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SARC CONCERT in Mexico. Music by McCurdy, Anders,
Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast

Northern Ireland
-> ACOUSMATIC CONCERT by SARC COMPOSERS (McCurdy, Anders, Brummer, Holstead, Dixon, Delap, Wilson,) Commissioned by RICARDO CLIMENT, SARC

Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC)

The Sonic Arts Research Centre, SARC is a newly established centre of excellence at the Queen’s University of Belfast dedicated to ground breaking research and creative work in the fields of audio and music technology. SARC has brought together expertise in the areas of musical composition, signal processing, digital hardware and internet technology from Schools in the University and has recruited leading researchers from institutions around the world.
Central to the research philosophy at SARC is synergy between the disciplines of Music, Computer Science and Electrical and Electronic Engineering.Programme

1 Iain McCurdy Points of collapse for tape (*) (2002) 9:24
2 Torsten Anders With Shifting Joints for tape (**) (2003) 10:02
3 Ludger Brummer Gestalt for tape (*) (2002) 5:09
4 Rachel Holstead Enchant for tape (**) (2003) 6: 05
5 Jason Dixon Strong words, softly spoken for tape (*) (2001) 8:30
6 Gordon Delap Mercurius for tape (*) (2000) 7:58
7 Paul Wilson Genesis for tape (*) (1999) 13:16
(*) Premier in México
(**) World premier1.

Iain McCurdy Points of collapse for tape (2002) 9:24
Points of Collapse continues, and takes to its limit, my interest in the role and representation of kinetics in music. The functions of movement, escape, stress, strain and often ultimately collapse are each given consideration. Individual sound objects are subjected to a variety of pressures, often undergoing deformation as a result. The piece in its entirety also represents a discreet entity, fragile and barely held together by internal forces and linkages.
The sound sources used are themselves strongly suggestive of the ideas mentioned above being, as they are, the result of various objects (timber, paper and eggshells) being placed under strain.
My choice of short and often pointillistic source sounds highlighted a need to imbue coherence and also to prolong or arrest the release of energy of the original gesturing. I developed a number of techniques of fragmentation and reconstruction – in either aleatorical or structured fashion – in pursuit of this end.

Iain McCurdy graduated from Queen's University Belfast in 1998 with a Bachelor of Music degree and again a year later with an MA in Music Technology. Currently he is working towards a PhD in Composition under the supervision of Prof. Michael Alcorn. His tape music and instrumental music has been performed throughout the British Isles and Europe. Particular interests at the moment include the incorporation of live electronics into music and the use of experimental control devices to extend performance possibilities.

2. Torsten Anders With Shifting Joints for tape (2003) 10:05
In the multichannel tape piece With Shifting Joints, I composed instrumental articulations and placed them around the listener.
I applied virtual instruments, physical models comprised of cells and their connections. Such instruments allowed me to realize unconventional articulations with high precision and extreme parameter changes. For example, I bowed an instrument with such a sharp attack that it almost sounds like hitting the instrument with a hammer. I further disturbed the decay of that attack by tremolo bow movements. Some of the articulations are impossible to perform in the real world. For instance, I coupled two freely vibrating strings by a spring, which results in a combined instrument with a complex spectrum. Now, while bowing one of the strings, I shifted the joining spring along the strings to shape spectral evolutions. This articulation technique became such an important feature that I named the piece accordingly.
The resulting sound events are rich and complex, therefore I have chosen a simple formal arrangement.
The spatialization underlines this form. Re-occurring sound events have their typical position or movement in a two-dimensional plane around the listener. Highly structured sound sequences are unified by a common
moving direction.
With Shifting Joints was commissioned by the Komponistenverband Thüringen e.V. It was produced in the studio of the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen's University Belfast (UK).

Torsten Anders
was born in 1968 in , Germany. He studied musicology and theology at the Humboldt- zu Berlin (1991--1992), switching to composition at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Weimar (1994--2000), where he specialized in electro-acoustics. Anders studied composition with Wolfgang von Schweinitz and Michael Obst, and electro-acoustic composition with Hans Tutschku, and Robin Minard, among others. Between 2000--2001, Anders worked as a programmer in the Music, Mind, Machine research group at the University of Nijmegen (NL). He attended postgraduate studies in electro-acoustic composition at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music (2000--2002). Anders is presently a PhD candidate at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen's University Belfast (UK).
Anders has composed multichannel tape pieces and sound installations, performed at the Danish Institute of Electroacoustic Music, Centrum i Techniki mangghmodelinga (PL), ICMC 2000, Radio MDR-Kultur
Leipzig, Electronic Music Studio of the Technische Universität Berlin, Wilhelm Wagenfeld Haus Bremen, Internationales Design Zentrum Berlin, Imaginata of
Jena City, to mention a few. He received commissions from FÖRDERBAND Kulturbüro Berlin, Komponistenverband e.V., Deutsches Gartenbaumuseum Erfurt, Design-Zentrum e.V., and scholarships of the Komponistenverband e.V. in 1999 and 2000.
Anders has written various software for music research and composition. Currently, his research is situated in the area of computer aided composition.
In his current research, situated in the area of computer aided composition, Mr. Anders looks for ways to describe music in a high-level manner. The composer may use such descriptions for instructing his assistant, the computer, to generate the music the composer wants.

3. Ludger Brümmer Gestalt for tape (2002) 5:09
For Francois Bayles’ 70th birthday
All the rhythmical objects in ‘Gestalt’ are generated by physical models. Rhythms and dynamic values as well as envelopes are not created by adding single events to a score. Instead complete phrases containing series of rhythmical evolutions are entirely performed by a complex model. One part of the physical object performs like a player while the other generates the sound. A slow moving pendulum for example would generate the rhythmical structure hitting another physical object creating the sound. Inside of these objects the audio- and the subaudio time ranges are united as a continuum, like in the real world, in the world of mechanics.
The interesting aspect about this technique is the fact that such an object acts like a ‘sound object’ in the context of Musique Concréte. But instead of just finding ‘ready mades’ and recording them onto tape the model can purposely be built and manipulated by the composers ideas.
In addition to phrase and timbre such an object generates a gesture identity, which would be encoded inside such a ‘pendulum’. Therefore it consists of a compositional cell, which can be transferred to other sounding objects with different spectral properties. But instead of reproducing an identical phrase with each of the timbre objects it would create slight variations each time since the interaction with the plucked or hit object is bi-directional: the ‘timbre object’ influences the ‘playing object’ and vice versa.
The use of complex sound objects has of course consequences to the compositional strategy. Instead of defining single events, amplitudes and rhythms entire phrases have to be combined and modified to result in a complex musical phrase of several layers.
Structuring music by physical techniques opens an new way to compose and generate music with an exciting potential for the future and only a very few promising examples are created already.

Ludger Bruemmer was born and educated in Germany. Studying psychology/sociology in Dortmund and composition with Nicolaus A. Huber and Dirk Reith at the Institute for Computermusic und Electronic Media [ICEM] Essen. Visiting Scholar at Centre for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University (1991-1993). Lecturer at the ICEM, Folkwang Hochschule Essen (1993-2000). Research Fellow at Kingston University (2000-2002). Composer Residence and Guest Composer at the Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (ZKM 1994-2002), Lecturer at Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast (2001-2002). Currently director of the Institute for Music and Acoustics at the Centre for Arts and Media, Karlsruhe (
Commissioned by choreographer Susanne Linke, the Nederlands Dans Theater, Den Haag, the French ministry of communication and culture, Siemens Foundation, Academy of the Arts Berlin etc. Several performances at ICMC's in San Jose, Tokyo, Banff and ICMA Commission for the ICMC Thessaloniki.
Awarded by the West German Radio [WDR], Folkwang Award, Busoni Award [Berlin],Golden Nice [Prix Ars Electronica Linz], winner of the Rostrum for electronic music [UNESCO], Grand Prix de Bourges and honourable mentions at Stockholm Electronic Music Award and the Luigi Russolo Award.

4. Rachel Holstead Enchant for tape (2003) 6: 02

Enchant was written in three incarnations during May and June of 2003. It started life as an idea for a work called Divas, based on samples of female voices. When I started working, however, it took a different direction and became Slowdance, dedicated to my partner Jason. Finally, with a new ending, it became Enchant. It is a very simple work where I have tried to give each idea its own space to breathe, rather than forcing it in a particular direction.
Rachel Holstead (1978) is from Co. Kerry in the south west of Ireland. She is currently a PhD student in composition at Queen’s University, Belfast, where she studies with Professor Michael Alcorn. Her music has been performed in concerts and festivals in Europe, the US and Asia including the Sonorities Festival and the Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival. Rachel’s output includes works for instruments and for electronic media. Previous studies include a BA (Hons.) in Music at Trinity College, Dublin, specializing in composition under the guidance of Kevin O’ Connell and Donnacha Dennehy. Rachel has attended the Dartington International Summer School in the UK and has received several awards including the Clifford Parker Bursary (Dartington), a William and Betty McQuitty Travel Award and awards from Arts Councils of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Her trio, dissolving into light recently won the IMRO Composers’ Competition at the Dublin Feis Ceoil.

5 Jason Dixon Strong words, softly spoken for tape (2001) 8:30
Words have tremendous power. Even the quietest whisper can yield devastating effects. strong words, softly spoken explores the potential energy captured within words and their ability to arouse different feelings in different people. The human voice was the only source sound used in this composition, including excerpts from James Joyce and Samuel Beckett (read by Rachel Holstead) alongside the Haka of the New Zealand “All Blacks” rugby union squad.
The piece begins with a hushed, chaotic texture. As the words release some of their power, they become increasingly audible and less confused until single words can be heard. Finally they crash back into a chaotic state, and although they are indistinguishable, they create a powerful and frantic climax.
strong words, softly spoken is dedicated to Rachel Holstead.

Jason Dixon (b. 1977) graduated with a BMus from the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1999. After a brief period of work he returned to Queen’s as a student on the MA in Music Technology course, which he has completed. He specialises in electroacoustic composition, but is also interested in instrumental composition, improvisation and conducting. Previous works include Morbid Anxieties (tape), Mutant Tapeworm (ensemble and tape), Mutant Neutrino (flute and tape), The Legend of Oscar (the life and times of a mutant oboe) (tape), Oscar the Mutant meets a sticky end (the chronicles of a weekend night-shift worker) (two percussion soloists and orchestra) and Not a mutant in sight (tape). Jason is currently employed as Studio Assistant in the School of Music at Queen’s.

6 Gordon Delap Mercurius for tape (2000) 7:58
Mercurius was composed between autumn of 1999 and summer of 2000, realised through use of studio facilities at City University, London.
The title of the work derives from a chart in the Elementa Chemicae, an alchemical manuscript housed in the British Library. A diagram in four parts depicts a mercurial serpent (mercurius) devouring and reconstructing itself in fire and water.
On one level, Mercurius was conceived as an exploration of destructive impulses. The capacity and desire to give and receive pain is an integral part of the human condition - the work partly represents an attempt to imbue sounds with the capacity to physically effect the listener. Sounds were stripped to the skeleton, sometimes reconstituted or welded to other sounds, while events tendency towards “collision” as opposed to fluid interaction. Claustrophobic, high-energy surges are contrasted with subdued passages which imply open spaces. The conclusion of the work could be understood as a process of germination - sometimes suggestive of improvisatory human activity - in which the dead materials begin to breathe, drawing upon the energies generated through previous events.

Gordon Delap was born in 1979. He has studied electroacoustic composition with Michael Alcorn, Simon Emmerson, and Denis Smalley. He is currently working towards a PhD at Queen’s University, Belfast.

7 Paul Wilson Genesis for tape (1999) 13:16
The origin of good and evil, and the necessity for either to classify or contextualise the other, is a theme which directed the realisation of this composition. Although there was never a programmatic narrative during the course of the realisation, this biblical conflict was always at the back of my mind when deliberating over the sound world.
The sonic palette makes use of gesticulative nuances inherent in the source sounds, in collaboration with transformed material. The result is a sound world consisting of both recognisable and surreal elements that should be perceived as having equal timbral significance. The composition begins with extremely high sinusoidal waves and ends with low gritty timbres, indicative of the polar opposites of good and evil. The placement of different frequencies in a loudspeaker enhances the perception of the sounds at the extreme ends of the spectrum. The composition journeys from one end of the spectrum to the other; the perception of timbres as being at each end of the continuum is reinforced within the context of its polar opposite.
Paul Wilson completed a PhD in composition at the Queen’s University of Belfast where he is currently Lecturer in music technology. His compositions include the use of both instrumental and electroacoustic resources, and have been performed by Barrie Webb, Orkest de Volharding and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland in Ireland, England, Europe and Central America and broadcast from live on Radio Ulster, RTE and Cuban radio stations. Recent projects include a collaborative installation with the artist Barbara Freeman for the Fenderski gallery in Belfast and a commission to write a new work for the anniversary of the S.E.E.L.B music service and a commission by Pedro Carneiro for Musica Viva 2003, Coimbra, Portugal.



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