Spatial Audio Summer Workshop

A five-day workshop using Wave Field Synthesis and High-Order Ambisonics

July 10July 14, 2017

A five-day intensive workshop on the technical, theoretical, and practical issues surrounding spatial audio platforms, particularly focused on Wave Field Synthesis and High-Order Ambisonics. Hosted by EMPAC at Rensselaer along with IRCAM (the Paris-based Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), and HUSEAC (Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition), this workshop will give participants the opportunity to experience large-scale, complex audio setups in pristine acoustic environments.

Markus Noisternig (IRCAM) and professor Hans Tutschku (Harvard) will join EMPAC’s audio staff in dissecting the technical and artistic concerns in the creation and presentation of high-count multi-channel audio projection. Each day will consist of seminar-style workshops and lectures, along with time for hands-on experience with the over 700 channels of audio, including EMPAC’s new Wave Field Synthesis array.


EMPAC’s Wave Field Synthesis array was constructed in 2016 and consists of 558 independently controllable speakers spread across 18 portable and reconfigurable modules.


The workshop will take place throughout EMPAC, granting participants access to the sophisticated audio systems in place. In addition to smaller studio spaces, five venues will be outfitted with high-channel-count audio arrays, including:

  • 1,200-seat Concert Hall
    with 248-channel Wave Field Synthesis Array and 60-channel Ambisonic array.
  • Large absorptive studio
    (66’x51’x33’; 315m2, 12m high) with 124-channel Wave Field Synthesis Array and 20-channel Ambisonic array.
  • Large diffusive studio
    (44’x55’x18’; 230m2, 9m high) with 20-channel Ambisonic array.
  • Theater stage
    (40’x80’x60’; 300m2, 20m high) with 186-channel Wave Field Synthesis Array and 20-channel Ambisonic array.


Participants should be composers, audio engineers, or programmers with interest in multi-channel composition. Experience with MAX is recommended.


There will be two open-to-the-public performances during the week on Mon + Thurs evenings. More information will be available later this spring on the specifics.


  • Attendees to the workshop should bring a computer and applications they are comfortable using for creating
  • Dongles to connect laptop to Ethernet cable
  • Audio content—uncompressed audio files or other playback/sound generation systems

Where + When

Held across EMPAC’s venues, the workshop will run from 10AM–6PM each day with lectures in the mornings and scheduled time later in the evenings in each venue. Performances will be held Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Coffee, lunch, and parking included for full workshop attendees only.


Lodging accommodations are available on campus for those traveling to attend. Checkin/out will be open on the 9th and 15th for those who want to arrive the day before / leave morning after workshops.

Cost and Registration

  • $150 Includes: lectures ONLY.
  • $590 Includes: lectures, hands-on access to various audio systems, performances, and coffee, lunch, snacks each day.
  • $800 Includes: workshop registration as well as single room lodging for six nights on the Rensselaer campus.
  • June 5, 2017—Full registration cost due
  • Attendance limited to 25 participants



Markus Noisternig is Researcher at IRCAM, CNRS, Sorbonne Universities—UPMC in Paris, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Electronic Music in Graz, and also lecturer at the Karlsruhe College of Arts and Design. As an undergraduate and postgraduate, he studied electrical engineering and audio engineering as well as computer music composition at the University of Technology and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz. As an artist, Noisternig has participated in numerous collaborative projects with well-known composers and ensembles of New Music, which have performed in key European festivals.

Hans Tutschku is the Fanny P. Mason Professor of Music at Harvard University, where he is the Director of the Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition. He studied composition in Birmingham, Dresden, The Hague, and Paris and has been a member since 1982 of Ensemble für Intuitive Musik Weimar, with whom he has toured more than 30 countries. Aside from composing instrumental and electronic music, he has realized several multimedia productions, conceiving video and choreography.

Rama Gottfried is a lecturer of computer music and instrument design at UC Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT), where he completed his PhD in music composition in 2015. In 2012, he was a composer in residence at IRCAM working on aesthetic applications of Wave Field Synthesis (WFS) and Higher Order Ambisonics (HOA). This year he is continuing his spatial composition research as a composer in residence at IRCAM and Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM). His recent compositions have been featured at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, MaerzMusik, SPOR, and Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik.

Spatial Audio Summer Workshop
Multiple Venues
July 10July 14, 2017