UC San Diego’s Professor Miller Puckette with UL's Kerry Hagan

Musicians play laptops as instruments

Monday, 3rd April 2017 Tags: University of Limerick, UL, Music Technology, CSIS Limerick, Miller Puckette, Kerry Hagan,

Limerick hosted a concert of computer music this week, in a collaboration between performers and lecturers from University of Limerick (UL) and University of California (UC).

UL’s Dr Kerry Hagan and UC San Diego’s Professor Miller Puckette performed together in a concert titled Hocket Pagan on Monday (April 3). The evening of live music for instruments, interfaces and electronics was the latest episode of their ongoing musical collaboration. As part of his visit, Professor Puckette also gave a public talk at UL titled Limitations of computers as musical tools.

Over the last few years, Miller Puckette and Kerry Hagan have been working together to develop live performance systems for computer, electronics, interfaces and instruments. This concert showcased new works by the duo, among them the European premiere of a composition called Hack Lumps.

In this work, Miller Puckette uses hand gestures and a Leap controller to synthesise music on his computer. Kerry Hagan takes Puckette’s contribution on her computer, processes it, and sends it out into speakers. The result is a unique give-and-take in improvisation and collaboration.

“We are fortunate to have Miller Puckette visiting Limerick. As the creator of popular Max and Pure Data software, he is considered a leader in the computer music community. This is a fantastic opportunity for Limerick to see cutting-edge music and technology with international presence in our own city," explained Dr Hagan ahead of the performance.

"All of the music will be created through laptops, musical instruments, and specialist hardware allowing us to perform the laptops like musical instruments. This short concert showcases experimental music with a little touch of cheekiness. For those with adventurous taste in music, this evening will be a fun jaunt into the world of computer music, where new music is made with and through computers,” she added.

Dr Kerry Hagan is a composer and researcher working in both acoustic and computer media. Her works have been performed in San Diego, Belfast, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, New York, Toronto, Sydney, Perth, among others. She is a lecturer with the Digital Media and Arts Research Centre at the University of Limerick.

Professor Miller Puckette, who teaches at the University of California, San Diego, is known as the creator of both Max and Pure Data. This software enables musicians of numerous genres to create music on computers, often in live performances. He has collaborated with many artists and musicians including Philippe Manoury, Rand Steiger, Vibeke Sorensen and Juliana Snapper. Since 2004, Professor Puckette has performed with the Convolution Brothers. His artistic work has been presented in major cities in the US, Europe and Asia.

Miller Puckette’s visit to Ireland began with a talk at University of Limerick, titled Limitations of computers as musical tools, followed by a concert at Ormston House.

The talk and concert were supported by the Digital Media and Arts Research Centre (DMARC) and the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at University of Limerick.