Computer Music Project 30th Anniversary Concert I
Music Building
MB Auditorium
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
7:30 PM


A Mere Ripple


Raw Data



Quartet No. 4 for Strings “Illiac Suite”
  1. Experiment One (Presto, Andante, Allegro)
  2. Experiment Two (Adagio, ma non troppo Lento)
  3. Experiment Three (Allegro con Brio)
  4. Experiment Four (Tanto Presto che Possibile)

Illiac Quartet

The Sky is Cold (First Iteration)

The Computer Music Project is a facility for research, production of music, and teaching. It was established in 1984 with the help of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for New Music Centers, a UIUC Campus Research Board Grant (both submitted by James Beauchamp, Herbert Brün, John Melby and Sever Tipei) and a School of Music contribution. James Beauchamp was named CMP Director by the Dean of FAA and Herbert Brün, Sal Martirano, John Melby, Sever Tipei and Scott Wyatt were asked to serve as a policy committee.

Two major IBM grants, EXCEL (Excellence in Computer-Aided Education and Learning) in 1986, and SUR (Shared University Resources) in 1987, helped acquire state of the art computer hardware. Subsequently, grants from the UIUC Campus Research Board were used to support research activities and update equipment.

In 1987 the International Computer Music Conference and a Computer Music Workshop were organized by James Beauchamp and Sever Tipei. Numerous collaboration over the years were established between CMP and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the CERL Sound Group, and the Argonne National Laboratory. Faculty and students have authored over 100 articles and paper presentations at major national and international conferences such as International Computer Music Conference, Acoustical Society of America, International Conference on Music Perception & Cognition and International Society for Music Information Retrieval.

The Computer Music Project became part of the UIUC Experimental Music Studios in 1997. During its 30 years of existence, research projects conducted by faculty and students led to the development of original software used in the creation of new works and teaching. Among such projects are: M4C, DIASS, SoundMaker and GACSS for sound synthesis, SNDAN and ARMADILLO for sound analysis, MP1 for computer-assisted composition, M4Cave for visualization of music in an immersive environment, NOTEPRO and GrafChord for music notation, DISSCO for composition and sound synthesis.







Born in Dublin in 1970, Donnacha Dennehy has received commissions from Dawn Upshaw, the Kronos Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Lucilin, Contact (Toronto), Electra, the Fidelio Trio, Icebreaker, Joanna MacGregor, Orkest de Ereprijs, Orkest de Volharding, Percussion Group of the Hague, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra (BBC Radio 3), Smith Quartet, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players among others. Collaborations include pieces with the writer Enda Walsh (Misterman and a forthcoming opera), the choreographers Yoshiko Chuma (To Herbert Brun) and Shobana Jeyasingh, (Hinterlands), and the visual artist John Gerrard (Composition for Percussion, Loops, Blips and Flesh).

His work has been featured in festivals such as the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the UK (which opened its 2012 Festival with a portrait concert devoted to Dennehy’s music), ISCM World Music Days, Carnegie Hall’s Contemporary Music Subscription Series (in 2013 and forthcoming in 2014), WNYC’s New Sounds Live, Bang On A Can, Ultima Festival in Oslo, Musica Viva Lisbon, the Saarbrucken Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, and the Gaudeamus Festival in Amsterdam. In 2010 his large single-movement orchestral piece, Crane was ‘recommended’ by the International Rostrum of Composers.

Returning to Ireland after studies abroad at the University of Illinois (USA), Ircam (France) and the Netherlands, Dennehy founded the Crash Ensemble, Dublin's now renowned new music group, in 1997. Crash Ensemble is very much associated with the performance of many of Dennehy's landmark works, including the pieces Grá Agus Bás (with the singer Iarla O' Lionaird) and That the Night Come (with Dawn Upshaw) which feature on Dennehy's 2011 release on Nonesuch Records (entitled Grá Agus Bás). The Guardian, in a 5-star review of that discreferred to the music's "startling freshness".  NPR named the disc one of its "50 Favorite Albums" (in any genre) of 2011. In July 2012, Cantaloupe released an EP of his piano music, played by Lisa Moore. Previous releases include a number by NMC Records in London.

Normally a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, Donnacha was appointed a Global Scholar at Princeton University in the Autumn of 2012. He was also appointed composer-in-residence for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in Texas (2013-14).

GUBU (1995)
The phrase grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented was paraphrased from a comment by then Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, Charles Haughey, while describing a strange series of incidents in the summer of 1982 that led to a double-murderer being apprehended in the house of the Irish Attorney General.


It was a bizarre happening, an unprecedented situation, a grotesque situation, an almost unbelievable mischance.

The corresponding acronym, GUBU, was coined by Conor Cruise O'Brien, and both it and the phrase are still occasionally used in Irish political discourse to describe notorious scandals. In January 2011 some ministerial resignations from the Government were described by its opponent Michael Noonan as "...bizarre, grotesque and to some extent unbelievable."

Herbert Brün first turned to electronic sound production for the composition of music during the late 1950s in Paris, Cologne, and Munich studios, particularly guided by Gottfried Michael Koenig. before that, and at the same time, he composed works for acoustic instruments: small and large chamber ensembles and orchestra.

He also worked as a composer and conductor of music for the theater, gave lectures and seminars on the function of music in society, and did broadcasts on contemporary music. After completing a lecture tour through the United States in 1962, he went to the University of Illinois to do research; he taught there until is retirement in 1987 and after as a Professor Emeritus.

From 1980 on, he toured and taught with the Performers' Workshop Ensemble, a group he founded. His awards and honors include an honorary doctorate from the University of Frankfurt, one prize from the International Society of Bassists, (1977), and the Norbert Wiener medal from the American Society for Cybernetics 1993. He helped found the School for Designing Society in 1993 and taught there through the year 2000. Brün wrote and spoke incisively on the social and political significance of composition and on the tendencies of language to preempt thought.

Herbert Brün was born 1918 in Berlin, Germany, and studied with Eli Friedmann, Frank Pelleg, Wolf Rosenberg, and Stefan Wolpe.

A Mere Ripple (1979)
One sequence is varied fifty-six times, with extraordinary admonishments to itself thrown in and between.

(This music does not speak for itself)

A Mere Ripple likes neither its composer nor its listener. Least of all it likes the learned who know what's what. It wouldn't mind, however, if all this were to change, and would rather be swallowed by change than be liked without.

(This music does not want to speak for itself lest it discourages someone from speaking for it)
                                                                                                   -Herbert Brün

SAWDUST, a computer program for sound synthesis, was conceived by Herbert Brün, designed and implemented by Gary Grossman, and enhanced by Jody Kravitz and Keith Johnson.

Kurt James Werner is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer-Based Music Theory and Acoustics (CBMTA) @ Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA, pronounced "karma"), a composer of electro-acoustic / acousmatic (&c.) music, author of digital signal processing code & compositional algorithms (see: Grani+, boots&cats&&&, &c.), & avid circuit-bender. His research focuses on computer modeling of circuit-bent instruments (see: [], &c.) and drum machines, experimental audio and visual codecs, and other assorted music technology topics. His music references elements of algorithmic/generative composition, breakbeat, chiptunes, musique concrète, circuit bending, & (granular & otherwise) synthesis, in juxtaposition & superimposition, directly & indirectly. He recently received a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering (w/ a secondary field in Acoustics) & a Bachelor of Music in Composition / Theory from UIUC (the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

ClannngMMMCCLXX (2009)
The work was produced with SoundMaker, a sound-generating program using the Library for Additive Sound Synthesis (LASS), a module of DISSCO. Decisions of all of the details in a pre-defined macro structure are made with random choices.

Robin Bargar has a research and creative background in digital media and software development,with a focus on systems integration and interaction design for creative applications. In April 2011 Robin was named Dean of the School of Media Arts, and Professor in the department of Interactive Arts and Media at Columbia College Chicago, the nation’s largest private non-profit college for media, communication and the arts. Previously Robin was Dean of the School of Technology and Design and Professor of Entertainment Technology at the New York City College of Technology, City University of New York.

Trained as a pianist, composer and filmmaker, Robin received a DMA in composition from the School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, served briefly on the faculty and as a researcher at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. From 1992-2000 he led the Audio Development Group in software development and prototyping media performance in the CAVE virtual environment. In the Beckman Institute Robin also served as Director of the Integrated Systems Laboratory, an interdisciplinary environment for simulation, prototyping and visualization. Robin later served as Director of Hexagram, the Institute for Research and Creation in Media Arts and Technologies, Montréal. His creative work has been presented on MTV and in theatrical cinema release, and at international venues including SIGGRAPH and Ars Electronica. He holds two US Patents and received an Oscar co-nomination for Best Short Film (Animated).

Raw Data (1991)
Raw Data is dedicated to the commercial synthesizer industry. A synthesizer artist representing the Yamaha Music Corporation once predicted an artistic utopia: a device that transfers creative thoughts directly from the artist’s brain to others’ brains, with no intervening medium. A thought experiment on this presumed utopia suggests it will be nearly impossible to know if an experience is really yours, or from someone else. The only clue to original experience will be the presence of raw data: unprocessed, un-manipulated material. Unfortunately, media factories will catch on to this and in pursuit of more realistic effects will begin to simulate raw data in their products. Raw Data is an homage to that thought experiment and to Yamaha’s role therein.

Embracing the alternative that good sound is errant sound, computer-generated sound presents the assignment to find a way compose un-manipulated material using a computer program. Not to simulate an absence of manipulation with pseudo-random numbers, but to generate real errant sound from fixed processes. The auditory formations between small bits of sound present one response to that composition assignment. In Raw Data Yamaha instruments were invited to the party with the condition that they try to relax and have a good time.

The majority of sounds were computed on a Cray Y-MP (since decommissioned) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, using the M4C software synthesis environment created at the Computer Music Project, School of Music, UIUC. Composition algorithms and software were developed at the CMP and the NCSA Numerical Lab. Acknowledgments to Chris Kriese for his port of M4C to the Cray Y-MP, which was the only machine on campus in 1991 that could compute the composition in time for the premiere performance. Additional thanks go to Sever Tipei for arranging access to the supercomputer. Congratulations are due to Jim Beauchamp and Sever Tipei for founding and maintaining the CMP in a challenging administrative climate.

Carla Scaletti has a bachelor's of music from the University of New Mexico, a masters of music from Texas Tech University, a masters of computer science from the University of Illinois and a doctorate in music composition from the same school. In the 1970s, she worked as principal harpist in the New Mexico and Lubbock Symphony Orchestras and composed for acoustic instruments, but later she developed an interest in computer generated music. After completing her education, she worked as a researcher at the CERL Sound Group, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and later as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Illinois before leaving the university to launch the Symbolic Sound Corporation.



Scaletti designed the Kyma sound generation computer language and co-founded Symbolic Sound Corporation with Kurt J. Hebel in 1989 as a spinoff of the CERL Sound Group. She also works as a lecturer at the Center for the Creation of Music Iannis Xenakis (CCMIX) in Paris.

Scaletti is a member of the executive committee for the IEEE Task Force on Computer Music, a member of the advisory board for the Electronic Music Foundation, and is the founder and chair of SIGSound, a special interest group within the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Scaletti also serves as the president of the Salvat ore Martirano Foundation.

Scaletti has published professional articles in the Computer Music Journal, proceedings of the OOPSLA and SPIE conferences, Perspectives of New Music, and as book chapters. In 2003 she received the Distinguished Alumnae Award for contributions in the field of music from Texas Tech University.

sunSurgeAutomota (1987)
In sunSurgeAutomata, one-dimensional cellular automata are used to organize a collection of clicks into patterns perceived as rhythm and pitch. This is expressive of Lewis Thomas' proposal that the development of life on Earth may have been “thermodynamically inevitable,” given the steady streams of energy from the sun to the unfillable sink of space by way of Earth. Thomas suggests that the “urge to make music” may be a desire to recapitulate this “transformation of inanimate, random matter in chaos into the improbable ordered dance of living forms.”

John Nichols III is recognized nationally and internationally for his electroacoustic works, and he continues to enthusiastically examine and test the limits of the art form. Some of his awards include winner of the Conlon Music Prize for Disklavier Plus (2013, Netherlands), Second Prize in the Foundation Destellos Sixth International Competition of Electroacoustic Composition and Visual Music (2013, Acousmatic Music Category), Second Prize in the International Workshop on Computer Music and Audio Technology 2012 International Electroacoustic Music Young Composers Awards (Hsinchu, Taiwan), a Jury Special Mention and Audience Award in the 27th Luigi Russolo International Sound Art Competition (2013, France & Spain), and a Special Mention in the 2012 Métamorphoses Acousmatic Composition Competition (Brussels, Belgium). His works have been selected for publication on SEAMUS, ABLAZE Records, Musiques & Recherches, and Monochromevision. A native of Chicago, Mr. Nichols is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Composition at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he won the Fourteenth Annual 21st Century Piano Commission Competition.



Headbanger (2012)
Headbanger is inspired by the following John Cage quote:

"I certainly had no feeling for harmony, and Schoenberg thought that that would make it impossible for me to write music. He said, 'You'll come to a wall you won't be able to get through.' So I said, 'I'll beat my head against that wall.' "

Considering Cage’s influence on electroacoustic music, I felt it would be appropriate to make a reference to his first electroacoustic composition. Headbanger concludes with an allusion to the constant note record heard at the beginning of Imaginary Landscape No.1 (1939).

Lejaren Hiller was born in New York in 1924.He attended Princeton University, where he studied composition with Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions, while at the same time studying chemistry and related sciences. For a period of some ten years subsequent to this, he was professionally engaged in scientific research, first with the du Pont company and later at the University of Illinois. It was at the end of this period, namely in 1956, that he composed the ILLIAC SUITE in collaboration with Leonard Isaacson. This was the first composition produced by means of a digital computer.

While teaching chemistry, Hiller also worked towards a M.M. in composition, studying with Hubert Kessler. After receiving his M.M. in 1958, he transferred to the music faculty in order to start the Experimental Music Studio. In 1968 Hiller joined the faculty at the University of Buffalo as a professor of composition. Hiller received two Fulbright lectureships, the first of which was in 1973 to 1974 in Warsaw, Poland. The second of these two lectureships was in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, in 1980.

Hiller was an experimental composer in the strictest sense. In the mid sixties, Hiller asserted that his, "objective in composing music by means of computer programming is not the immediate realization of an aesthetic unity, but the providing and evaluating of techniques whereby this goal can eventually be realized." In this sense Hiller was a forward looking composer, in that each piece was an experiment that lead towards the next piece.

Quartet No. 4 for Strings “Illiac Suite” (1956/1957)
This music is a chronological record – a laboratory notebook – of experiments carried out from 1955 to 1957 to determine whether digital computers such as ILLIAC I might be used to generate music subject only to general instructions derived from logical compositional procedures. It is divided into four movements which illustrate how various musical problems might be encoded for a computer. Whatever aesthetic unity it might have is entirely incidental to its main reason for existence.


In “Experiment One,” the primary purpose was the generation of a recognizable form of polyphonic music simply to demonstrate that the technical problem can be handled. Simplified four-part first-species strict counterpoint was employed for this purpose. The successive sections of this movement demonstrate how the technique of composition was elaborated from monody to two-part to four-part writing.

In “Experiment Two,” the complete and correct solution to first-species counterpoint was achieved to demonstrate that a conventional form of music can be handled by computer logic. In this movement, there is first heard a purely random white-noise music. Then, to this, rules are added section by section which impose order until at the end of the movement, correct counterpoint is obtained. Another way of interpreting this progression is to note that this is an illustration of how a system of high information content is gradually transformed into a system of low information content by the introduction of redundancy.

In “Experiment Three,” problems of rhythms, dynamics and playing instructions were investigated in a texture of freely dissonant chromatic writing. The pitch choices are fixed in the first section of the movement, then are chosen randomly from the ordinary chromatic scale, then are controlled somewhat by some simple compositional rules and finally by some elementary twelve-tone serial produces.

In "Experiment Four,” stochastic or probability music was generated. Although this is the most abstruse method of composition employed in these experiments, it also seemed the most logical technique for further developments in computer-assisted composition. It is the compositional technique most suited to and most dependent upon high-speed mathematical processing.
                                                                                                   -Lejaren Hiller

I. In 1984, Sean Harold was the first man on Earth to be his mother’s son. His father was fully aware of this, though he may not have let on for fear of reprisal.
II. Perhaps coincidentally, in 1984 Sean Harold’s father was the first man on Earth to be Sean Harold’s father. But this honor seems dubious in retrospect.
III. In 1986, Sean Harold’s sister was the first woman on earth to be Sean Harold’s sister, though her hand in this accomplishment has been called into question, and no doubt the record books will carry an asterisk.
IV. (At this juncture, it seems prudent to mention that 1995 was an entirely unfavorable year. Its details shall be omitted.)
V. In the early years of the new millennium, so called at the time anyway, Sean Harold became the first person on Earth to ironically outline the biographical details of Sean Harold’s life. This was in poor taste at the time, and little has since improved.

The Sky is Cold (First Iteration) (2012)
The Sky is Cold was written using three recursive overlapping forms, each of which is, in of itself, a recursive tripart form. The piece is based around an extended Just Intoned pitch system, wherein higher partials are introduced into each of the overlapping forms over time. Similarly, timbre shifts, dynamics, and density all shift within each form as the piece progresses. These processes are controlled stochastically, allowing different iterations of the piece to retain their general identity, while still being unique works unto themselves. Every aspect of this composition was created entirely within DISSCO, from the micro to the macro level, which allowed for an incredibly high level of inner-unity.

Illiac Quartet
YeonKyeong Go graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2013 with a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature. She published her dissertation "Jascha Heifetz's Transcriptions for Violin and Piano: A Study of Their Genesis and Styles" in Proquest and Ideals. The dissertation provides a new evaluation and interpretation of often-neglected pieces of violin literature. She studied with Taesik Pyung at Yeungnam University, with Sherry Kloss at Ball State University, and with Sherban Lupu at UIUC. She had master classes with Ivry Gitlis, Claire Hodgkins, James Buswell, Joseph Gold, and Felicia Moye.

As a soloist, Go performed numerous recitals in the United States and Korea. Her repertoire includes works from Corelli to Bartok, Salvatore Martirano, and 20th century works such as Violin Concerto by Alban Berg and Mikka by Iannis Xenakis. She attended the Jascha Heifetz Forums as a soloist and as a teacher since 2006 and the Aria International Music Festival as a participant in 2006 and 2007. As an orchestra musician, she is the principal first violin and the librarian for Sinfonia Da Camera and has performed with Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Heartland Festival Symphony, Milikin-Decatur Orchestra, and Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra.

Saewon Oh currently pursues a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at University of Illinois in Urbana. In 2010, she received her Master of Music and Artist Diploma from University of Cincinnati where she also was awarded a Graduate Scholarship. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Dongduk Women's University. Her teacher includes Won-bin Yim, Sibbi Berhardsson, Nelson Lee, and Yoo-mee Kim. She has been the first violinist of Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra since 2012 and was the concertmistress of University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra in 2010. She had numerous solo recitals in the U.S and Korea. She recently gave solo recitals at Young-San Art Hall in Korea.

Lydia Tang is concurrently pursuing a Doctorate in Musical Arts in Viola Performance and a Masters in Library Science with a Certificate in Archives and Special Collections. She previously earned her Masters degree in Viola Performance at the University of Illinois in 2011 and performed with the Illinois Modern Ensemble from 2009-2011. She also studied at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Central Washington University, and the Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland. She is the principal violist of the Urbana Pops Orchestra and the Danville Symphony, and also performs with Sinfonia da Camera, Illinois Symphony, Decatur Symphony, and the Peoria Symphony. She premiered several new works with the IME, collaborated with Canadian composers at the Montreal Contemporary Music Workshop in 2012, and most recently premiered pieces written for her by Scott Rubin, Elaine Fine, and Peter Michalove.

Myo Ah Seo was born in Seoul, Korea. She began to study cello at the age of ten, and two years later, she was admitted into Ye-won School. She received her Certificat (Cycle de Spécialisé) from CNR de Paris and her BM, MM, and Orchestral Studies Diploma (Internship at Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra) from the Eastman School of Music. She is currently pursuing for her DMA at UIUC. She participated in many summer festivals in Europe and U.S. and she is a member of Sinfonia da Camera and Illinois Symphony Orchestra.