Mapping an Infinite Universe of Sound
Composer and artist Miya Masaoka will present her new piece Mapping an Infinite Universe of Sound for the EMPAC Wave Field Synthesis array.
Alongside this new work composed for the virtuosic violinist Olivia de Prato of the Mivos String Quartet, Masaoka will discuss her creative practice, the role of the movement and energy of sound in a space, and the underlying assumptions of how we perceive sound, speed, and direction. The physicality of the body of the violin meets the endless possibilities of the spread of timbre, color, and harmonic inter-tonality of nuanced relationships in a physical space.
Masaoka has been working with early systems of hardware and software of spatialization including ADAT, C Software, and acoustic strategies including choirs, ensembles, and the BBC Scottish Orchestra in a spatial context. An award-winning composer, she has received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Luciano Berio Rome Prize in Musical Composition, the Fulbright and many others. She is a Professor at Columbia University and directs the MFA program in Sound, a hybrid program with the Computer Music Center and Visual Arts. In this photograph, Masaoka is shown with a Dan Bau, and she sometimes references the monochord as a clear and physical representation of the spectral harmonic relationships of intervals and natural tuning systems.
Wave Field Synthesis is a special way of creating sounds in space. The EMPAC Wave Field Synthesis system (EMPACwave) is a unique loudspeaker set-up with hundreds of speakers that was developed and built at Rensselaer over the past several years. While Wave Field Synthesis technology is not new, the design of EMPAC’s array is acknowledged by international experts to finally allow musicians to create music to the refined degree that has been promised by this theory of sound generation for over four decades.