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Welcome to the University of Iowa Electronic Music Studios.

 

The University of Iowa Electronic Music Studios were founded in 1964, when renowned physicist James Van Allen supervised a thesis project by James Cessna to build the world’s first digital synthesizer. Professor Robert Shallenberg was hired to direct the Studios— with Cessna as Research assistant— and to work with Cessna on the synthesizer. Their instrument was later replaced by a large Moog III synthesizer, which remains in operation to this day.

In 1969, Shallenberg left for Indiana University (where he would go on to establish another electronic music studio with Iannis Xenakis), and passed the position of director to Peter Tod Lewis. The Studios were originally established in a quonset hut, but in 1970 they were moved to their new location in the (former) Voxman Music Building. In 1972 a Rockefeller Foundation grant gave Lewis the resources needed to outfit the Studios with sophisticated analog synthesis, processing, and recording technology of the day. These new technologies enabled students to produce works for tape and live electronics, film, lights, and lasers, and these works began to receive international recognition— attracting guest composers like Vladimir Ussachevsky, David Tudor, and Luciano Berio. Fascinated by the Studios, Berio returned to IRCAM and gave a presentation on the new developments in audio synthesis technology at Iowa. 

The wide-ranging interests of multi-award winning composer Kenneth Gaburo, appointed director in 1983, stimulated a new period of growth and experimentation for the Studios— introducing new technology for speech, text, and image manipulation. This multimedia emphasis continued into the early 1990s, as Visiting Directors Robert Paredes and Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner oversaw the installation of computer and video systems.

Lawrence Fritts was appointed director in 1994, overseeing a major upgrade to realtime DSP systems. In 1996, he initiated the Iowa Musical Instrument Samples Project, a collection of note-for-note samples of musical instruments recorded in an anechoic chamber. In 2000, he organized a series of International Exchange Concerts with institutions in France and Italy; and in 2002 he hosted the 2002 National Conference of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS). 

Following the Great Flood of 2008, the Electronic Music Studios were relocated to the Becker Communication Studies Building. In August 2016 the Electronic Music Studios were moved to the (new) Voxman Music Building in downtown Iowa City in rooms 0306A, B, C, and D. In 2017, visiting professor Josh Levine took the helm as director. 

Since 2018, Sivan Cohen Elias has been the director of the Electronic Music Studios at Iowa— bringing new digital hardware and software to the Studios including new midi controllers, IRCAM’s Studio Forum software suite (including AudioSculpt), Ableton Live with Max for Live, the advanced Izotope Suite, and deeper involvement with Max’s Jitter for the creation of multi-media audiovisual works. Her focus has been on the use of technology for the expansion of the imagination in both listening to as well as creating works involving sounds, visuals, and movement interacting with live electronics. 

 

Events

Guest Artist Masterclass: Martin Katz, Ida Cornelia Beam Visiting Guest Professor

Sunday, February 25, 2024 1:00pm
Voxman Music Building
Guest Artist Masterclass: Martin Katz, Ida Cornelia Beam Visiting Guest Professor The School of Music is incredibly excited to welcome Martin Katz as a 2024 Ida Cornelia Beam Visiting Guest Professor. His residency will be from Sunday, Feb. 25 until Friday, March 1. He will be working extensively with students across all studios in the School of Music, giving a lecture on what it takes to be a great collaborator, demonstrating professional rehearsal techniques, and giving public master classes...
Hairspray promotional image

Hairspray

Sunday, February 25, 2024 2:00pm
Hancher Auditorium
Part of Hancher's Broadway Series You Can’t Stop the Beat! Hairspray, Broadway’s Tony Award-winning musical comedy phenomenon is back on tour! Join 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad in 1960s Baltimore as she sets out to dance her way onto TV’s most popular show. Can a girl with big dreams (and even bigger hair) change the world? Featuring the beloved score of hit songs including "Welcome to the ‘60s," "Good Morning Baltimore," and "You Can’t Stop the Beat," Hairspray is "fresh, winning, and...
Key Change: Piano Revolutionaries Series, Concert #5 promotional image

Key Change: Piano Revolutionaries Series, Concert #5

Sunday, February 25, 2024 3:00pm
Voxman Music Building
Key Change: Piano Revolutionaries Series, Concert #5 Rachmaninoff and His Contemporaries This concert will be livestreamed here: https://music.uiowa.edu/about/live-stream-concert-schedule. View program here: https://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/islandora/object/ui%3A30948 This concert is free and open to the public.

Optional Junior Recital: Ben Copeland, trombone

Sunday, February 25, 2024 3:30pm
Voxman Music Building
Optional Junior Recital: Ben Copeland, trombone This event is free and open to the public.

Center for New Music Ensemble III

Sunday, February 25, 2024 7:30pm
Voxman Music Building
Center for New Music Ensemble III More concert details can be viewed here on the Center for New Music website: https://cnm.uiowa.edu/ This concert will be livestreamed here: https://music.uiowa.edu/about/live-stream-concert-schedule. View the program here: https://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/islandora/object/ui%3A30949 This concert is free and open to the public.