Digital Musics Highlights

On January 16, 2012 by Grad Forum
Students David Kant and Alex Dupuis perform at Fuel concert, October 2011

Students David Kant and Alex Dupuis perform at Fuel concert, October 2011

This exceptional group at Hallgarten hit the ground running, driving and flying to share their hard work and talent. In the fall, grad students organized concerts; their “Green Orpheus” performance (consisting of all six grad students) at Fuel was a big hit, followed by the concert  “MIDI JAMS”.  In New York, David Kant started a concert series called Transient Music . The January concert featured his “Happy Valley Band” with Alex Dupuis on guitar. Alex premiered a new piece “All Hail the Dawn” at the New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference in Oslo, and “Omaggio a Berberian” at ISMIR 2011 in October. In November, Ryan Maguire was invited to give a guest lecture on Electronic Music Composition at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, where his new work ‘Pivot’ for violin, flute, clarinet, cello and electronics was given its mid-Atlantic premiere.

Several students participated in the Music Hack Days in Montreal and Boston, and the entire Digital Musics program traveled to the October ISMIR 2011 Conference in Miami, Fl, where many presented papers or pieces. Jessica Thompson presented her poster “Searching the Liber Usualis: Using CouchDB and ElasticSearch to query graphical music documents”, she also traveled to Sierra Nevada, Spain in December 2011, where she and Prof. Michael Casey presented their paper “Timbre Population Codes for High-Level Categorization of Music” at a NIPS workshop on Machine Learning and Interpretation in Neuroimaging.

Prof. Michael Casey, Chair of the Department of Music and Director of the Bregman Music and Audio Research Studio, received a Faculty Research Award from Google Inc. The funding supports “Search by Groove,” a new music search engine that uses rhythm/groove to find related recordings in large music collections. The grant will facilitate close collaboration between the Department of Music, the Department of Computer Science, and Google Labs; it will also provide support for computer science PhD students who work with Casey in the Bregman Laboratory. In addition to primary investigator Casey, the research team includes Spencer Topel, lecturer and research assistant in the Department of Music, and computer science PhD students Qingyuan Kong and Andy Sarroff. Andy is a PhD student in the Computer Science Department and currently a graduate fellow of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science—he joined the Bregman team to pursue doctoral studies in computation of produced music recordings. He is working on music groove extraction and spatial characterization of recorded music.

Prof. Kui Dong is working on a 65-minute chamber opera “HuTong”, which will be produced by Real Time opera in collaboration with Cleveland Pubic Theatre and Oberlin Conservatory in the 2013-2014 seasons. The commission is funded by Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund. Arditti Quartet in Germany premiered her new quartet “Difference With Oneness” last summer.

Faculty member Larry Polansky is teaching at UC Santa Cruz this year, courses in composition and algorithmic composition, while supervising PhD students. After a busy summer in which he performed and had his pieces played over the course of 4 concerts in one week at The Stone in NYC, Larry was a guest composer in residence at the Ostrava New Music Days festival in the Czech Republic. In October, he was the keynote speaker at a festival/conference in Ghent, Belgium, hosted by the Orpheus Institute. He is also editing a major book of theoretical essays, by the composer and theorist James Tenney, for the University of Illinois Press.


Beau Sievers (GR ’10) won the prestigious Jefferson Fellowship to pursue a PhD in Music at the University of Virginia. Based solely on merit, the Fellowship provides full tuition, research funds up to $7,500 and an annual living stipend of $30,000 for five years—it rewards not only academic excellence, but also promotes graduate students who have outstanding teaching abilities and a commitment to university leadership. Beau distinguished himself by presenting research undertaken on cross-cultural emotion during an extended stay in Cambodia.

Kristina Wolfe (GR ’09) recently started her PhD at Brown in computer music.

Irina Escalante Chernova (GR ’05) and colleague Dr. Marc Gilley are working on a new project for saxophone and electronics. The piece will be performed at the University of St. Andrews celebration of the 2012 World Saxophone Congress XVI.

Ko Umezaki (GR ’93) recently returned from a trip to Japan where he and the string quartet Brooklyn Rider performed at a Buddhist temple (Jifukuji) located in the destruction zone of Kesennuma city, the region hardest hit from the 2011 tsunami. Among the works performed was the piece commissioned by Dartmouth’s Music Department and the Hopkins Center, “(Cycles) what falls must rise.”

It was an exciting year for Digital Musics, students, faculty, and alumni–we look forward to another great year in 2012!

by Rebecca Fawcett

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