MSc in Digital Composition and Performance

University of Edinburgh


Events / Workshops

In order to broaden the students' artistic horizons we have at least one visiting artist/group per semester. They run workshops over 2-3 days, presenting their own music as well as a concert that arises out of the workshops.


Eddie Prevost

Solo Concert: 8pm, 7th May 2014, Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh

Workshop Concert: 8pm, 9th May, Atrium, Alison House, 12 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh

Workshops 7-9 May 2014

Full details about seminal free improvising percussionist Eddie Prevost are on our events page.

Sabine Vogel

Solo Concert: 8pm, 10th December 2013, Inspace

Workshop Concert: 8pm, 12th December 2013, Inspace

Workshops 10-12 December 2013

As a flautist Sabine Vogel focuses on sound and improvisation, using extended techniques both acoustic as well as electronic, creating a very personal contemporary language for the flute. Discovering and producing the unheard, the intimate, in relation to sound production within the flute, is her main focus of exploration. She takes the sounds from the inside of her flute--the microcosm of her flute world--and transports these sounds, with the help of amplification, into a sound-able/hear-able world, i.e. bringing what is inside into the outside. She then combines this world of sound with self-made field recordings--the natural macrocosm of existing sound--forming a composed mixture between the macro and microcosmic. Recently she became more and more interested in site specific work, doing sound installation combined with live playing in natural environment. Her current projects are: ORNIS, an audio-visual duo with british artist Kathy Hinde; a duo with Australian pianist/organist Chris Abrahams; Landscape Quartet, an enviromental, soundart project with Bennett Hogg, Matt Sansom, and Stefan Ostersjo. She is a memeber of the "Splitter Orchester", based in Berlin. Sabine Vogel is a lecturer for flute at Potsdam University.

As listening is one of major skills a musician/composer needs, the first part of the workshop will deal with different forms of listening. Also introduced will be some concepts and exercises on how to rehearse with improvising groups and how to work on material and develop a personal vocabulary for playing and improvising. Further topics will include how Sabine uses field recordings in her work; to develop this the group will go out into nature or the city to do some recordings which will then be used for the concert. The idea for the concert is to do an improvised performance with installative elements, using prerecorded sounds, field recordings, etc.


John Wiese

Solo Concert: 8pm, 22nd May 2013, Inspace

Workshop Concert: 8pm, 24th May 2013, Inspace

Workshops 22-24th May 2013

John Wiese is an artist and composer living in Los Angeles, California. He works primarily in recorded and performed sound with a focus on installation and multi-channel diffusions, as well as scoring for large ensembles. He has toured extensively throughout the world, covering the US, UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. He is also a founding member of the concrète grindcore band Sissy Spacek.

Konk Pack

Concert 8pm, 11th December 2012, Inspace, Edinburgh

Workshops 10-12 December 2012

Workshop Concert 8pm, 13th December 2012, Inspace, Edinburgh

KONK PACK brings together three major figures in contemporary music: Roger Turner, Thomas Lehn, and Tim Hodgkinson. This is their first UK tour for six years. The group has amazed audiences at festivals and concerts all over the world with the sheer energy of its rapid fire interplay, earning numerous critical accolades. This is a band that stretches free improvisation to the extreme.


Mike Svoboda

Concert 8pm, 10th May 2012, Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh

Workshops 10-12 May 2012

Improvisation in context. In a three day workshop with the trombonist and composer Mike Svoboda, the students will place their musical imput and output in context to three major contemporary works for solo trombone. These works by Lucian Berio, Helmut Lachenmann, and Giacinto Scelsi serve as a launch-pad, sounding board or spring for the students and will be repeatedly heard in the three day workshop. Within this clear structure, the musicians can reference their creativity and channel it into structured improvisations.

Grew & Grew

Concert 8pm, 14th December 2011, Inspace, Informatics Forum, Crichton St, Edinburgh

Workshops 14-16 December 2011

Grew & Grew present 'Fry Up!': 3 days of workshops exploring the interplay between electronic and acoustic sounds and instruments through starting points, devised pieces, graphic scores, conduction and free improvisation culminating in a final performance with Nicholas and Stephen Grew and participants on Friday Dec 16th.

Grew & Grew are Nicholas on electro live sound processing and Stephen on acoustic piano. Their sound world is a sensitive balance between the timbre of the piano and the often more abrasive qualities of electronic sounds, exploring the rich nuances generated by music made in the moment. The spontaneity of the improvising process makes for surprising outcomes, ranging from calm tonal stasis to wild rhythmic interplays.


Chris Watson

Concert 8pm, 22nd April 2011, Inspace, Informatics Forum, Crichton St, Edinburgh

Concert recording

Workshops 16-18 December 2010

Chris will lead workshops in environmental field recording techniques.

Photos by Colin Chipcase.

Anne La Berge and Robert van Heumen

Converging Objects
A workshop for musicians who improvise and use live electronics

Concert 8pm, 16th December 2010, Inspace, Informatics Forum, Crichton St, Edinburgh

Workshops 16-18 December 2010

Final concert recordings

This workshop is meant for

  • acoustic musicians who improvise and use live electronics in their own setups,
  • those who play with other musicians using electronics, or
  • electronic musicians who improvise and work with acoustic players.

As we proceed into the second decade of the 21st century we as composer/performers divide our time between conjuring up concepts, structures and scores and showing up on stage to play. We thrive on a precarious balance between creating and performing new works. That is not to say that we participate in every piece we make. But it does imply that the basis of our creative work is intimately tied to our individual playing, our instrument and our unique performing histories.

A significant number of composer/performers is actively seeking for ways to use technology as an intimate and/or integrated partner for their acoustic instruments purely electronic instruments. Their inspiration most often has its roots in their instruments and how they play them. It's how they use their own bag of tricks: their talents, artistic passions, unique virtuosities, conceptual twists. And how they depend on their highly developed and unmistakable personal voices as performers. And last but not least, how they engage and integrate their bodies as real-time creative forces. That includes every body part, from their inner ears to their tapping feet. This real-time kinesthetically and intellectually driven music making lends itself well to improvisation as a handy tool in their work. Improvisation provides room for them to experiment and develop both as composers and as performers. And, considering the state of affairs in music technology, improvisation continues to be at the forefront as the favored performance mode. Interfaces, hardware vs. software, analog vs digital and dealing with communication codes are still up and running issues for us all.

The Converging Objects workshop is a three-day hands-on workshop that will deal with these issues. We will introduce some ideas and concepts, the participants will play their instruments and together we will work on improvising skills as well as developing approaches to using live electronics. We will try to cater the workshop to the needs of the participants as much as possible. When you register for the workshop, please indicate what acoustic instrument you are playing, and/or what hardware and software you use in your setup. Also let us know if you'll be participating with a regular collaborator, so we can work on duo or trio performances too.

The level of knowledge in electronics can be anything between just simply amplifying yourself to using sophisticated computer programs such as Max/MSP, Pure Data, Abelton Live and SuperCollider


Lukas Ligeti

Solo concert 8pm, 17th November 2009, Inspace, Informatics Forum, Crichton St, Edinburgh

Workshops 18-20 November 2009

In this workshop, I would like to present and discuss several innovative approaches to composition I have been working on, as well as discussing the works of the university students, in order to trigger a productive exchange of ideas.

In my music, I use various unusual methods of ensemble interplay, dealing particularly with rhythmic/metric perception, polymetric and polytempo structures, and ways of organizing ensemble improvisation. Many of my concepts are based on traditional music from Africa, and I will present these types of music and analyze how they are performed, also demonstrating how I have adapted these ideas for my own, experimental work. I will also demonstrate my instrument, the marimba lumina, a very special midi controller designed by the legendary California engineer Don Buchla, and talk about my solo music, in order to give rise to a discussion about live electronic music and its evolving performance practice. We will then attempt to implement some of the ideas we have discussed in ensemble improvisations, and students are encouraged to bring their own ideas into the mix.

I would also like to talk, more generally, about the potential of non-Western music traditions as a fertile influence for contemporary music, about the relationship in my work between African art and digital art and why I believe African culture is ideally suited for work in digital media, about challenges of cultural exchange ranging from the aesthetic to the logistical to the political, about the new experimental and indie music scene in New York where I live, about the collapse of boundaries between "classical" and "pop" music (for better and worse), about new jazz, about the current crisis in the music business and the lack of ideas for solutions to these problems (perhaps we can find them? ;-)), and about any other topics that might pop up, brought up by any of the students or myself.

Please bring instruments (whatever you like to play/perform on), scores of compositions (if you create scored music), and recordings of your work.

Fred Frith

Solo concert 8pm, 21st May 2010, Inspace, Informatics Forum, Crichton St, Edinburgh

Workshops 21-23 May 2010

Fred will deliver improvisation workshops culminating in a final concert with participants.


Marcus Schmickler

Marcus on myspace

Listen to the end of workshop concert performed by the participants.

Fields of Interest Workshop

The workshop will be revising a mix of compositional strategies and implement them into a group-presentation. Strategies adressed should be such as: algorithmic music with and without computers, tuning systems, language and syntax, self-similarity and fractals, among others. The goal will be to create a playfully staged discourse about different possibilities of representations for compositional means, of which some can coexist and some wont. As a preperation for the workshop, every participant is asked to bring an introductional text about his current prefered field of interest. Laptops required.

1. Introductionary presentation of recent Schmickler Fields of Interest, discussion (10.00-13.00).
2. FIELD OF INTEREST: Presentation of participants Field of Interest. Discussion on formal representational possibilities. (14.00-18.00).
3. Marcus Schmickler Solo Concert, Atrium, 8pm.

In preparation for the workshop: Please send me your *field of interest* topic and brief summary via email. Deadline: February 24th 2009

1. Create representation of the topics I. (10.00-13.00).
2. Create representation of the topics II. (14.00-18.00).

For the second day: Laptop with your audiotools required.

1. Presentation of recent Schmickler works (11.30-13.00).
2. Presentation and discussion of the workshops results - (14.00-18.00).

Christoph Ogiermann

ExPressures Workshop

Listen to the end of workshop concert performed by the participants.

Reflecting the basic mechanisms of our body, having the feeling that the body is a machine, we feel the fundamental diff rance to the algorithmic mechanics of an algorithmic data transfer. (In a way a quantity becomes a quality. Like noise being a result of the weariness of the ear.)

Reflecting the basic mechanisms of sound, having the feeling that the sound - air - eardrum complex is a machine, we could feel a fundamental diff rance to the electromagnetic mechanics of a loudspeaker.

The three days of workshop should be an introduction to this diff rance and the musical essays and performances, being presented at the end in a workshop concert, could be commentaries on this subject.

Maybe three more hints:

the tactility of fingertips between erotic and bureaucracy

theory as inSpiration

handicaps can be totally expressive


Christophe Fellay

Improvisation Workshop
13th-15th February 2008

Listen to Christophe's opening concert.
Listen to the end of workshop students' concert.

The object of this workshop is to develop an approach to the world of improvisation, real-time composition, and interaction. This involves how to:

  • improvise and/or compose contemporary music in real time
  • keep an open and individual approach with electronics and acoustic instruments
  • bring together these two very different sonic worlds: acoustic and electronic
  • compose for drums and integrate this into new music
  • work with an improvising musician
  • improvise within a group.

In addition, Christophe will

  • present his work as composer and improviser
  • present his instrument
  • describe his idea of what improvisation means
  • describe real time composition
  • discuss interaction
  • describe an approach to how to hear and listen
  • discuss group composing, improvising.

IMEB Bourges

Seminar and Concert
2nd-3rd November 2007

Seminar and concert by Francoise Barriere, co-director of the highly regarded International Institute of Electroacoustic Music, Bourges (IMEB). Part of the Soundings Festival.

2nd November, 5.15pm, Alison House, 12 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh: Lecture Room A
Seminar by Francoise Barriere

3rd November, 8pm, Reid Concert Hall, Bristo Square, Edinburgh
Solo concert Francoise Barriere
Christian Clozier: Sous l'hetre de l'etang, grenouilles rient
Francoise Barriere: Dessus la mer
Pierre Boeswillwald: Tous les sons sont des merveilles

Diffusion: Francoise Barriere

With the kind co-operation of: IMEB, Cultures France, Region Centre and Ministere de la culture et de la communication.

Running time: ca. 45 minutes


Interaction Workshops
5th-8th November 2007

Michel Waisvisz and his team from STEIM pay a visit to Edinburgh to run workshops and give talks on interaction with technology, sound and visuals. Schedule printed below.

Monday 5 November

1300 Workshop: Composing the Now; Appleton Tower Rooms 3.03, 3.05
1600 Workshop: Live testing, and practical adaptation Appleton Tower, Rooms 3.03, 3.05

Tuesday 6 November

0900 Steims Mobile Touch Exhibition opens

0930 Composition students chat

1100 Composition chat completed, Coffee & Tea

1200 Workshop/talk to hardware students
Appleton Tower, Concourse and Room 3.03, 3.05

1430 Workshop: Touch Sound Alison House, Sound Design Lab
1600 Workshop completed, Coffee & Tea

1715 Talk to MusIC seminar group; Alison House, Student Common Room

1830 Talk completed, drinks at Dagda Pub

Wednesday 7 November

Steims Mobile Touch Exhibition: Workshop/demo of exhibition for children Appleton Tower, Concourse

1000 Talk/demo completed, Inter views, Coffee & Tea

1100 Public Talk/presentation/demonstration, concert preview. . . Alison House, Atrium

1200 Talk completed, Lunch

1330 Set up and sound check for concert; Alison House, Atrium

1430 Sound Check completed, STEIM members off for rest

1800 Arrive and prepare for concert

1900 Concert, Alison House Atrium
1900 Doors open

1930 Concer t commences
2010 Interval
2030 Final set
2100 Concert completed

Thursday 8 November
1000 Speak with any members of staff or students
1130 Steims Mobile Touch Exhibition closes
1300 Lunch
1400 Workshops completed

Kim Cascone

Emergent Content Workshop
8th-10th October 2007

Listen to Kim's opening concert.
Listen to the final concert performed by workshop participants.

The concept for this workshop was inspired by John Maedas' Human Powered Computer Experiment . In this experiment Maeda recreated the internal operations of a simple computer using people to physically transport handwritten instructions and data to and from the CPU, RAM, FPU, etc. Participating in this type of experiment enables one to transfer abstract concepts from their body to their brain. In a similar spirit, this workshop develops a group workflow using the model of a simple genetic algorithm (SGA) with the result being an emergent work of music/sound art. Participants need only bring a laptop (Ethernet and/or Wi-Fi card is needed), their favorite audio software tools, a web browser and a spirit of experimentation and exploration. The idea of using a SGA as a conceptual framework evolved out of my research in information flow used as a catalyst to construct emergent content. Also, while doing research for a project that utilized genetic algorithms I saw that many of the ideas embodied in the SGA could also be used to construct a framework for my open source content creation workshop. (Kim Cascone)

Kim Cascone has a long history involving electronic music: he received his formal training in electronic music at the Berklee College of Music in the early 1970's, and in 1976 continued his studies with Dana McCurdy at the New School in New York City. In the 1980's, after moving to San Francisco and gaining experience as an audio technician, Cascone worked with David Lynch as Assistant Music Editor on both Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart. Cascone left the film industry in 1991 to concentrate on Silent Records, a label that he founded in 1986, transforming it into the U.S.'s premier electronic music label. At the height of Silent's success, he sold the company in early 1996 to pursue a career as a sound designer and went to work for Thomas Dolby's company Headspace as a sound designer and composer. After a two year stint at Headspace he worked for Staccato Systems as the Director of Content where he oversaw sound design using algorithmic synthesis for video games. Since 1984, Kim has released more than 30 albums of electronic music and has recorded/performed with Merzbow, Keith Rowe, Tony Conrad, Scanner, John Tilbury, and Pauline Oliveros among others.

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