Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 SEAMUS national conference with 6 Digital Arts students. This annual event is hosted by a different university each year and we were lucky enough to have it at the University of Miami in 2011. This was a great opportunity for our students to travel down the interstate and experience some high-quality electro-acoustic music.

DIGA students at SEAMUS 2011. Back row: Hunter Lee, Patrick Sante, Jon Van Hoff. Front row: Meg Spivey, Liz Pollock, Michelle DuCharme.

The program consisted of 14 concerts in only 3 days, in addition to a variety of paper sessions detailing technical and aesthetic issues relevant to the field. Not for the faint of heart! But it is such a unique experience to be saturated in computer music and hang out with practitioners from around the country (plus a few from across the Atlantic).

I think the students left with a better picture of the variety of interests present in the field and appreciated the chance to “rub shoulders” with composers, performers and researchers who have made this type of music their passion. Some of people whose work we kept talking about (in no particular order) were: Adrian Moore, Bruno Ruviaro, Stephen David Beck, Butch Rovan, Elainie Lillios, John Gibson, Robert McClure, Meg Schedel, Ted Coffey and Scott Wyatt. There were others, but these folks seemed to have the most buzz in our conversations.

Also present at the conference was Chester Udell (BM DIGA 2005), who presented his piece Wakdjunkaga: the Trickster for soprano saxophone and interactive electronics. The piece was commissioned as a result of his winning first place in last year’s student competition. It was good to see Chester again and see how he progressing toward his doctorate from UF.

My piece also apply was featured in the Genelec Listening Room. Housed in one of UM’s audio production rooms, this venue featured a jukebox-style presentation where visitors could choose the pieces they wanted to hear and then enjoy listening to them on a set of quality speaker (with intense low-end, I must add!). It was a nice, relaxed atmosphere for featured composers to gather, hear each others’ work, and chat in between about the music.

Perhaps the highlight of the trip was meeting Max Mathews, widely acknowledged as the “Father of Computer Music”. Dr. Mathews was responsible for many of the first experiments in sound synthesis and analysis involving a computer while working at Bell Labs in the 1950s. His programming language for sound synthesis, known as Music I, established many conventions that persist to this day in languages such as Csound and RTcmix. The Max programming environment is also named in his honor.

Now in his 80s, Dr. Mathews is still a regular attender at national and international conferences. He was gracious enough to chat with us for a bit after one of the concerts and pose for the following picture. From left to right: Michelle DuCharme, Hunter Lee, Meg Spivey, Liz Pollock, Dr. Mathews, Dr. Wolek, and Patrick Sante.

Max Mathews takes a moment to pose with DIGA students and Dr. Wolek.

Special thanks to Kristine Burns and Colby Lieder for hosting such a fine conference. It was a very busy and very memorable trip to Miami for SEAMUS where Stetson and Digital Arts were represented well!


Opening and live taping Jan 28th, 7-10PM
Louis V E.S.P.
140 Jackson St, #4D
Brooklyn NY

Featuring Derek Larson, Dana Bell, Colby Bird, Elbis Rever, Ganjatronics, Kate Gilmore, KUNSOLE, Katrina Lamb, Erica Magrey, Rachel Mason, Sam Mickens, Bradford Nordeen, Andre Perkowski, Jonathan Phelps, Sophia Peer, Andrew Steinmetz, Jennifer Sullivan, Brian Zegeer


A440 by Peter Bussigel

This is such a simple concept, but I love the execution of this video! Peter Bussigel is a Ph.D. candidate at Brown University in their Multimedia and Electronic Music Experiments program. This work will be featured at SEAMUS 2011, which I will be attending with several DIGA students later this week.

A440 – Movement I from Pb on Vimeo.


Wolek Array response

Back in 2008, I wrote two CD reviews for Array (a.k.a. the Journal of the International Computer Music Association). One of the reviews for a CD by Erdem Helvacioglu was positive, while the second for a CD by Bob Gluck was not.

In a follow up issue published last year, they published a letter to the editor that Bob wrote in response to my review. He objected to some of my review methods and offered some factual corrections.

As academics often do, I wrote a response to the response in an effort to continue the dialogue about the following questions: What role does criticism play in electronic and computer music? What expectations should we as practitioners place upon such criticism? What is the right balance between objectivity and subjectivity?

If you are not an ICMA member, you can read my original review at this link to the post on my blog. Bob’s letter will require a login to the ICMA website to get the PDF of the 2009-2010 issue. My response to the response is available at the Array Blog or at the direct link below.

If you travel over there and have an opinion on the matter, please comment! I think this is an important discussion on the role of criticism and I would love to hear more voices on the matter.



The Pauses CD Release Party

Photos by Jenn Sweeney

Alum Nathan Chase and his band The Pauses will celebrate the launch of their new CD with a release party this Saturday at Backbooth in Orlando, FL. The CD is available in a deluxe edition with special packaging or as MP3 or FLAC download. The party and CD were discussed in the entertainment section of today’s Orlando Sentinel.

We have featured a few posts about Nathan in the last few months and it’s nice to have more good news to report. Congrats to Nathan, Jason and Tierney on the CD release!


Interactivity and Art Finals 2010

Final projects from Prof. Roberts’ DIGA 231 Interactivity and Art class. Students in this class learn how to program their own software using MAX/MSP and how to use Arduino boards to create a link between the physical and digital worlds. Students also learn how to use a variety of switches and sensors such as distance, light, pressure, knock, temperature, RFID and heart rate sensors.