When did you join the Music Department at Wesleyan?
I joined the department as an artist in residence in the early 80s and
converted to adjunct associate professor in the early 90s. As an artist in
residence, I was expected to teach three courses a year and maintain an
active professional profile as an artist and composer. As an adjunct
professor, I am expected to teach four courses a year, participate in
committee work, and maintain an active professional profile. Most of the
adjunct faculty in the Music Department began as artists in residence.
What do you consider yourself, musically, to be an expert on?
Live electronics, computer music systems, sound installation and American
experimental music. I am also a mediocre pianist.
you tell me a bit about your educational background and what led you into
I was a Wesleyan undergraduate and I came to Wesleyan with an interest in
experimental music. In fact, it was a video tape of Nam June Paik's that
featured Alvin Lucier that led me to apply to Wesleyan in the first place.
After Wesleyan, I studied at Mills College, worked as a recorded engineer
and was an artist in residence at Media Study/Buffalo and a creative
associate at Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at SUNY Buffalo.
came to Wesleyan with an interest in experimental music, and now you’re also
director of the electronic music and recording studios. Tell me about the
studio, and what you can produce here.
There are two studios, a recording booth connected to two large recording
studios that double as classrooms and rehearsal spaces and an electronic
music studio. The studios are used for recording and producing student and
faculty work. Much of the work we do in the electronic music studio takes
the form of interactive systems and live electronics using various kinds of
software and hardware.
Can you give me a project example?
A particular focus is SuperCollider, a programming environment for computer
music that is now distributed as free software. SuperCollider is being
developed by a number of programmers located throughout the world through
SourceForge, the largest open source software development site in the
world. My own work with SuperCollider has been primarily focused on my own
work and making tools that enable students to be able to develop pieces
quickly. However, I recently provided a nerdier contribution by optimizing
SuperCollider's primary score library.
In addition to your work on SuperCollider, I understand that you’re an
active composer and scholar?
This last year I have been doing more work as a scholar and curator. The
most recent number of Leonardo Music Journal has an article of mine on the
work of the composer and pianist David Tudor together with a CD of his work
that I edited. Last spring I curated a group exhibition of sound works at
the gallery Art in General in Tribeca. Most recently, a piece I made in
collaboration with Ed Tomney was presented in New York City and a piece made
while I was a composer in residence at the Center for Contemporary Music at
Mills College was presented in Oakland, California.
Do you give presentations on your work and music?
who knows me will verify, I like to talk. Over the last year, I have given
talks and participated in panels at the Getty Research Institute, the art
department at Stanford University, the music department at Harvard, the
great hall at Cooper Union in New York City and at Columbia University.
would you describe the musically-inclined students at Wesleyan. Where do
these students end up working if they stick with a music degree?
students at Wesleyan are an extremely varied group. The only attributes they
all seem to share are keen interest and intelligence. Students of mine have
gone to graduate programs at RPI, the Art Institute of Chicago, Cal Arts,
Mills College, SUNY Stony Brook, the Baden-Wurttemburg exchange
program. Some are teaching, some are in the media industry, some are in the
music software industry, some are pursuing careers in Europe and the U.S.
What’s a typical day like for you here in the Music Department?
Normally, I teach two classes, run a group tutorial and individual thesis
tutorials with undergraduate and graduate students. I also organize an
annual festival of new and experimental music. One project in last year's
festival involved replacing the light classical muzak that emanates from the
parking garage near Main Street with projects developed by students in my
of work, what do you like to do? Does it involve music?
Along with music, I love cooking. Many composers are also good cooks! I also
enjoy sports such as skiing, hiking, swimming and squash. I am a
particularly bad squash player. I do some mountain climbing. Two years ago I
climbed the Grand Teton with a friend and a guide.
your family into music, too?
Actually, this is my most important project. During Valentine's Day 2003, my
wife, Bobbi, and I returned from China with our newly adopted daughter, Cai.
Cai is definitely musically oriented. In the grocery store, she managed to
get a crowd staring up at the speaker in the ceiling by pointing at it and