Center for New Music In co-production with IRCAM — Centre Pompidou and the ICA/Boston present IRCAM @ BU CNM

A rare opportunity for U.S. composers and electronic musicians, IRCAM Conference 2016 to include concerts, demonstrations, and small hands-on workshops — April 25–29, 2016

Read a preview of the IRCAM conference in the Boston Globe

The Center for New Music at Boston University College of Fine Arts is thrilled to present IRCAM @ BU CNM, a unique opportunity for New England-area composers, electronic musicians, researchers, and students at Boston University and the ICA/Boston — April 25–29, 2016.

France’s IRCAM (Institute of Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music) has been a world leader at producing and performing works for ensembles and electronics for over three decades. Their work has completely redefined the way computers and performers work together in concert, creating both amazing new sounds and unprecedented degrees of interaction and coordination. This kind of work is not easily portable, and so IRCAM’s researchers and work have only rarely come to the United States.

“This is a really unique opportunity for just the kind of broad collaboration that the BU Center for New Music was created to foster,” says CNM Director Joshua Fineberg. “Beat Furrer, IRCAM, the ICA, the JACK, Sound Icon, and more — all of these groups have come together to offer a series of events that none of us could produce on our own. We hope a lot of different musical and scientific communities in our region will come together for these exciting events.”

From April 25–29, 2016, IRCAM and the Boston University Center for New Music will join forces to present a musical, pedagogical, and scientific event that will allow the engineers, performers, scientists, and pedagogues of IRCAM to interact with American composers, scientists, students, performers, and audiences during a week-long series of concerts, lectures, and workshops. This event will correspond with the final week of Austrian composer Beat Furrer’s residency with the BU Center for New Music.

There will be three parts to this residency: public concerts; public presentations, discussions and demonstrations; and small group hands-on sessions. The events are all open to the public; however, for the small groups sessions, RSVP is required.

Learn more about the IRCAM Conference 2016 at:


April 26, 8pm
BU Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Ken-David Masur, conductor

Beat Furrer: Zwei Studien (US premiere)
Schoenberg: Friede auf Erden
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
Symphony Hall
Tickets: $25 for general public; $12.50 for participants in the IRCAM @ BU CNM activities. Free with BU ID.

April 28, 7:30pm
Sound Icon
Jeffrey Means, conductor

Pierre Boulez: Anthémes 2 (Premiere, 1997, IRCAM Computer Designer, Andrew Gerzso)
Beat Furrer: Gaspara and Aria
Tristan Murail: L’esprit des dunes (Premiere, 1994, IRCAM Computer Designers, Serge Lemouton and Leslie Stuck)
Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston
Tickets: $10 for students or museum members; $20 for general public.
Special package offer: Both concerts (Sound Icon + JACK Quartet) $15 for ICA members + students; $25 nonmembers. Please call the ICA Box Office at 617.478.3100 to purchase package.

April 29, 7:30pm
JACK Quartet

Chaya Czernowin: Hidden (US Premiere)*
Jonathan Harvey: String Quartet No. 4**
IRCAM Sound Engineer Jérémie Henrot
IRCAM Computer Music Designer Serge Lemouton
*Premiere, 2014, IRCAM Computer Music Designer, Carlo Laurenzi
**Premiere, 2003, IRCAM Computer Music Designer, Gilbert Nouno
Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston
Tickets: $10 for students or museum members; $20 for general public.
Special package offer: Both concerts (Sound Icon + JACK Quartet) $15 for ICA members + students; $25 nonmembers. Please call the ICA Box Office at 617.478.3100 to purchase package.


All public presentations are free and open to the public, and will take place in the BU GSU Auditorium
775 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

April 25, 10am–1pm
Musical Computing and Technology

Gérard Assayag & Andrew Gerzso
Some of IRCAM’s leading personalities including Andrew Gerzso and Gérard Assayag will present both a historic overview and the state of the art in musical computing and research as seen from the IRCAM perspective. This lecture demonstration will be fast-moving and will include lots of examples from pieces created at IRCAM.

April 26, 10am–1pm
Spatialization and Computer-Assisted Composition

Immersive 3-D Audio Rendering using IRCAM Spat
Markus Noisternig, IRCAM STMS Lab
IRCAM’S Spatialisateur (in French) provides tools for immersive 3-D audio and room reverberation rendering. The artistic play with spatial relationships adds a further dimension to expressivity in music performance; it redefines the understanding of sound in space. This lecture will focus on applications of the Spat software to music, composition, performance practice, and media arts.

Computer-Aided Composition Using OpenMusic
Jean Bresson, IRCAM STMS Lab

OpenMusic is a visual programming environment dedicated to musical data processing and generation, used by a large community of users to carry out varied aspects of their compositional processes. We will present the main features and characteristics of this environment, as well as a number of applications in contemporary music production.

April 27, 10am–1pm, 2pm–5pm
The State of the Art: Workshop on Musical Sound Spaces
The presentations will go into more of the technological and scientific detail and highlight recent research and developments, especially on the domains of virtual sources, ambisonics, and spatialization or instrument radiation. These presentations should be of interest both to scientists and to a broader public, including musicians. We will conclude with a round-table discussion on the issues raised through the day. Moderated by B. Lee Roberts, Boston University.

Recent Advances in Immersive 3-D Audio Technologies
Markus Noisternig, IRCAM STMS Lab

Recent advances in 3-D audio technologies give rise to new ways of creating spatial experiences with sound; along with rhythm, melody, harmony, or the color of sound, space has become an essential element of expression in music composition and performance.

This talk gives an introduction to modern 3-D audio technologies using high-density loudspeaker arrays, such as Wave Field Synthesis (WFS) and Higher-Order Ambisonics (HOA), and discusses their respective advantages and limits. It offers some insights in 3-D audio recording technologies, such as spherical microphone arrays, and discusses how the use of new sound projection and recording technologies help create novel musical effects.

From Symbolic Music Processing to Spatial Audio-Research Directions in
Computer-Aided Composition

Jean Bresson, IRCAM STMS Lab
Computer-aided composition processes traditionally deal with a symbolic musical material, manipulated algorithmically, and rendered using classical score representations (pitches, rhythms, etc.) On the other hand, sound processing and specialization generally run in real-time interactive environments.

Research and developments carried out during the past 15 years in computer-aided composition systems have aimed at bridging these different fields. This idea will be illustrated through the presentation of musical research projects carried out in the Open Music environment, with a particular focus on recent applications integrating the control of sound spatialization in compositional processes.

Playing with (Helmholtz) Blocks: Interactive Analysis and Design of Instrument Bores
Professor Anthony T. Patera, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Work in collaboration with DBP Huynh and L. Nguyen (Akselos, S.A.) and M. Yano (U Toronto). Accurate and detailed solution of the Helmholtz equation of acoustics in complicated three-dimensional configurations is typically a time-consuming and resource-intensive task. In this talk, we describe a new computational environment which provides for real-time interactive analysis and design of acoustic systems, and, in particular, wind instruments.

In the first stage, offline, we construct a library of pre-computed components—in the case of instrument bores, circular duct segments with side holes, bends, branches, and expansions; in the second stage, we define any desired model—an instrument bore or more generally an acoustic duct—in terms of parameters which map to an assembly, or system, of components; in the third stage, we query our model for different values of the parameter—related to bend radii, placement of holes (open or closed, shape of bell, and frequency)—to evaluate outputs such as impedance and to visualize the three-dimensional pressure field. The second and in particular the third stages can be performed very rapidly, in minutes and seconds, respectively. We demonstrate the system through several user interfaces to a cloud server.

Building Performance Spaces and Infrastructure for Spatialized Music
Differentiation in Spacialization in Relation to Other Parameters in Composition and Listening
Johannes Goebel, EMPAC, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

There are not many performance spaces which are defined and constructed with the spatialization of sound/music as a fundamental and important design requirement. At the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts (EMPAC), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, we build a concert hall and two studios specifically to this requirement and we happened to have reached what we aspired to…which is never sure with acoustics. The considerations, the spaces and descriptions of a few works realized will be presented.

Equally important as architecture, room acoustics, and technology, are considerations of how hearing, listening, composition, and aesthetic-cultural context are correlated. How do compositional ideas and strategies relate to perception, memory, and musical context? Or rather the other way around: how do perception and musical context support or contradict compositional ideas? What is the relationship of compositional shaping of sound in space related to the listening and experience during a performance.

April 28, 10am–1pm
Round-table discussion on the issues raised throughout the day

In a special tribute to the recently deceased founder of IRCAM, Pierre Boulez, Andrew Gerszo, his lifelong collaborator for music technology will talk about their work together and answer questions about Boulez’s approach to technology, followed by a composer round-table featuring Beat Furrer, Chaya Czernowin, Joshua Fineberg, Andrew Gerzso, and others, moderated by Allen Speight.
10am–11am Andrew Gerzso
11am–1pm Round Table


All events are free, but participants must apply and register. These events will take place in the BU CFA Electronic Music Studio (855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215 — Room B38)

Instructor: Gregoire Lorieux, composer, computer music designer and teacher at IRCAM

Group 1:
Session 1 — April 25th, 2pm–5pm
Session 2 — April 28th, 2pm–5pm
Group 2:
Session 1 — April 25th, 6pm–9pm
Session 2 — April 29th, 10pm–1pm
Group 3:
Session 1 — April 26th, 2pm–5pm
Session 2 — April 29th, 2pm–5pm

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