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ImproTech Paris / NYC 2012 Schedule

May 16 20:30 : Opening Concert at Roulette

Concert page at Roulette

May 17 : Workshop 1 at NYU

Venue : NYU James L. Dolan 6th Floor Spaces


09:00 – 09:30

George Lewis : Opening Words

09:30 – 10:00

(See Bio)

Marc Chemillier - The ImproTeK Project

10:00 – 10:45

IMPROTECH is the name of a project granted by the French Research Agency dealing with improvisation and technology, conducted by IRCAM, EHESS and three other teams, from which the idea of the Paris New York workshop originated. Its goal is to study technological artefacts not only from the point of view of their technical aspects, but also from the point of view of their social and aesthetical implications, extending the question “how do musicians use technology for improvising?” to more general questions about why they do so. The presentation will give an overview of the project, and then address more specific questions about rhythm and the way technology changes our conception of rhythm, showing experiments that we are conducting with a variant of the OMax software called ImproteK (with “K” instead of “CH”) dealing with regular beats. (See Bio)

Pierre Saint Germier - Can Computers Improvise ?

10:45 – 11:15

There are now many computer programs (eg. Voyager, Omax) devised to interact in real time with human musicians. A question naturally arises about the status of the computer in this kind of interaction. Is there a legitimate sense in which one could say that the computer improvises ? This question can be seen as a variation on the theme of machine intelligence, as raised by Turing (1950). But improvisation has special features that make this case particularly interesting. We try to clarify the question at a general philosophical level and discuss various possible arguments and positions on this matter. (See Bio)

Coffee Break

11:15 – 11:45

Frederic Bevilacqua & Norbert Schnell - Playing the MO – Improvising with embodied Musical Objects

11:45 – 12:30

The MO (Modular Musical Objects) are small tangible motion interfaces that were designed for the interaction between gesture and sound. Hardware and software elements are thought as part of a modular ensemble enabling different digital music instruments. We will demonstrate different usage paradigms, and in particular, how these instruments can be used to (re-)embody recorded sounds when improvising with acoustic instruments.

(See Bio : Frederic Bevilacqua, Norbert Schnell)


12:30 - 14:00

Mari Kimura & her Juilliard Students - Integrating Musical Expression and Technology in Performance

14:00 – 15:00

Augmented Violin with gesture recognition and generative features : Mari Kimura and her students from the Julliard School of Music. Mari Kimura, violin & ICS, Milica Paranosic, vocals & gusle, composition, Matthew Weber, bass, composition , Mitchell Montealegre, bass, composition , Brandon Labadie - Baroque Oboe, composition, Chad Cannon - composition

Mari Kimura will demonstrate her work combining OMAX and Augmented Violin, her collaboration with both Musical Representation and Real Time Musical Interaction teams at Ircam. Her Juilliard students and colleagues will show their own works at Kimura's Interactive Computer Music Performance class at Juilliard, and at the end, give a short OMAX performance.

(See Bio)

Steve Lehman - Tempo-based Interactivity in Manifold

15:00 – 15:30

Manifold is an interactive composition built around a computer-driven model of musical improvisation. Based primarily in the Max/MSP programming environment, the piece incorporates detailed programming and live processing, and calls for an instrumental soloist and a trio of virtual instrumentalists to navigate a series of highly structured compositional grids.

(See Bio)

Coffee Break

15:30 - 16:00

Gilbert Nouno an Steve Coleman - Musical Arrhythmias

16:00 – 16:30

Musical Arrhythmias, with saxophonist Steve Coleman and computer musician Gilbert Nouno, explores some complex rhythmic structures driven by pattern matching, recognition technics and live interpretation.

See Bios : Gilbert Nouno, Steve Coleman

Jaime Oliver - Musical Instruments as Open Scores

16:30 – 17:00

Attempting to explore the intersections between instrument design and composition, I am currently working on the idea of designing systems that can be considered both a musical instrument, and an open work. An open work, in the sense developed by Umberto Eco, refers to a work that needs active participation from the performer and/or audience in order to be completed. In this case, the work is open not only to the performer, but also to the computer, process or interactive system. Open works usually take the form of a constrained space that fosters the emergence of specific musical while hindering others. Open scores are the way to notate these works offering ranges and options for the performer to execute. When talking of an instrument as open score, I am proposing that an instrument enforces an action space that makes available only certain desired material and combinations of material. By delineating a constrained space of action, an instrument ultimately performers to outcomes that exhibit invariant features, while the specific details of the work will vary form performance to performance. In such a context, we move away from the instrument as a supposedly neutral device, to one that is designed with an aesthetic purpose.

(See Bio)

Robert Rowe - Interactive Music @ NYU

17:00 – 17:45

An active community of composers, performers, and researchers has developed at NYU Steinhardt around issues of improvisation, performance, and technology. This overview will report on work by a number of practitioners in that community, including Robert Rowe, Morton Subotnick, Joel Chadabe, Luke Dubois, Dafna Naphtali, Florent Ghys, and others.

(See Bio)

May 18 : Workshop 2 at Columbia

Venue : Columbia Computer Music Center, Prentis Hall, 1st Floor and 3rd Floor




Doran Massey - The Gamification of Wiki-like Music Composition and Improvisation

10:00 - 10:15

A brief introduction into some approaches for adapting game theory, mechanics and strategies to music composition and improvisation. Starting from the recent history of related approaches such as aleatoric, stochastic, algorithmic and systems-based compositions, we will examine inherent similarities between musical composition/improvisation and game play. Then we will explore possibilities for using game mechanics to engage all levels of musicians, including audiences of disparate musical abilities and interests, in the collaborative creation of music.

(See Bio)

Damon Holzborn - Touch Device Instruments

10:15 – 10:45

Touchscreen computing devices include an array of interface technologies that can be used to create more complete musical instruments than their laptop/desktop cousins. Capabilities such as multitouch, accelerometer, gyroscope, and camera can be combined to design self-contained instruments. Liabilities such as limited computing power, reduced multitasking ability, and restrictions on interfacing with peripheral devices define boundaries on their use, however. Leveraging touchscreen device strengths while remaining mindful of their limitations suggests a simple, instrument-model approach to music app design.

(See Bio)

Sam Pluta - Laptop Improvisation in a Multi-Dimensional Space

10:45 - 11:15

With Jim Altieri, violin.

Using information theory as a foundation, this paper defines virtuosity in the context of laptop performance, outlines a number of challenges that face laptop performers and software designers, and provides solutions that have been implemented in the author's own software environment. A summary of the argument is that by creating a multi-dimensional environment of Sonic Vector Spaces and implementing a method for quickly traversing that environment, a performer is able to create enough information flow to achieve laptop virtuosity. (See Bio)

Coffee Break

11:15 - 11:45

Denis Beuret - Improvisations with an Augmented Bass Trombone

11:45 – 12:30

This presentation shows different systems involving an augmented bass trombone, a foot controller and sound recognition. These systems allow the musician to improvise and control live electronic programs. The target is to obtain intuitive interfaces and smooth interactive playing.

(See Bio)


12:30 - 14:00


Les Emeudroïdes - L' EMUPO

14:00 – 14:45

The Emeudroïds : Clément Canonne, piano, Joris Rühl, Clarinet; Roméo Monteiro, percussion, with the EMUPO interactive computer system.

A breathtaking mixture of collaborative laptop orchestra and acoustic instruments

OMax & Friends - The OMax Improvisation System

14:45 – 15:30

Benjamin Lévy, OMax, Nine Spirit (Raphael Imbert, sax, Simon Sieger, Trombone), Sylvain Roux, flutes & fifres

OMax is a software environment which learns in real-time typical features of a musician's style and plays along with him interactively, giving the flavor of a machine co-improvisation. It is based on researches on stylistic modeling carried out by Gerard Assayag and Shlomo Dubnov and on researches on improvisation with the computer by G. Assayag, M. Chemillier and G. Bloch & B. Lévy (Aka the OMax Brothers) in the Ircam Music Representations group. OMax has been played by / with such musicians as Bernard Lubat, Aka Moon, Mike Garson, Cécile Daroux, Steve Lehman, Mari Kimura, Jacques Di Donato, Médéric Collignon, Brice Martin, Michel Donéda, François Corneloup etc.

Sandeep Bhagwati : On Native Alien, Live-Comprovisation and Distributed Creativity

15:30 - 16:15

Sandeep Bhagwati with Navid Navab,Julian Stein,Lori Freedman.

NATIVE ALIEN is a cross-traditional comprovisation project for soloist and live computer environment at matralab (Concordia University Montréal), led by Sandeep Bhagwati, with programming by Navid Navab and Julian Stein in a modular environment using diverse improvisation and score softwares such as OMAX, CATART and BACH. Over the past 3 years, various leading musicians from diverse traditions have worked with and contributed to research and development on this project, among them: Mike Svoboda (Trombone, Switzerland), Amelia Cuni (Dhrupad, Vicenza), Vinny Golia (Saxes/Flutes, Los Angeles), Rohan de Saram (Cello, London), Wu Wei (Sheng, Berlin), Dhruba Ghosh (Sarangi, Mumbai), Lan Tung (Erhu, Vancouver), Coat Cooke (Sax, Vancouver), Mei Han (Guzheng, Vancouver), Cheryl L'Hirondelle (Cree Recitation, Vancouver), Lori Freedman (Montréal), David Rosenboom (Piano, Los Angeles).

In this demo-presentation, we will discuss the history of and aesthetic challenges encountered during this project, the architecture of the Native Alien environment, especially the (mis)uses and combinations of existing software environments realized. We will also discuss the research-creation methodology employed in this projects, its benefits and drawbacks.

Coffee Break

16:15 - 16:45


Dave Soldier - Improvisation by Brainwaves and Timeless Music

16:45 - 17:15

With Tristan Mckay, Piano

A short discussion of EEGs and the physiology of brainwaves, with a demonstration of a simple two electrode EEG system designed by Brad Garton that triggers MAX MSP events to create music whether or not there is volition by the composer/performer. Also, mathematic approaches to create "timeless" music by playing with musical dimensionality featuring pianist Tristan McKay on the clavinova performing Soldier's Fractals on the Names of Bach & Haydn.

(See Bio)

Slavo Krekovic - Flexible Body Electric

17:15 – 17:30

Improvisation with a hybrid analog-digital organism utilizing interactive techniques (machine learning) and wireless controllers for an expressive performance.

(See Bio)

Curtis Bahn, Terry Pender - (non) traditional

17:30 – 18:00

A discussion of instruments, technologies and improvisation derived from, abstracting and departing from musical traditions, followed by short performance.

See bios : Bahn, Pender

Final words

18:00 – 18:15

May 18 20:00 : Closing Concert at Columbia

Venue : Columbia Computer Music Center, Prentis Hall, 3rd Floor

Sandeep Bhagwati, "Native alien"

20:00 - 20:15

for solo musician and immersive comprovisation environment — Sandeep Bhagwati (composition), Lori Freedman (Clarinet), Navid Navab (Computer Musician), Julian Stein (Interactive Score)

Native Alien is a long term project - a search for a software that can "hold its own" in an improvised situation with a human performer. Over the past two years, the Native Alien team (Sandeep Bhagwati / Navid Navab) have developed advanced compositional, comprovisational and sonic software architectures that now are being tried, modified and improved upon in close practical collaboration with outstanding solo performers from many different music making traditions.

Detailed program note

Les Emeudroïdes with NY Guests

20:15 – 20:30

Les Emeudroïdes : Clément Canonne, Roméo Monteiro & Joris Rühl (EMUPO interactive system) and NY Guests : Sean Ali (double bass), Jérémy Bruyère (double bass), Carlo Costa (percussions, Joe Hertenstein (percussions) Les Emeudroïdes is an impro-oriented band founded in 2002, by Clément Canonne. Emupo is their latest project: a mix between computer music (produced by a collective software interface) and instrumental improvisation.

Denis Beuret

20:30 – 20:40

Denis Beuret is one of the most innovative Swiss composers and trombone players. He plays augmented bass trombone and live electronic with a huge sound palette.


20:40 – 21:00

Taylor Brook, "Stuart Lake"

21:00 – 21:15

Taylor Brook (composition), Craig Peterson (Trumpet)

Stuart Lake was written during the summer and fall of 2008 and further developed in recent months. In my early twenties, I spent several summers based in Fort St. James, British Columbia, near Stuart Lake. This work is a metaphor for the lake, which is vast, clean, cold, and is dotted by many small islands. In the music, the islands are represented by short mobile miniatures (their order and timing is decided by the soloist), while the lake is represented by a continuous backdrop of rich harmonic movement, played by the electronics. While performing Stuart Lake, the soloist improvises along guidelines which range from exact musical notation to completely free improvisation. The structure of Stuart Lake is predetermined, but the particular form of any performance will be newly invented by the soloist. (Taylor Brook)

OMax Company

21:15 – 21:30

Benjamin Lévy (OMax interactive system), Nine Spirit (Raphael Imbert, saxophone, Simon Sieger, Trombone), Sylvain Roux, flutes & fifres, Laurent Mariusse Percussion, Brice Martin Fagott. OMax is a software environment which learns in real-time typical features of a musician's style and plays along with him interactively, giving the flavor of a machine co-improvisation.

Doug Geers/Maja Cerar

21:30 – 21:45

Improvisation by Douglas Geers, computer, Maja Cerar, violin

In 2009, Maja Cerar and Douglas Geers collaborated with writer/director Mirjam Neidhardt to produce Inanna: Euphrates Survival Song, a ninety-minute multimedia theater work that featured prominent use of music through nearly its entirety. For ImproTech 2012, Cerar and Geers have selected a small number of moments from Inanna to improvise upon and trace new pathways among, extemporaneously reflecting on the dramatic context of the original work and memories of its creation while also defining new meanings for the immediate present.