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German composer. After private instruction (1947-52), he studied in Stuttgart at the Musikhochschule and the Technical University (with Max Bense) until 1955, when he took the organist's examination at the Esslingen Kirchenmusikschule. He then studied for a further three years with Blacher (composition) and Rufer (analysis) at the Berlin Musikhochschule. Having made his first essays in electronic music under Eimert at Cologne in 1954, he worked from 1959 in the studios in Brussels, Cologne, Milan, Munich, Utrecht and Warsaw.

In 1960 he moved to Rome where in 1964, with Clementi and Evangelisti, he founded the improvisation group Nuova Consonanza, of which he remained a member until 1968. Also in 1964 he was appointed new music editor at NDR, Hamburg. In 1970 he joined the Instituut voor Sonologie at Utrecht University, where his electro-acoustic works of the 1970s and early 80s were realized.

Kayn's early works were influenced by Schoenberg, Varèse and, in the case of the organ pieces, Messiaen. Encourage by Bense, however, he became interested in cybernetics and information theory and has applied this knowledge to composition, for instance in the major electro-acoustic compositions MonadesMakro and Infra
He regards his method of selecting materials on a cybernetic basis as an alternative to computer techniques; his aim is a strictly controlled effect using the widest possible scale of perceptible sound qualities.