Sever TipeiProfessor of Composition-Theory
Diploma (piano), Bucharest Conservatory; D.M.A. (composition), University of Michigan; additional studies in musical aesthetics at l'Université de Paris VIII
Sever Tipei is a composer and theorist whose main fields are computer music and music formalization. Professor Tipei manages the Computer Music Project of the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios and, as a visiting scientist at Argonne National Laboratory (1993-2003), he pursued research in sonification of scientific data. Professor Tipei believes that the composition of music should be both an experimental and a speculative endeavor that delivers a particular world view. He regards the computer as a collaborator whose skills and abilities complement those of the human artist. Most of his compositions were produced with software he designed (MP1, MANIFOLD — for computer-assisted composition) and developed with collaborators (DIASS, DISSCO, MOSS — for sound synthesis, M4CAVE — for visualization of music). MP1, first used in 1973, was the first such program to run on a supercomputer (CRAY-XMP, in 1986); the others have been implemented at Argonne National Laboratory and at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications on high-performance computers and in the CAVE, an immersive virtual environment. Professor Tipei’s papers have appeared in the Computer Music Journal, Leonardo, and in proceedings of various international computer music conferences, such as Music Perception and Cognition. In 1989 he introduced the concept of “manifold composition,” the collection of all actual and potential variants of a computer-generated musical work that contains elements of indeterminacy. Professor Tipei’s music is recorded on Centaur, Veriatza, and University of Illinois albums. As a pianist, he has performed in the United States, Korea, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Romania, and recorded for the ORION label. He received a appointments to the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study and awards from the Illinois Arts Council, Meet the Composer and Fulbright Senior Specialist Program.
I urge my composition students to question their decisions and discard those made by force of habit. I encourage them to avoid imitating preexisting styles while trying to understand why particular techniques have worked in certain instances and to find a personal voice by experimenting in intelligent ways. I believe that music theory should take a look at the relationship between musical thought, technique, and the prevailing world-view of the period.†† When dealing with traditional music, I insist on the reasons behind various rules while in higher-level courses, such as Music Formalization, Computer Music and Musical Informatics, I present abstract principles transcending historical and geographical constraints. I try to be helpful to my students and generous with my time while maintaining high standards. I treat the students as mature people and expect them to perform to the best of their abilities.