VCMM is a gathering of the academics and practitioners involved in computer music research (at large), including digital signal processing, music information retrieval, new interfaces for musical expression and all the related fields of inquiry. At meetings, two researchers present their work and afterwards there is a short discussion period.
Should you be interested in participating in a meeting, or would like to find out more about the VCMM, please use the contact form available at the bottom of this page.
Wednesday, March 11 (2015) – Sounding the Virtual: Explorations in Becoming Music
A presentation by Kenneth Newby
Kenneth Newby (University of Fraser Valley)
In this presentation composer Kenneth Newby will present the current state of his long-term artistic research in computer aided composition, reflecting on the relationship between culture, practice and meaning in the composition, orchestration and performance of music for a virtual orchestra.
Kenneth Newby is a media artist, composer-performer, educator, interaction designer, and audio producer whose creative practice explores the use of technology to enable the creation of music, media performances, installations and experiences that are rich in aural, visual and cultural nuances. His research includes the development of new media diffusion techniques, augmented reality systems for museum experience design, generative systems for music and visual art, and the encoding of creative practices.
Kenneth is currently faculty of New Media in the Visual Arts Department at the University of the Fraser Valley. He has worked as an interactivity consultant for Pixar Animation Studios, and a Sound Artist and Audio Software Developer for Electronic Arts.
This event is presented by the Generative Media Project at Simon Fraser University. Major support for the GMP has been received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the GRAND NCE research program. For more information, contact Justine Bizzocchi.
Friday, November 21 (2014) – Pro Musica Festival Experts Panel (click to show)
Friday night featured presentations by invited guests John Baker, Dr. James Maxwelland Kevin Regamey, and hosted by Prof. Philippe Pasquier, who spoke about their recent research in music and technology. This night was presented in conjunction with Pro Musica's Further Series Electroacoustic Festival 2014. Running from November 21-22, 2014 at the Western Front (303 E 8th Ave), it featured several B.C. artists and explored various ways technology can be applied to music.
Prof. Philippe Pasquier (SFU)
Philippe Pasquier hosted the evening and present a brief overview of current work on musical metacreation with some new examples of computer generated music, and report on a couple of announcements.
Philippe Pasquier is Professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Interactive Arts and Technology. He is both a scientist specialized in artificial intelligence and a multi-disciplinary artist. His contributions range from theoretical research in artificial intelligence, multi-agent systems and machine learning to applied artistic research and practice in digital art, computer music, and generative art. Philippe is the Chair and investigator of the AAAI series of international workshop on Musical Metacreation (MUME), the MUME-WE concerts series, the International workshop on Movement and Computation (MOCO), and he is the Symposium director for ISEA2015. He has co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed contributions, presented in forums ranging from the most scientifically rigorous to the most creatively arty.
Feel free to browse Philippe's research, MAMAS Laboratory and SIAT.
James Maxwell is a composer of concert music and music for contemporary dance, theatre, film, and media, and is Co-Artistic Director of Restless Productions. Upcoming premieres and works-in-progress include a new cello/bass duet for Vancouver’s Novo ensemble, and a new work with Restless and choreographer Claire French for solo dancer and cello, to be premiered at EDAM in Spring 2015. James is also an active researcher in the field of generative music, music psychology, and computer-assisted composition (CAC), having recently obtained his Ph.D. in the field from Simon Fraser University.
This talk presented a novel approach to generative music and Computer-Assisted Composition (CAC), which looks at music as a holistic phenomenon, arising from the integration of the perceptual and cognitive capacities of listeners. The central contribution of this research is an integrated cognitive architecture (ICA) for symbolic music learning and generation called MusiCog. Inspired by previous ICAs, MusiCog features a modular design, implementing functions for perception, working memory, long-term memory, and production/composition. Through the integrated approach, MusiCog constructs a representation of music informed by its perceptual and cognitive limitations. Thus, in a manner similar to human listeners, its knowledge of different musical works or styles is not equal or uniform, but is rather informed by the specific musical structure of the works themselves.
MusiCog’s production/composition module does not attempt to model explicit knowledge of music theory or composition. Rather, it proposes a “musically naïve” approach to composition, bound by the perceptual phenomena that inform its representation of musical structure, and the cognitive constraints that inform its capacity to articulate its knowledge through novel compositional output. Strengths and limitations—both of the conceptual approach and the specific implementation was discussed in the context of autonomous melodic generation and CAC, and avenues for future research was presented.
John Baker - Computer assistance in “symmetrical designs”: a special instance of algorithmic composition
John Baker, who has been composing music for the last 25 years and is an associate composer of the CMC, has a PhD and was an Assistant Professor in computer science at the U of Calgary and UBC before turning to composition. Recently he has been experimenting with musical forms derived from mathematical groups.
Computer assistance in “symmetrical designs”: a special instance of algorithmic composition. John sketched the formal symmetry in some of his recent compositions and outline his compositional practice in these cases, indicating the surprising role of spreadsheets.
As a lifelong gamer and audiophile, Kevin's day-to-day work at Power Up comes as little surprise. Having played a contributing role in well over 200 projects (ranging casual, midcore and AAA), he brings a wealth of experience to the table regarding music, design, implementation, and voice-over. Kevin also designed and created the cult indie puzzler, “Phonopath”, which has received wide acclaim in the audio community. An ardent completionist off-hours, his gaming interests lie in speedrunning, glitch hunting, permanent death and unreasonably difficult achievements.
"Games have always played an important role in Riley's life, with Starcraft LAN parties being commonplace growing up. His initial fervour for music in games led him to Berklee College of Music and studying with Emmy award-winning composer, Hummie Mann. Riley now pursues a master of music in composition degree at the University of British Columbia, where he studies with three-time Juno nominated composer, Dr. Stephen Chatman. Credits include a host of games with Power Up, films with Green Earth Films Inc., productions with Theatre Encounter, documentaries with Feminist Frequency and ITF Film, and also a recent winner of the 2014 Jean Coulthard Reading Contest by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra."
Two presenters described challenges of writing for games and the process behind that. Riley addressed basic question: How writing for games works - from concept art/direction, to composing, to implementation? Aspects of MIDI orchestration, looping, intensity levels, and hit point syncing techniques will be covered. Kevin talked about sound design/voice acting in games.
Feel free to browse Power Up Audio.
Friday, January 17 (2014) – Pro Musica Festival Experts Panel; (click to show)
Friday night featured presentations by invited guests Keith Hamel and Martin Gotfrit, and hosted by Philippe Pasquier, who spoke about their recent research in music and technology. This night was presented in conjunction with Pro Musica's Further Series Electroacoustic Festival 2014. Running from January 16-18, 2014 at the Western Front (303 E 8th Ave), it featured several B.C. artists and explore various ways technology can be applied to music.
Philippe Pasquier (SFU)
Philippe Pasquier hosted the evening and briefly presented on Current trends and issues in Musical Metacreation and Music Information Retrieval.
Feel free to browse Philippe's research.
Interactive Computer Music refers to musical compositions in which a live performer is interacting with computers which respond to aspects of their performance. In some cases the computer processes the sound of the live instrument and in others it complements or supports their performance with additional audio or video material. Dr. Keith Hamel has been working in the area of interactive computer music for more than twenty years. During that time, he has developed a variety of software tools that facilitate the design, creation, rehearsal and performance of these interactive works. For each composition, Hamel tries to create an environment in which the live performer and the computers react and respond to one another as if they are performing chamber music. Dr. Hamel will give an overview of some of the software systems he has developed and show some of the research initiatives (such as automated score-following) that he is currently working on.
Feel free to browse Keith's research.
Martin Gotfrit has been composing and performing electroacoustic music since 1970 when he cofounded the ensemble “Metamusic”. Beginning with analogue synthesis and classic tape studio techniques, through to his current work in Max/MSP and Live, he will speaking about the ideas that underpin his work and how various technologies have transformed them. The talk will be illustrated by examples of his fixed media works and performances as well as his recent collaborations in art installations, dance and theatre.
Feel free to browse Martin's research.
Presentations from Friday, December 3rd, 2010: (click to show)
Nicolas d'Alessandro on Performative Voice Synthesis, Voice Beyond Text-to-Speech
One step in Music, one step in Engineering. The short career of Nicolas d'Alessandro is always emphasizing this duality. Right after entering at Faculté Polytechnique of Mons (Belgium) in 1999, he shows a strong interest in merging these two aspects. This dream moves to reality a few years later when he meets Prof. Thierry Dutoit (TCTS lab). Together they activate a convention between Mons and Montréal (Canada). Therefore Nicolas becomes the first belgian student to achieve his Master thesis with Caroline Traube in LIAM, Université de Montréal. He comes back to TCTS lab in 2004 for realizing a PhD thesis with Thierry Dutoit. There he develops several digital instruments for generating expressive voice in realtime, including the HandSketch. He obtains his PhD in November 2009 and takes off for Vancouver a few days after, in order to take a Research Assistant position at UBC (University of British Columbia). He is working there today, in the perfect continuity of his passions for voice and contemporary music, leading the DiVA project (talking avatars) with Sidney Fels (MAGIC lab) and co-leading the UBC laptop orchestra with Bob Pritchard (School of Music).
Stefan Smulovitz on Kenaxis
Award-winning composer, collaborator, violist and laptop artist Stefan Smulovitz has created more than 50 live scores for films and performs with leading improvisors including Fred Frith, Evan Parker and Uri Caine. Kenaxis -- Stefan's game-changing software -- is used by musicians around the world, and his numerous collaborative creations have been developed for theatre, dance, art installations, and DVD-ROMs.
Presentations from Wednesday, October 6th, 2010: (click to show)
Kenneth Newby, BA, MFA (Simon Fraser University), is a media artist and researcher whose practice explores the use of artist-designed software and media diffusion techniques to enable media performances and installations rich in aural and visual ideas. This practice includes works of participatory media performance and installation, infinite game design, electronic and acoustic music, software tools for composition of music and animation, as well as interdisciplinary collaborative art and research with artists in various disciplines including Canadian First Nations artists and other international intercultural projects.
His writings on media art have been published in key journals such as the Journal of Media Practice and the Canadian Theatre Review. A book chapter on interaction research and design for museum experience was published in Designing Effective Communications: Creating Contexts for Clarity and Meaning. He has written for and presented at a variety of conferences including Practice as Research in Performance, Bristol; Computer Art Congress, Paris; Digital Arts & Culture, Melbourne; Consciousness Reframed: Qi and Complexity, Beijing; CeC & CaC, New Delhi; Interactive Futures, Victoria, Transnet, Vancouver; ISEA, Belfast; and Toward a Science of Consciousness, Hong Kong.
Kenneth is faculty at the University of the Fraser Valley, Visual Arts Department, New Media and an Adjunct Professor in Creative Studies, Media Art at the University of British Columbia. He is regular visiting faculty for graduate seminars in Computational Poetics at the University of Arts in Belgrade, Interdisciplinary Post-graduate Program in Polymedia Arts and has presented workshops in Media Performance at the Indonesian National Academy of Arts (STSI) in Solo, Central Java.
His past work includes interaction design, research and creation of adaptive audio techniques, interactive audio, music, speech and immersive sound at Electronic Arts and Pixar Animation Studios.
Gordon Durity & Iain Macanulty (EA) on Contextually Driven Dynamic Music System for Games
Gordon Durity has over twenty-five years experience in creating soundtracks, writing songs and producing audio in the areas of film, television, games, multimedia, and album production. He currently serves as a Studio Audio Director at Electronic Arts Canada, the largest developer of video games in the world. There Gordon designs and supervises the creation and implementation of audio for various titles, works with technical staff to develop new cutting edge technologies, and is part of the team looking in to new online opportunities for online-based gaming in Asia. He also sits on the AIAS sound panel where he's involved in adjudicating for award the audio for the top games of the year. As a composer, Gordon has written scores for feature and short films, television, radio, dance, theatre, runway shows and games. He has worked with many artists on songs in a variety of styles ranging from hip-hop, r&b, gospel, to country, to reggae, to modern rock. Gordon has produced and written with many international artists and has had songs charted all over the world. As a composer, sound effects editor and mixer for film and television, he has worked for USA Network, Fox, Disney, Paramount, CBC, BBC, Trimark, NFB, PBS, ABC, and many independents, delivering audio environments ranging from mono to Dolby Surround to 5.1 DVD. Gordon has a degree in real-time interactive midi driven music systems and 20th century composition. Gordon received a Leo Award in 2005 for his score to the documentary The Life and Times of Daniel Igali, and a 2006 Leo Award for his sound design work on the feature drama, Eve and the Firehorse
Iain Macanulty has been programming audio at Electronic Arts since 1992. He has spent most of that time collaborating with other programmers and sound artists to build systems for sports commentary, crowds, sfx, and music, but the work is still not finished.
Presentations from Friday, November 13th, 2009: (click to show)
Miles Thorogood on Sound environments: Introspective and social
Miles Thorogood is a practicing sound artist and research student at Emily Carr University, who builds software and hardware technologies for adaptive and interactive artwork systems. Miles has worked with Australia's CSIRO in the development of projects to facilitate physical connection over computer networks, The Australian National University and the Canberra Rep Theatre 3 in the development of interactive immersive environments. He has been involved across disciplines as a freelance media artist and creative and technical consultant with Canadian and international media artists.
James Maxwell on Hierarchical Sequential Memory for Music: A Cognitive Model
James Maxwell was born in Vancouver, Canada. He studied composition in Vancouver with Owen Underhill and David MacIntyre, and in Prague with Ladislav Kubik. In 2001 he completed his MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Simon Fraser University. His work has been broadcast on CBC's "West Coast Performance" and "Two New Hours", and has been performed in Canada, the US, Europe, China, and the UK. In the summer of 2000 he received the audience prize in Vancouver New Music's BC Emerging Composers Competition. He has worked collaboratively in contemporary dance, theatre, and film, creating music for choreographers Claire French and Helen Walkley, for director Mallory Catlett, and for film makers Alex Williams and Alison Beda. He is also interested in wider and more diverse collaborations, working with visual artist Kathleen Ritter on a project for Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre in Kingston, Ontario, with writer Caleb Johnson on the Western Front's "Intersections" project, and in an upcoming collaboration with Berlin-based artists Hadley+Maxwell for the Seattle Art Museum in 2010. In 2009 he premiered limina, commissioned by flutist Mark McGregor's duo Tiresias, and is continuing a collaboration with choreographer Claire French and film maker Allison Beda on a series of one-minute dance films. Recent concert music commissions include co existere, for the Touch of Brass Ensemble, which premiered during Vertical Orchestra 2008, at the Vancouver Public Library, and diffusus, which was recently released on McGregor's latest CD Different Stones.. In May 2009 his most recent concert work, commissioned by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, was premiered at the Orpheum theatre. In 2007, while living in the UK, he established "mr. wheet", an electronica-inspired side-project, integrating elements of his concert music language with his musical beginnings as a kit drummer. The debut CD, "What to do when you find yourself in Brighouse", was released in December 2008.
James is also active as a researcher and programmer in the field of computer applications for interactive music composition. He is currently a doctoral student at Simon Fraser University, where he is exploring the design and development of computer-assisted composition tools, with a focus on using intelligent, adaptive systems as compositional "collaborators."
Presentations from Friday, September 25th, 2009: (click to show)
Barry Truax is a Professor in both the School of Communication and the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University where he teaches courses in acoustic communication and electroacoustic music. He has worked with the World Soundscape Project, editing its Handbook for Acoustic Ecology, and has published a book Acoustic Communication dealing with all aspects of sound and technology. As a composer, Truax is best known for his work with the PODX computer music system which he has used for tape solo works and those which combine tape with live performers or computer graphics. In 1991 his work, Riverrun, was awarded the Magisterium at the International Competition of Electroacoustic Music in Bourges, France, a category open only to electroacoustic composers of 20 or more years experience.
Leonard J. Paul on Video Game Audio Prototyping with Half-Life 2
Leonard Paul attained his Honours degree in Computer Science at Simon Fraser University in BC, Canada with an Extended Minor in Music concentrating in Electroacoustics. He has a fifteen year history in composing, sound design and coding for video games working for companies such as Electronic Arts, Backbone Entertainment, Radical Entertainment, moderngroove entertainment, Rockstar Vancouver and Black Box Games.
Presentations from Friday, May 1st, 2009: (click to show)
Tamara Smyth is Assistant Professor of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University. Previously, she served as the Technical Director of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustic (CCRMA) at Stanford University, after completing a Ph.D in Computer-Based Music Theory and Acoustics, and a Ph.D minor in Electrical Engineering, under the supervision of Julius O. Smith. Tamara also holds degrees in Music from McGill University (Piano Performance and Computer Applications to Music) and New York University (Music Technology). Tamara's research merges the areas of physical modelling synthesis, digital signal processing, musical acoustics and human computer interaction, for the development of new musical instrument technology and interactive sound sources.
James Maxwell on Hierarchical Sequential Memory for Music: A Cognitive Model
James Maxwell was born in Vancouver, Canada. He studied composition in Vancouver with Owen Underhill and David MacIntyre, and in Prague with Ladislav Kubik. In 2001 he completed his MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Simon Fraser University. His work has been broadcast on CBC's "West Coast Performance" and "Two New Hours", and has been heard in Canada, the US, Europe, China, and the UK. In the summer of 2000 he received the audience prize in Vancouver New Music's BC Emerging Composers Competition. He has worked collaboratively in contemporary dance, theatre, and film, creating music for choreographers Claire French and Helen Walkley, for director Mallory Catlett, and for film makers Alex Williams and Alison Beda.
James is currently a doctoral student at Simon Fraser University, where he is researching the field of computer-assisted composition, and designing intelligent, adaptive systems to act as compositional "collaborators."
Presentations from Friday, March 20th, 2009: (click to show)
Arne Eigenfeldt's music has been performed through North America, Europe, and Asia, and his research into intelligent realtime systems has been presented at ICMC, NIME, SMC, EMS, and SEAMUS. He teaches music and technology at Simon Fraser University's School for the Arts. Feel free to browse Arne's research or to check out the upcoming "MahaDeviBot Sessions" performance in Vancouver on March 13 at 8PM.
Feel free to browse Keith's research.
Should you have any questions or are interested in finding out more about the VCMM, please use the form below. If you are looking to contact individuals associated with the VCMM, please visit their respective websites linked through the members section of this site.
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