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Home Activities Seminar Series Michael Young and Ellen Waterman: Live algorithms for music: The case of the flute_prosthesis

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Michael Young and Ellen Waterman: Live algorithms for music: The case of the flute_prosthesis

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  • Seminar
When Jan 28, 2013
from 04:00 PM to 05:30 PM
Where A832, New Music Building, 527 Sherbrooke St. West.
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Computational systems able to collaborate with human improvisers are live algorithms: able to cooperate proactively, on an equal basis, with musicians in performance. This is an ideal that raises fundamental questions about creativity and group interaction, how these might be computationally modeled. Can musicians and computers relate to one another, just as human musicians do? Can an audience recognize and appraise this relationship? Live algorithms offer the prospect of a new understanding of real-time creative practice that differs from the established paradigms in live electronic music: computer as instrument and computer as proxy. Drawing upon ideas from social psychology, collective music-making can be viewed as a special case of social cooperation, evidenced primarily through sound.  Michael Young’s talk presents his "_prosthesis" series (2007-present) as one possible musical approach to these questions.  Young’s “_prosthesis” series are improvisation systems in which a solo player interacts with a quasi-autonomous computer improviser, based on mutual listening and playing. After the talk, the flute_prosthesis will perform with flutist Ellen Waterman.



Michael Young is a composer and senior lecturer at Goldsmiths University of London.  He was Head of Music at Goldsmiths before his recent appointment as Pro-Warden for Students and Learning Development.  He is co-founder of the Live Algorithms for Music network, which investigates autonomous computer music systems for live performance.  He studied at the Universities of Oxford and Durham, completing a PhD in composition in 1995.

His work for interactive systems includes “Argrophylax” (2006) and “ebbs-“ (2007); score based compositions with real-time interaction.  A new work “Trio for Two Players” develops the improvisational approach first found in Young’s “_Prosthesis” series (2007-present). Young has collaborated in various cross-art and science collaborations with RCUK support, including two installations for National Science and Engineering Week: Groundbreaking (2007) and Exposure (2008/10), described in a recent edition of Leonardo



Ellen Waterman is both a music scholar and a flutist specializing in creative improvisation and contemporary music.  She is currently Dean of the School of Music at Memorial University of Newfoundland.  As a member of the SHRCC-MCRI Improvisation, Community and Social Practice project, she co-founded the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation.  Currently, Waterman is co-editing (with Gillian Siddall) a book: Sounding the Body: Improvisation, Representation and Subjectivity for Duke University Press. 

As a flutist, Waterman is represented on premiere recordings of works by Brian Ferneyhough (CRICD 652) and R. Murray Schafer (CMCCD 8902, MW72).  She has had the privilege of performing with such great improvisers as George Lewis, Pauline Oliveros, Miya Masaoka, Nicole Mitchell, Ione, Lori Freedman and Jesse Stewart, among others.  With composer James Harley, Waterman is one half of ~spin~ duo, which creates pieces at the nexus of soundscape composition, live performance and real-time sound diffusion.

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