Catch the Tiger! Composing with Sounds and Images

Jaroslaw Kapuscinski   Jaroslaw Kapuscinski, Stanford Dept. of Music

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University December 5, 2008

It is widely accepted that in everyday environment human perception is dominated by vision. Among the senses sound is usually secondary but gains particular importance when providing information that is not visible. In artistic communication this balance can be manipulated. Music can still be used to help read and interpret images, it can focus attention and control what is seen and when. More importantly though, carefully composed correspondences of sound and image can point to information beyond what either of them or their simple sum seem to carry.

As an intermedia composer I am in constant search for such synergetic relationships. I often perform on a piano interfaced with a computer through MIDI in the Max/MSP programming environment. This puts images and sounds under my fingers but in a vary flexible way. Using score following and similar techniques I can dynamically change how each of the piano keys controls the computer in different sections of the piece. In the lecture I will present both the process of composition and audiovisual performance. I will demonstrate how various realtime musical actions reinterpret animated sequences. I will also briefly talk about current research at the newly formed Intermedia Performance Lab at Stanford.


Jaroslaw Kapuscinski is an intermedia composer and pianist. He holds M.Mus degrees in composition and piano performance from Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw and Ph.D. in composition from UC San Diego. He was awarded prizes at UNESCO Film sur l'Art Festival in Paris (1992), VideoArt Festival in Locarno (1993), Manifestation Internationale Vidéo et Art Éléctronique in Montréal (1994) and International Festival of New Cinema and New Media in Montréal (2000). He received commissions from Center for Art and Media Technology (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, INA/GRM in Paris, Warsaw Autumn Festival, Toshiba/EMI and Polish TV. He has performed and exhibited at New York MOMA, Museum of Modern Art Centre Pompidou and Palais de Tokyo in Paris, ZKM, National Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Museum of Contemporary Art in Montréal, Annecy Animation Festival, Warsaw Autumn Festival of Contemporary Music, National Art Center in Ottawa, Worldwide Video Festival and numerous other venues as well as in broadcasts on French/German ARTE, Belgian and Polish television. Jaroslaw Kapuscinski taught intermedia courses and workshops at McGill University, Royal Conservatory in the Hague, Art Conservatory and Music Academy in Odense and Academy of Music in Krakow. Currently he is on faculty at Stanford University's Department of Music where he also leads Intermedia Performance Lab.

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine or using this video link.

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