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Musicians, artists and scientists collide at the SuperCollider Conference 2012

Musicians, artists, computer scientists and coders will be brought together in April for a festival exploring work with the SuperCollider audio programming environment.

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SuperCollider is a computer programming language which specialises in sound and music, enabling people to design anything from 96-speaker musical pieces to an interactive sound exhibit controlled by waving your arms.

The three day conference, hosted by Queen Mary, University of London, will include talks from a range of international musicians, artists, researchers and coders, and will feature concerts, a club night, and a sonic art exhibition.

Dr Dan Stowell, who is organising the conference, explains: “There are people all over the world who make music and art this way. It might seem a bit geeky to design music using a programming language, but people are doing club music, modern classical music, all types of music this way. This will be the first time we've brought them to London to experience their work and hear them talk about it.”

The academic conference talks will focus on SuperCollider-related research, technical development, and artistic/musical practice, and will include audio/music synthesis, interactive sound and music, machine listening, generative sound and music and artistic developments. There will also be weekend workshop sessions taught by expert SuperCollider users, for new and intermediate users to learn how to “hack” (program) music with SuperCollider.

Other highlights of the week include a live algorithms concert which will see three specially-commissioned musicians improvising live on stage in collaboration with responsive musical algorithms.

Dr Stowell explains: “This ‘live algorithms’ concept was invented by Dr Tim Blackwell and Dr Michael Young of Goldsmiths College; software designers will work with the musicians to develop software systems that can listen to their performance and ‘join in’ live on-stage.”

The performers have played with other musicians before, but this will be the first time they have jammed live on stage with computers as co-performers. One of the performers, world-champion female beatboxer Bellatrix, added: “I like the sound of this, it sounds geeky - I'm into that!”

The conference will feature an evening of ‘live coding’, in which computer musicians expose and rewire the innards of their software live on stage, to create wonderful new music... or occasionally just silence! And an electroacoustic concert of new multi-channel works for electronics, featuring musicians from the Plusminus Ensemble ( in association with City University, will be held in the City University Performance Space.

Also running throughout the week will be a Sonic Art Exhibition hosted at the Art Pavillion Gallery in Mile End Park (E3 4QY), and the festival will be rounded off in style with a club night extravaganza, featuring a range of audiovisual acts each of whom use the SuperCollider software in their work.

sc2012 is supported by Queen Mary, University of London and the PRS Foundation for New Music.

Please visit, contact or tweet @scsymposium for more information.

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