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A morning of seminars

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With Sandeep Bhagwati, Concordia University; Stefanie Blain-Moraes, McGill University; and Guillaume Bourgogne, McGill University

  • Seminar
When Jan 20, 2016
from 09:00 AM to 12:20 PM
Where A832, Elizabeth Wirth Music Building, 527 Sherbrooke St. West.
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  • Program

    • 9:00-10:00 - Stefanie Blain-Moraes, McGill University: Sonifying physiological signals to enhance the personhood of non-communicative individuals
    • 10:00-11:00 - Sandeep Bhagwati, Concordia University: Situational Scores for Comprovisation
    • 11:00-11:20 - Break
    • 11:20-12:20 - Guillaume Bourgogne, McGill University: Conception and development of a tactile tempo monitor for performers of instrumental music with electronics


Detailed Program

  • 9:00-10:00 - Stefanie Blain-Moraes, McGill University: Sonifying physiological signals to enhance the personhood of non-communicative individuals Abstract

Quality of life and definitions of death are both often based on the concept of personhood - a status given by one human being to another as a result of their relationship and successful interaction. Unfortunately, this important attribute is frequently not given to individuals who do not have the ability to communicate or to interact with others. My research is concerned with enhancing the quality of life of non-communicative persons and their caregivers by using novel technologies to reveal and elicit signs of their personhood. Through my research, I have developed technologies based on signals from the automatic nervous system that reflect an individual's internal states and reactions. In particular, I have developed a system called "biomusic" which sonifies significant changes in physiological signals for caregivers of non-communicative persons. In my future work, I aim to develop methods of sonifying EEG signals based on algorithms I have created to assess levels of consciousness and cognitive ability in non-responsive persons. The goal of this research is to implement such technologies into home and healthcare settings, in order to improve communication, enrich interaction, and enhance the personhood of non-communicative persons and their caregivers. 


Stefanie Blain-Moraes is an Assistant Professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University. She trained as a biomedical engineer (B.A.Sc., Ph.D.) and in rehabilitation sciences (Ph.D.) at the University of Toronto. She completed a NIDRR postdoctoral fellowship in brain-computer interfaces and a CIHR postdoctoral fellowship studying consciousness and anesthesia, both at the University of Michigan. Stefanie also has an ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Her research interests lie in developing novel methods of communication and interaction for individuals who are unable to move and speak.

  • 10:00-11:00 - Sandeep Bhagwati, Concordia University: Situational Scores for Comprovisation

Situational scores are here defined as scores that deliver time- and context-sensitive score information to musicians at the moment when it becomes relevant. Mnemonic (rule/style-based) scores are the oldest score models of this type. Lately, reactive, interactive and locative scores have added new possibilities to situative scoring. Bhagwati's research-creation has for some time now centered on the use of such situative scores both for new expressions in eurological music and for the exporation in trans-traditional musicking. In his talk, he will introduce his work with such situational scores, with a strong focus on the body:suit:score. This is an interface currently developed in collaboration of four labs at Concordia and McGill Universities in Montréal - an interface that will allow the musical use of all four types of situational score. Musicians are clad in a body-hugging suit with embedded technology - this suit becomes their score interface. Ultimately intended to enable ensembles to move through performance spaces unencumbered by visual scores and their specific locations, the project currently enters its second year of research-creation. The talk will discuss some of the closely intertwined technological, ergonomic, performance-psychology-based and artistic decisions that have led to a first bodysuit prototype - a vibrotactile suit for a solo musician. It will also discuss the so-far three etude compositions by Sandeep Bhagwati and Julian Klein for this prototype, and their divergent conceptual approaches to an artistic use of the body:suit:score interface. Finally, the paper discusses next steps and emergent problems and opportunities, both technological and artistic.


Sandeep Bhagwati is a multiple award-winning composer, theatre director and media artist [Studies: Mozarteum Salzburg, Musikhochschule München and IRCAM Paris]. His compositions and comprovisations (including 6 operas) are regularly performed worldwide. He has curated several festivals and long-term inter-traditional projects with Asian musicians. A Canada Research Chair for Inter-X Art at Concordia University since 2006, he also was Professor at Karlsruhe Music University, Composer-in-Residence/Fellow/Guest Professor at IRCAM Paris, ZKM Karlsruhe, Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, IEM Graz, CalArts Los Angeles, Heidelberg University, University of Arts Berlin and Tchaikovsky Conservatory Moscow. At Concordia, he currently directs matralab, a research/creation center for performance arts. His current work centers on comprovisation, inter-traditional aesthetics, gestural&sonic theatre and situational scores. From 2008 to 2011, he also was the director of Hexagram Concordia.

  • 11:00-11:20 - Break

  • 11:20-12:20 - Guillaume Bourgogne, McGill University: Conception and development of a tactile tempo monitor for performers of instrumental music with electronics

This research aims to conceive and develop a new equipment to replace the click-track ear monitor traditionally used for performing pieces for instrument(s) and electronics. It has its origins in the experience as a conductor of many years of using click-track ear monitoring for performances of pieces for ensemble and electronics. If this type of equipment has been essential to develop this repertoire, we have to recognize that it’s far from ideal, and it’s time to develop and promote a better technology to perform mixed music.
First of all, there is the necessity of liberating both ears from any device, in order to have the best listening possible, in rehearsal situation as well as in performance. Second, it’s primordial to improve the relationship between the performers and the technological part by proposing a more natural materialization of the tempo than rigid beats only separated by…emptiness.
That’s why I’ve imagined to develop a new technology for the same purpose, avoiding those disadvantages. Thus, I decided to choose a tactile device that generates curves instead of dots as a signal. Characteristics and properties of this equipment have to be developed and experimented.

Guillaume Bourgogne had learned to play the saxophone in Lyon, his native city, before entering the Paris Conservatoire. There, he won musical analysis, harmony and orchestration first prizes. He was also first prize winner at orchestra conducting with Janos Fürst as a teacher. Nowadays, he is the co-artistic director of the music ensemble Cairn (Paris) besides the composer Jérôme Combier, and principal conductor of the Camerata Aberta (Sao Paulo, Brazil). He is also the artistic director of the ensemble Op.Cit (Lyon, France). In 2013, he is appointed Professor of Conducting at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University and Music Director of the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble (Montreal). He is used to be invited by various orchestras such as the Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisbon, Portugal), the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Bordeaux-Aquitaine Orchestra, the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra, etc... In addition to conducting the 19th and 20th century symphonic repertoire, he is also regularly invited by contemporary music ensembles such as Ensemble Intercontemporain (Paris), Court-Circuit (Paris), L’Itinéraire (Paris), Ensemble TIMF (Korea), Sond'Ar-te Electric Ensemble (Lisbon), Contrechamps (Geneva), Linea (Strasbourg)… Together with these orchestras, they are used to play in the foremost festivals : Musica, Strasbourg ; Présences (Paris), Manifeste (Paris), Montreal New Music Tage für neue Musik, Zürich ; Märzmusik, Berlin ; Radar, Mexico ; Campos do Jordao festival (Brazil) ; Festival d’art lyrique, Aix-en-Provence ; Tongyeong international music festival (Korea) ; Musica Viva (Lisbon) ; Ars Musica (Belgium) ; Darmstadt Ferienkurse (Germany) ; Borealis (Bergen, Norway) ; Archipel (Geneva) ; Fondation Royaumont, etc. Guillaume Bourgogne has premiered many pieces written by composers like Jérôme Combier, Tristan Murail, Raphaël Cendo, Thierry Blondeau, Sergio Kafejian etc. His discography is rewarded by various prizes : Diapason d’or, Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros and Disque d’or. Besides his conducting activities, he likes to give masterclasses. On top of his teaching activities at McGill University, he teaches regularly in institutions such as Paris Conservatoire (CNSMDP), Sao Paulo State University (UNESP), Campos do Jordao Festival etc.
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