive Musicology.
    After two additional years of studies (1975-1977) in psychology and computer science as a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and after completing a year as guest professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana (1978-1979), Otto Laske’s research was extensively focused on Artificial Intelligence. He worked from 1980 through 1985 as software engineer and from 1986 through 1991 – especially in Switzerland, Germany, and The Netherlands – as a consultant for the development of expert systems. In addition, he was a guest professor of computer science for one year at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Already since 1984, he was more interested in the process through which one gathers expert knowledge (to eventually create expert systems with that knowledge) than in programming.
    From 1981 through 1991, Laske was – initially with Curtis Roads – artistic director of the New England Computer Music Association (NEWCOMP). During this time, he organized 65 concerts for mixed media and taught courses on computer-assisted composition in Stuttgart (1981), Darmstadt (1981), Boston (1981-1984) and Karlsruhe (1988/89). In 1992, he turned towards developmental and clinical psychology (Harvard University), to gain the theoretical basis for a theory of coaching. From 1996 to 1999, Laske studied clinical psychology at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology and received a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) with his dissertation on “Transformative Effects of Coaching on Executives’ Professional Agenda” (1999). He founded the consulting form Laske and Associates LLC (2000), and later the Interdevelopmental Institute (2004) – an institute for advanced coaching and cadre education.
    As an artist, Laske has an extensive compositional work, a large output of poetry, and he dedicated himself in recent years to visual arts, exploring especially the link between music and images, digital paintings, and “visual music” animations. Much of his compositional work informed his research on creative processes in music. A Festschrift was published in recognition of his scholarly and compositional work (Tabor 1999).

References

  • Schüler, Nico. 1995. Erkenntnistheorie, Musikwissenschaft, Künstliche Intelligenz und der Prozeß: Ein Gespräch mit Otto Laske. Peenemünde: Dietrich.
  • Schüler, Nico. 1997. “Otto Laske,” Komponisten der Gegenwart, ed. by Hanns-Werner Heister und Walter-Wolfgang Sparrer. München: edition text+kritik, 11. Nachlieferung, 1997. 2 pp.
  • Schüler, Nico. 1999. “A Composer’s Cognitive Musicology,” Otto Laske: Navigating New Musical Horizons, ed. by Jerry Tabor. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 136-150.
  • Schüler, Nico. 2003. “Otto E. Laske,” Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. by Ludwig Finscher, Personenteil vol. 10. Kassel: Bärenreiter. pp. 1235-1237.
  • Tabor, Jerry (Ed.). 1999. Otto Laske: Navigating New Musical Horizons, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.


Scope and Content Note

12 boxes of journal and monograph publications, photocopied autograph scores, recordings, concert programs and correspondence, document the oeuvre of composer and musicologist Otto Laske (b.1936).  The collection has been arranged into seven series: 

SERIES 1:  Music Scores, 1965-95

The Music Scores series consists mostly of photocopies of autograph manuscripts by Laske.

SERIES 2:  Music Recordings, 1965-97

The Music Recordings series contains compact discs and reel-to-reel tapes of recorded Laske compositions. 

SERIES 3:  Writings: Monographs, 1972-97

The Writings: Monographs series mainly contains published works, as well as typescripts of Music and Mind (2 volumes) and The Imaginative Self: Essays 1993-1994. 

SERIES 4:  Writings: Articles, 1972-2010

The Writings: Articles series includes published copies of musicological journal issues. 

SERIES 5:  Anthologies of Writings and Scores, 1964-95

The Anthologies of Writings and Scores series consists of bound volumes that appear to have been compiled by Laske himself--eight volumes of photocopied scores (some grouped by genre, some grouped by date range), and two volumes of photocopied writings (“Readings in Cognitive Musicology From the Work of Otto Laske.”)

SERIES 6:  Concert Programs and Related Correspondence, 1967-2000

The Concert Programs and Related Correspondence series includes professional communications relating to performances, symposiums, and commissions, as well as concert programs and newspaper clippings.

SERIES 7:  Writings and Recordings by Others, 1965-95

The Writings and Recordings by Others series consists mostly of musicological journals and monographs as well as twentieth-century music scores. 

 

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open for research.  Ask library staff for access.

Preferred Citation

The Otto Laske Collection, Schneider Music Library, Texas State University

Acquisition Information

Donated by Otto Laske, 2013.

Processing Information

Processed by Mark Blair, 2014.  Finding aid by Mark Blair, 2015.

 

Detailed Description of the Collection

SERIES 1:  Music Scores, 1965-95

All are bound photocopies, unless otherwise noted.

Atlantis (1983) for recorder/clarinet and guitar
Cantus (1970, rev. 1977)
De Aegypto (1965), cantata
Des Menschen Seele Gleicht dem Wasser (1987) for mixed choir a cappelle
Des Menschen Seele Gleicht dem Wasser (envelope: piano reduction & parts)
Fluctuations (1982)
Fluctuations, Mvt. 1 (part of published anthology: Twentieth Century Music Scores [Prentice Hall])
How Time Passes (1969) for chamber orchestra
Interchanges (1985) for two pianos
Klavierstücke (1964) (“earliest inst. composition”)
Kyrie Eleison (1968) (full score)
Kyrie Eleison (envelope: reduction & copies of reduction)
Kyrie Eleison (parts)
Monologue Intérieur (1968)
Motette (1964)
Nachtstuecke (1982) for 12 voices a cappella
Perturbations (1981) for chamber orchestra (full score)
Perturbations (parts)
Piano Piece no. 1 & 2 (1967)
Piece for Organ & Percussion (1998-99) (full score)
Piece for Organ & Percussion (parts)
Quatre Fascinants for 6 voices (1971-72)
Radiation (1966) (score)
Radiation (set of parts)
Reflections (1982) for brass quartet
Screening (1985) for flute, percussion, dancers, and projectionist
String Quartet No. 3 (1992-1997)
Symmetries (1982) for orchestra (full score)
Symmetries (envelope of parts: ink-by-hand originals)
Time-Points I (1966)
Time-Points II (1966)
Transitions (1967, rev. 1973) (choreography, transitions, vitre)
Tristis Est Anima Mea (1968) (2 copies)
Two Duets for Piano & Cello (1965)
Vienne la Nuit Sonne L’Heure (1968)
Vocalise (1982) for soprano, cello, and percussion
Voices of Night (1985) for soprano & string quartet
Voie Lactee (1983-84)
Woodwind Quintet (1967, rev. 1972) (2 copies)

 

SERIES 2:  Recordings, 1966-97

reel of 10 1/2” magnetic tape: “Otto Laske stereo originals, Structure I to III; IX (Utrecht)”
reel of 10 1/2” magnetic tape: “Otto Laske stereo originals, Structure IV-VII (Utrecht)”
Being & Nothingness (CD-R)
Beyond: Electronic Symphony #1 (CD)
The Death of Virgil: Electronic Symphony #2 (CD)
Electro Acoustic Music VI (feat. Furies and Voices; CD-R copy of commercial recording)
Electro Acoustic Music VII (feat. Terpsichore) (CD)
Intimations of Earlier Heaven (CD)
Otto Laske: The Utrecht Years: 1966-1975 (CD)
Songs of Abundance (CD)
Triology (CD)

 

SERIES 3:  Writings: Monographs, 1972-97

Allos: ‘Other’ Language (inc. music, poems, and essay by Laske)
Aplikace UmÄ•lé Inteligence AI ’89 (chapter: Music Composition as Hypothesis Formation: A Blackboard Concept of Musical Creativity)
CC 77: International Workshop on the Cognitive Viewpoint (chapter: Toward a process model of musical structures)
Computermusik: Theroretische Grundlagen Kompositionsgeschichtliche Zusammenhänge Musiklernprogramme (chapter: Eine kurze Einführung in die Kognitive Musikwissenschaft: Folgen des Computers in der Musik)
Electroacoustic Music: Analytical Perspectives (chapter: Otto Laske: Terpsichore (1980): Subscore Manipulation as a Tool for Compositional and Sonic Design)
The Imaginitive Self: Essays 1993-1994
Introduction to a Generative Theory of Music
Music and Connectionism (chapter: Letter: Connectionist Composition)
Music and Mind: An Artificial Intelligence Perspective, volume 1
Music and Mind: An Artificial Intelligence Perspective, volume 2
Music, Memory, and Thought: Explorations in Cognitive Musicology (published)
Music, Memory, and Thought: Explorations in Cognitive Musicology (typewritten manuscript)
Musical Grammars and Computer Analysis (chapter: KEITH: A Rule-System for Making Music-Analytical Discoveries)
Musik und Verstehen: Aufsätze zur semiotischen Theorie, Ästhetik und Soziologie der musikalischen Rezeption (chapter: On the understanding and design of aesthetic artefacts)
Musik und Verstehen: Aufsätze zur semiotischen Theorie, Ästhetik und Soziologie der musikalischen Rezeption (chapter: On the understanding and design of aesthetic artefacts; reprint of chapter only)
Musikalische Grammatik und Musikalisches Problemlösen (Methodology of Music Research, 3)
Musikometrika I (series: Quantitative Linguistics, vol. 37) (chapter: Can We Formalize and Program Musical Knowledge? An Inquiry into the Focus and Scope of Cognitive Musicology)
Numero e Suono: La Biennale di Venezia (chapter: L’informatica musicale)
On Problems of a Performance Model for Music (2 copies)
Proceedings of the First International Conference on Cognitive Musicology (chapter: Understanding Music with AI)
Proceedings of the 1st International Congress on Semiotics of Music (chapter: Musical semantics. A procedural point of view)
Psychomusicology: A New Theory of Music
Readings in Computer-Generated Music (chapter: “Furies and Voices”: Composition-Theoretical Observations)
Reason, Emotion and Music: Towards a common structure for arts, science and philosophies, based on a conceptual framework for the description of music (chapter: Toward a Computational Theory of Musical Listening)
Teoria E Prassi Della Musica Nell’era Dell’informatica (chapter: Processo musicale e struttura musicale)
Understanding Music with AI: Perspectives on Music Cognition (editor; forward; chapter: Artificial Intelligence and Music: A Cornerstone of Cognitive Musicology; chapter: The Observer Tradition of Knowledge Acquisition)

 

SERIES 4:  Writings: Articles, 1972-2010

Complete journals, unless otherwise noted

AI Magazine, vol. 14, no. 3 (1992):  “A Conversation with Marvin Minsky”
CC-AI, vol. 3, no. 3 (1986): Introduction (2 copies)
CC-AI, vol. 6, nos. 2-3 (1989): “Decompile: Automatic Knowledge Acquisition from Concurrent Reports Using Production System Architectures” (article only)
College Music Symposium, vol. 19, no. 2 (Fall 1979):  “On Problems of Verification in Music Theory”
Computers Math. Applic., vol. 0, no. 0 [sic] (1996): “Knowledge Technology and the Arts: A Personal View” (galley proof of article)
Computer Music Journal, vol. 1, no. 4 (1977): Toward a Theory of Interfaces for Computer Music Systems”
Computer Music Journal, vol. 2, no. 4 (1978): “Considering Human Memory in Designing User Interfaces for Computer Music”
Computer Music Journal, vol. 4, no. 2 (1980): “Toward an Explicit Cognitive Theory of Musical Listening”
Computer Music Journal, vol. 5, no. 4 (1981): “Composition Theory in Koenig’s Project One and Project Two”
Computer Music Journal, vol. 12, no. 1 (1988): “Introduction to Cognitive Musicology”
Computer Music Journal, vol. 13, no. 2 (1989): “The State of the Art of Computer Music” (from the Letters section)
Feedback Papers, issue 27-28 (1982):  “Toward a Definition of Computer Music”
Feedback Papers, issue 30 (1983): Nachwort: “Die philosophischen Grundlagen der musikalischen Informatik”
Interface, vol. 1, no. 2 (1972):  “On Musical Strategies with a View to a Generative Theory of Music”
Interface, vol. 3 (1974):  “The Information-Processing Approach to Musical Cognition” (article only, torn out of journal)
Interface, vol. 4, no. 2 (1975):  “Toward a Theory of Musical Cognition” (2 copies)
Interface, vol. 4, no. 2 (1975):  “Toward a Theory of Musical Cognition” (reprint of article)
Interface, vol. 5, no. 3 (1976):  “Toward a Theory of Musical Instruction”
Interface, vol. 7, nos. 2-3 (1978):  “Understanding the Behavior of Users of Interactive Computer Music Systems”
Interface, vol. 7, nos. 2-3 (1978):  “Understanding the Behavior of Users of Interactive Computer Music Systems” (reprint of article)
Interface, vol. 8, no. 4 (1979):  “Goal Synthesis and Goal Pursuit in a Musical Transformation Task for Children Between Seven and Twelve Years of Age”
Interface, vol. 18, nos. 1-2 (1989):  “Composition Theory: An Enrichment of Music Theory”
Interface, vol. 20, nos. 3-4 (1991):  “Composition Theory: Introduction to the Issue”
Interface, vol. 21, nos. 3-4 (1992):  “The Humanities as Sciences of the Artificial”
International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, vol. 6, no. 2 (1975):  “On Psychomusicology”
International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, vol. 7, no. 1 (1976):  “On Some Developmental Problems of Auditory Imagery”
International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, vol. 7, no. 1 (1976):  “On Some Developmental Problems of Auditory Imagery” (reprint of article)
International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, vol. 8, no. 2 (1977): “Verification and Sociological Interpretation in Musicology”
Languages of Design, vol. 1, no. 3 (1993): “A Search for a Theory of Musicality”
Languages of Design, vol. 1, no. 3 (1993): “A Search for a Theory of Musicality” (reprint of article)
Journal of Musicological Research, vol. 9 (1989)
Journal of the Indian Musicological Society, vol. 8, no. 2 (1977):  “Psychomusicology—A New Theory of Music”
Journal of the Indian Musicological Society, vol. 8, no. 3 (1977):  “Toward a Theory of Musical Instruction”
Journal SEAMUS: vol. 21, nos. 1-2 (2010): “From Cognitive to Critical Musicology”
Knowledge-Based Systems, vol. 3, no. 1 (1990):  “Music Composition as Hypothesis Formation:  A Blackboard Concept of Musical Creativity”
Leonardo, vol. 23, no. 1 (1990):  “The Computer as the Artist’s Alter Ego” (article only)
The Musical Quarterly, vol. 64, no. 3 (1978):  “R. Murray Schafter: The Tuning of the World” (book review)
Perspectives of New Music (Fall-Winter 1973; Spring-Summer 1974 double issue):  “In Search of a Generative Grammar for Music” (photocopy of reprinted article)
Perspectives of New Music (Spring-Summer 1997): Toward a Musicology for the Twentieth Century” (reprint of article)
Sonus, vol. 5, no. 1 (Fall 1984): “Understanding Musical Listening Procedurally”
(unidentified journal):  “Memorandum zur Gründung eines Instituts für musikalische Informatik” (article only)

 

SERIES 5:  Anthologies of Writings and Scores, 1964-95

bound, 8 ½ x 11, photocopies

Readings in Cognitive Musicology from the Work of Otto Laske, 1970-1995
Scores: 1979-1989
Scores: 1964-1978
Music for Voices and Instruments (contents: Song 1965, De Aegypto Cantata, Incantation, Klage, Ils Sont Heureux, Vocalise, Voices of Night)
Music for Solo Instruments
Music a Cappella and Music for Solo Voice & Chamber Ensemble (inside cover reads: Collected Scores Otto Laske:  I. Music a Cappella; II. Music for solo voice and chamber ensemble; III. Instrumental chamber music;  IV. Music for solo instruments; V. Music for loudspeakers (program notes))
Music for Orchestra; Choreography; Tape Music Notes
Instrumental Chamber Music no. 1
Instrumental Chamber Music no. 2


SERIES 6:  Concert Programs and Related Correspondence, 1967-2000

Box contains 5 packets, as well as a loose stack of papers.  Packets 1 through 4 contain almost exclusively concert programs (that feature performed Laske works).  Packet 5, and the loose stack, contain concert programs, as well as the following types of documents:
•    Press releases and notices of publication
•    Promotional concert posters
•    Newspaper articles
•    Newsletters
•    Letters of recommendation (on behalf of Laske)
•    Received correspondence, on matters including:
o    Notes of thanks or congratulations
o    The New England Computer Music Association
o    Invitations to present lectures or pieces
o    Responses to concert/commission submissions
o    Details of performance arrangements/specifications

 

SERIES 7:  Writings and Recordings by Others, 1965-95

Scores:
William Bolcom:  Mysteries, for Organ.  Edward B. Marks Music.
Pierre Boulez:  Première Sonate, pour Piano.  Amphion.
Avram David: Sonata No. 1, for Violin Solo.  Margun Music Inc.
Gottfried Michael Koenig:  Project 1 (1965/66) (manual; photocopy)
Gottfried Michael Koenig:  Uebung Fuer Klavier (1969) (bound photocopy, with notes in pen)
Konrad Lechner: Drei Orgelstücke.  Musikverlag Hans Gerig.
Olivier Messiaen:  Mode de valeurs et d’intensités, pour Piano.  Durand & Cie.
Arnold Schoenberg:  3 Klavierstücke, op. 11.  Universal Edition.
Arnold Schoenberg:  6 Kleine Klavierstücke, op. 19.  Universal Edition.
Karlheinz Stockhausen:  Klavierstücke I—IV.  Universal Edition.
Karlheinz Stockhausen:  Klavierstück IX.  Universal Edition.
Karlheinz Stockhausen:  Kreuzspiel.  Universal Edition.
Karlheinz Stockhausen:  Nr. 5 Zeitmaße.  Universal Edition.
Anton Webern:  Drei Gesänge, op. 23, Gesang und Klavier.  Universal Edition.
Anton Webern:  Drei Kleine Stücke, op. 11, Violoncell und Klavier.  Universal Edition.
Anton Webern:  Drei Leider, für Gesang, Es-Klarinette und Gitarre, op. 18.  Universal Edition.
Anton Webern:  Drei Lieder, op. 25.  Universal Edition.
Anton Webern:  Fünf Lieder, op. 3.  Universal Edition.
Anton Webern:  Quartett für Geige, Klarinette, Tenorsaxophon und Klavier, op. 22.  Universal Edition.
Anton Webern:  Variationen für Klavier, op. 27.  Universal Edition.
Anton Webern:  Vier Lieder für Gesang und Orchester, op. 13.  Universal Edition (full score).
Anton Webern:  Vier Lieder für Gesang und Orchester, op. 13.  Universal Edition (piano/voice reduction).
Anton Webern:  Vier Stücke, op. 7.  Universal Edition.