Lachenmann was born in Stuttgart. He studied piano with Jürgen Uhde and composition and theory with Johann Nepomuk David at the Stuttgarter Musikhochschule from 1955 to 1958 and was the first private student of Luigi Nono in Venice from 1958 to 1960. From Nono, he acquired the belief that music should aim to serve a message of social relevance. He also worked briefly at the electronic music studio at the University of Ghent in 1965, but thereafter focused almost exclusively on purely instrumental music.
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