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Home Activities Distinguished Lectures Marco Stroppa, Musikhochschule, Stuttgart, Germany: "The compositional control of sound synthesis: From Traiettoria to OMChroma"

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Marco Stroppa, Musikhochschule, Stuttgart, Germany: "The compositional control of sound synthesis: From Traiettoria to OMChroma"

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  • Distinguished Lecture
When Apr 15, 2011
from 04:30 PM to 06:00 PM
Where C-201, Schulich School of Music, McGill University, 555 Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal QC
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Through a set of works starting from Traiettoria (1982) for piano and computer-generated sounds, until the current project (Re Orso, a piece for the music theatre, for 4 singers, 4 actors, 11 instruments and a great deal of electronics), and passing by Come Natura di Foglia (1997) for 4 voices and electronics, and hist whist (2009) for violin and chamber electronics, I will delve into the usage of software sound synthesis from a compositional standpoint, especially when used in combination with acoustic instruments.

Which consequences arise for the composer who accepts the challenge of searching the inner nature of computer-synthesized sounds, but is also looking for a lively, dialectical relationship with the sound of acoustic instruments? Which kind of forms can organize similar compositional materials?

I will show that, at least as far as I am concerned, one part of the solution to finding adequate relationships lies in the force of an abstract musical thought, rather than in the search of a sound mimetism.

This has been a passionate quest since the beginning of my studies and has given rise not only to a certain number of pieces, but also to "OMChroma", an environment for the control of sound synthesis embedded into the computer-aided environment Open Music and currently available through IRCAM. In this way, the layer of micro-structural composition needed by software synthesis can encompass and dialectally question higher-level computer-aided compositional tasks.

I will end by raising some still open issues that directly arise from this approach.



Composer, researcher and educator, Marco Stroppa (Verona, 1959) studied piano, choral music, choir conducting, composition and electronic music in Italy. He also studied computer music, cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence at MIT on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1984-86.

Between 1980 and 1984 he worked at the computer music centre of the University of Padua, where he produced Traiettoria, for piano and computer. In 1982 Pierre Boulez invited him to IRCAM where he worked as a composer and researcher. His constant contact with this institution has been fundamental to his musical education and work as a composer.

A highly appreciated and active educator, Mr. Stroppa founded in 1987 a composition workshop at the International Bartók Festival (Szombathély, Hungary). He taught composition at the CNSM of Paris and Lyon. Since 1999 he has been a full professor of composition and computer music at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart. Mr. Stroppa has composed for both acoustical instruments and new media. His keen interest in sound and space has often led him to rethinking the placement of the instruments on stage so as to achieve a spatial dramaturgy that will be revealed and highlighted by the unfolding of the music.

He often groups several works around large cycles exploring specific compositional projects, such as a series of concertos for instrument and a spatialized orchestra inspired by poems of W.B. Yeats, a book of Miniature Estrose’ for solo piano, and a cycle of works for solo instrument and "chamber electronics" inspired by poems of e. e. cummings, the last of which are ...of Silence, for saxophone, and hist whist, for violin. In the domain of music drama, he wrote two radio operas for the Italian RAI3 (Proemio and in cielo in terra in mare) and is currently preparing a new piece for the music theatre (Re Orso) on a libretto by Arrigo Boito, which will be premiered on June 9th, 2011 at the Opéra Comique in Paris.




APA video citation:

Stroppa, M. (2012, October 22). The compositional control of sound synthesis: From Traiettoria to OMChroma -
CIRMMT Distinguished Lectures in the Science and Technology of Music. [Video file].
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