Recent Developments at the Columbia University Computer Music Center

Garton, Brad

Columbia University has had a long involvement with music technology, establishing one of the first, if not the first, research/music centers devoted to electronic music in the United States. Officially recognized in the late 1950s as the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, the EMC was a hotbed of musico-technological work in the ensuing decades. A few years ago I became Director of the Center-its new advisory board comprising Fred Lerdahl, Tristan Murail, and myself. We managed to secure a sizable boost in funding from the Columbia University Administration and from several external sources, and with this influx of new support we decided to rebuild a number of our studios and to undertake a major overhaul and revamping of the Center's facilities. We also decided to rethink the operation of the Center, seeking to renew the status it enjoyed for decades as an advanced and progressive workplace for musicians and researchers who use new music technologies. At that time we officially changed the name from the Electronic Music Center to the Computer Music Center (CMC) to better reflect the new organizational structure as well as the renewed research/music focus. Dan Thompson asked if I would write a description of some of the changes that have taken place at the CMC for Current Musicology. Rather than merely describing hardware and software projects, I thought it might be more interesting for me to try to articulate my version of the philosophy driving what we now do at the CMC. The operation of the CMC is indeed a personal odyssey for everyone involved. What I describe is truly my own version of how the Center is, and it may or may not reflect the actual reality of the CMC.



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Columbia University
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April 24, 2015