Raviv Ganchrow’s Lightning Ellipse installation at the French pavilion in Venice

This coming weekend, Raviv Ganchrow’s installation Lightning Ellipse will be presented at the French pavilion in Venice as part of the Radio Utopia series (August 1st to 5th 2023).

Lightning Ellipse is a site-specific sound circuit, installed in the portico of the French Pavilion, Venice, patching together earth’s native transmissions (lightning), received on ground telluric currents, passing through contextual features of the site. The sound installation relays electrical activities from the ground beneath the French consulate in the Netherlands, during a recent torrential thunderstorm that quenched a record-breaking dry-spell, played back through agencies of Venetian echo (the acoustics of the Basilica di San Marco) and geometries of architecturally broadcast voice (the pavilion’s elliptic portico) interspersed with the call-and-response of a common blackbird.

Here is a link to a longer description of the work (the installation will be up for one day).

And here are links to the Radio Utopia proceedings, the French pavilion transmission ball theater description, and the eFlux blub.

Clarence Barlow passed away at the age of 77

With great sadness we report the death of Clarence Barlow (1945–2023) from the results of injuries suffered in a fall in April of this year.
Before taking up a professorship at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2006, Clarence had been on the faculty of the Institute of Sonology since 1990, together with a position at the Royal Conservatoire’s Composition Department from 1994. His unique courses under the title MusiQuantics were an inspiration to a generation of students at both departments, along with his genial and warm-hearted presence, his often outrageous wit, and his dedication to innovative musical thinking both in his own work and that of his students. 

Biographical sketch

Clarence Barlow held the Corwin Endowed Chair and was Head of Composition at UCSB’s Music Department from 2006 to 2019. Barlow’s previous teaching posts included twelve years as Professor of Composition and Computer Music at the renowned biennial Summer Courses of the International Music Institute at Darmstadt (1982–1994); over twenty years at Cologne Music University (Musikhochschule) as Lecturer in Computer Music (1984–2005); four years as Artistic Director of the Institute of Sonology at The Hague’s Royal Conservatoire (1990–1994); and twelve years as Professor of Composition and Sonology at the Royal Conservatoire (1994–2006). Other posts included Visiting Professor of Composition and Acoustic Art at the Folkwang University in Essen, Germany (1990–1991), Visiting Professor of Composition at the Superior School of Music and Dramatic Arts (ESMAE) in Porto, Portugal (2005–2006) and more recently Visiting Professor of Composition at the Catalonia College of Music (ESMUC) in Barcelona, Spain (2018–2020).

Barlow, who studied composition under Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1968–1970) and Karlheinz Stockhausen (1971–1973), is a universally acknowledged pioneer and celebrated composer in the field of electroacoustic and computer music. He has made groundbreaking advancements in interdisciplinary composition that unite mathematics, computer science, visual arts, and literature. While he has been a driving force in interdisciplinary and technological advances, his music is nevertheless firmly grounded in tradition and thus incorporates much inherited from the past. His works, primarily for traditional instruments, feature a vocabulary that ranges from pretonal to tonal, nontonal, or microtonal idioms, and, further, may incorporate elements derived from non-Western cultures. Between 1959 and 2020 Barlow has produced over 100 works of various types, including 4 orchestral works (2 piano concertos, and a work each for string orchestra and for large orchestra); 40 chamber works for various groups of traditional instruments, including 2 string quartets and 5 pieces for music theater; 3 choral pieces; 4 vocal works with instrumental accompaniment; 30 piano pieces (including works for two pianos); 3 organ works; 20 electroacoustic works, 3 of which fall into the category of abstract radio plays; and 5 films.

Barlow’s music has been programmed on concerts far too numerous to list here. From 1968 to 2019, 53 concerts in Germany, the Netherlands, California and elsewhere were devoted entirely to his music (in Aachen, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berne, Bratislava, Bremen, Calcutta, Cologne, Darmstadt, Dortmund, Dublin, Frankfurt, Fullerton, Graz, Hamburg, Helsinki, Karlsruhe, Kiel, Krefeld, Ljubljana, London, Los Angeles, Munich, Münster, New York City, Palma de Mallorca, Roermond, Rotterdam, Santa Barbara, Stanford, Stockholm, The Hague, Trstĕnice, Wissembourg, Yokohama and Zurich). His music has been recorded on 27 CDs and one LP, five of these devoted entirely to Barlow’s music. In addition to his renown as composer, Barlow has also attained high distinction as an interdisciplinary researcher, author, and software developer. His publications include a number of books, one of which is an extensive study on tonality and metricism, Bus Journey to Parametron (1980) and another, On Musiquantics (1986–2008), a textbook on the relation between music and mathematics, acoustics, phonetics, computer science and Barlow’s own methods to quantify tonality and metricism. Additional publications are the software that Barlow has written as aids for composing and notating music. These include the notation program ЖSC (1972–1976), Synthrumentator (1984–2013) for converting speech into performable scores, Autobusk (1986–2001), a realtime modal and metric pitch and rhythm generator, and Tupletizer (1998–2005) for notating irrational rhythms for manual performance. Most recently, Barlow had been working on a joint project to translate and publish the entirety of Bhatkhande’s Kramik Pustak Malika containing over 1900 compositions of Indian Classical Music to Western Staff notation.

Download Hidden Gems by Michael Winter and Juan Sebastián Lach Lau

Wave Field Synthesis Festival 2–3 June 2023

On 2 and 3 June 2023, Ji Youn Kang will present her annual Wave Field Synthesis Festival in Sonology’s New Music Lab and Wave Field Synthesis Studio (6.74) in collaboration with The Game of Life. The festival will have works by Ana Amaral da Silva, Jemin Choi, Jacob Eckhardt, Gaia Heichal, Kerim Kali, Liza Kuzyakova, Lawrence Mc Guire, Roc Montoriol Torrent, Lenny Sprenger, Giorgio Zangarini, Casimir Geelhoed, Nicolas Kliwadenko, Anton Kondratov, Leila Masharipova, Julien Palluel, Virág Anna Virág, Shawn Wong, Otis Thomet, Nina Uzelac, Agita Reke, Orfeas Manolidis, Lennart Sailer, Amit Dagim, Ida Hirsenfelder, Farzaneh Nouri and Leslee Smucker.

2 June (Friday):
Concert 1: 17:00 – 18:30   
Concert 2  19:30 – 21:00   

3 June (Saturday):
Concert 3  13:00 – 14:30    
Concert 4  15:00 – 16:30

Admission is free. Free snacks and drinks are offered in between the concerts.

ICLC Satellite Event at Sonology on 18 April

As part of the 2023 International Conference on Live Coding (ICLC) in Utrecht, the Institute of Sonology will host a satellite event for multichannel performances and live coding. There will be 8 performances exploring the 12-channel Amadeus loudspeaker system in Sonology’s New Music Lab on Tuesday 18 April 2023 from 17:00–19:00.

The New Music Lab is on the sixth floor of the Amare building in The Hague. There is space for 75 people to attend the concert. Admission is free and based on a first-come, first-served basis.

Composing Spaces 2 programme online

10 years after the festival Composing Spaces: Spatial Music from Gabrieli to the 21st Century, the Institute of Sonology at the Royal Conservatoire presents Composing Spaces 2: Space as Music’s Medium of Transformation. From 12 to 14 April 2023 there are three concerts, six lectures and a sound installation in the Conservatoriumzaal, the Concertzaal, and the New Music Lab in Amare, Spuiplein 150, 2511 DG Den Haag. The entrance for concerts and lectures is free. Registration for the concert on 13 April through this link is recommended.

12 April 2023, 15:30–17:30, New Music Lab

Lecture by Raviv GanchrowArcheoacoustics: Hearing Spaces from the Past

12 April 2023, 19:30, Conservatoriumzaal

  1. Daryna Mamaisur and Anna Khvyl
    A Steppe with Rabbits and Pheasants Running Around, and Where Some Even Saw Foxes (audiovisual fixed media, 8-channel sound)   
  2. Hilde Wollenstein
    Please Stop Yelling At Me, I Don’t Know What I Want (multichannel fixed media)             
  3. Cathy van Eck
    Wings (three performers and live electronics)   
    performed by Cathy van Eck, Ioannis Michos and Danya Pilchen
  4. Giulia Francavilla
    Flow States #3 (16-channel fixed media)          
  5. Teresa Carrasco
    FLYSCH (violin, baritone sax, accordion, percussion, live electronics)                                 
    performed by Leslee Smucker, Alejandro Fenollosa, Kaat Vanhaverbeke, Rubén Castillo del Pozo and Teresa Carrasco
  6. Jonty Harrison
    Espaces cachés (16-channel fixed media)        
  7. Sonology Electroacoustic Ensemble 
    improvised music in a spatial setting                 

13 April 2023, 13:00–14:00, Conservatoriumzaal

PhD presentation by Siamak AnvariMaterialisation of fixed media music

13 April 2023, 20:00, Concertzaal Amare

Orchestra of the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague  conducted by Gregory Charette

  1. Charles Ives
    The Unanswered Question                                  
  2. Luigi Nono
    No hay caminos, hay que caminar… Andrei Tarkovskij       
  3. Charles Ives
    Central Park in the Dark                                     
  4. Edgard Varèse

14 April 2023, 13:00–17:00, New Music Lab

  1. Lecture by Margherita BrilladaWebcasting: Musing on radio spaces
  2. Lecture by Stefan WeinzierlBinaural synthesis as a tool for computer music and sound art
  3. Lecture by Teresa CarrascoShaping timbre in space
  4. Lecture by Veniero Rizzardi“Nostalgia for the future”. Form, sound, space in Luigi Nono’s late works

14 April 2023, 19:30, Conservatoriumzaal

  1. Iannis Xenakis
    Pléïades (percussion ensemble)                          45’
    performed by João Brito, Porter Ellerman, Gonçalo Martins, Boldizsár Szöllősi, Te-Ping Teng and Kalina Vladovska
  2. Luigi Nono
    La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura 
    (violin, 8-channel tape and 8–10 music stands)  60’
    performed by Leslee Smucker (violin) and Veniero Rizzardi (sound projection)

12–14 April 2023, Club 4 and 6th Floor in Amare

Sound installation (Re)Sounding the Spui
composed by Danya Pilchen, Otso Aho, Ida Hirsenfelder, Gaia Heichal, Je Min Choi and Nursinem Aslan.

Article and CD by Bjarni Gunnarsson

16 of the 22 scores that form Wildfires

Bjarni Gunnarsson’s article “Balancing Behaviours” was published on 17 February 2023 as part of the Orpheus Institute’s ECHO journal and the New Mimesis edition curated by Jonathan Impett. The article presents ideas relating to the creation of computer music using emergent systems based on rules and local interactions. It involves a reflection on algorithms, interaction, and the behaviour of sound processes. It questions the scope and potential boundaries of computational systems through the space relating compositional practice with the development of generative environments. Three open-source software systems are also introduced, including Wildfires, which can be used to generate WFSCollider scores.


A few weeks earlier, Bjarni Gunnarsson’s latest album UPICS was released on the American label Flag Day Recordings. The pieces on the album are the outcome of his research into database-driven reconstructions based on sound analysis. All the source material has been created with Iannis Xenakis’s UPIC system: a graphical computer system where users draw shapes, waveforms, and modulations on ‘pages’ which form a composition or composed sound. The material was recorded between September 2006 and March 2007 at the CCMIX institute in Paris. None of those recordings ever made it to a completed work until now, through the use of a newly developed system, SNDArchive (github.com/bjarnig/SNDArchive), which allows to recompose and combine sound parts based on different dimensions discovered through offline analysis processes. The idea was to create methods for engaging with sound archives in novel ways, to review them from a different angle, or to reveal previously unknown aspects of material already loaded with meaning.


New Master of Music in Composition with AI

Starting in October 2023, the University of Music (HfM) Trossingen 
(Germany) will offer a master’s degree program that is unique in Europe 
and aims to train a new generation of artistically and technically 
competent composers, sound artists, and music designers, especially by 
critically exploring the creative possibilities of AI-based technologies.

This program (Master of Music in Composition) builds on the music 
technology teaching foundations of the HfM Trossingen and takes place in 
close cooperation with Furtwangen University. The students are taught by 
an internationally renowned team of researchers and experienced artistic 
practitioners, first and foremost Prof. Dr. Luc Döbereiner and Prof. Dr. 
Joachim Goßmann. In addition, this course is being developed within the 
framework of a cross-university project funded by the BMBF (KISS – 
Artificial Intelligence Service and Systems), whose long-term goal is to 
establish a center of excellence for the sustainable development of AI.
As part of the master’s program, interested students with prior musical 
and/or technical experience at bachelor’s level can choose one of 
three concentrations: Music Design, Instrumental Composition, or 
Electroacoustic Composition. Available modules of study range from 
Digital Lutherie, Experimental Sound Synthesis, and Interface Design to 
Sound Ecology and Digital Ethics. In addition, a new space for the 
conception, experimentation and realisation of artistic projects 
(“Latent Space” – Space for Artistic Research and Design in Music and 
AI) is being created.

Further information about the program and application requirements can be 
found on the following page: https://www.hfm-trossingen.de/ki-in-der-musik.

The application period for the upcoming winter semester is March 1, 2023 
to April 1, 2023.

Jaap Vink (1930–2023) passed away at the age of 92

Jaap Vink in the Bilthoven electronic music studio around 1962

Jaap Vink (Den Helder, 12 February 1930 – Appingedam, 30 January 2023) studied engineering at first, but then became interested in electronic music. He attended courses in electroacoustics at Delft University of Technology and installed a pedagogical studio for electronic music in 1961 at the Gaudeamus Foundation in Bilthoven with the help of the Nederlandse Radio Unie (NRU). He was a staff member at the Institute of Sonology as a teacher in analogue studio techniques from 1967 until his retirement in 1993, where he taught and assisted an enormous number of students and composers from all over the world.

Jaap Vink always tried to break out of the periodicity of the sounds so abundantly available in the electronic studio. Although his music was entirely produced with purely electronic sound material, its textures resemble the richness of orchestral sounds, or large natural sound-complexes, as a result of recursive processes. The density of their sound material increases and decreases by careful control of feedback networks with configurations of analogue tape recorders (delay lines), filters and modulators. 

It should come as no surprise that his work is being rediscovered at a time when a new generation of musicians has conquered the stage with modular synthesizer setups and ‘no-input mixers’, in which feedback of audio and control signals plays an important role. And although Jaap Vink’s music wasn’t performed live but produced and recorded on magnetic tape in the studio, it is exactly the human interaction with feedback processes that connects his work with the current generation of live electronic music performers. To some extent Jaap Vink’s pieces are indeed recorded live improvisations, and extending his patches and ‘rehearsing’ with them was an ongoing process. To see Jaap Vink at work in the studio was to hear the studio coming to life. 

Open Day at the Royal Conservatoire

On 28 January 2023, the Royal Conservatoire organises its annual Open Day. The Institute of Sonology will have performances and demonstrations in all its studios on the sixth floor of Amare from 12:00 until 17:00. At 18:30 there will be a performance by the Sonology Electroacoustic Ensemble.

The Open Day is for anyone who is interested in our educational programmes or who just wants to see and hear our studios and know more about the Institute of Sonology.

New Music Lab
12:00–17:00: information about Sonology’s educational programmes
13:00: live performance by Francesco Corvi (10 minutes, followed by Q&A)
14:00: multichannel fixed media composition by Elif Soguksu (20 minutes, followed by Q&A)
15:00: video by Anna Khvyl (15 minutes, followed by Q&A)
16:00: live performance by Farzaneh Nouri and Hugo Ariëns (10 minutes, followed by Q&A)
18:30: live performance by the Sonology Electroacoustic Ensemble

Computer Music Studio 1 (6.69)
12:00–17:00: demonstrations and info by Bjarni Gunnarsson and students

Computer Music Studio 2 (6.68)
12:00–17:00: Dynamic Binaural Synthesis demonstrations and info by Peter Pabon

Wave Field Synthesis Studio (6.74)
12:00–17:00: demonstrations and info by Ji Youn Kang and students

Live Electronic Music Studio (6.75)
12:00–17:00: demonstrations and info by Johan van Kreij and students

Voltage Control Studio (6.76)
12:00–17:00: demonstrations and info by Yannis Patoukas and students

Satellite multi-channel concert on 18 April 2023

As part of the 2023 International Conference on Live Coding (ICLC) in Utrecht, the Institute of Sonology is issuing a special call for multichannel performances and live coding. Proposals are invited that explore the 12-channel Amadeus loudspeaker system in Sonology’s New Music Lab for a satellite event that takes place on Tuesday 18 April 2023. The New Music Lab is on the sixth floor of the Amare building in The Hague and has a high-quality video projector.

The Institute of Sonology’s New Music Lab on the sixth floor in Amare.

Proposals should include:

Abstract: a description of your work/performance
Programme notes: max 150 words
Short biography: max 150 words for each contributor
Tech rider: description of your setup and any technical needs.

Proposals should be sent to: gunnarssonb@koncon.nl before 20 march.