Three students and their lecturer in University of Limerick Electronic Music Studio
Students of UL's BSc in Music, Media and Performance Technology Síoda McCarthy, Andrew Knox and Aileen Evans with Jürgen Simpson, director of the Digital Media and Arts Research Centre at UL
Wednesday, 17 April 2024

University of Limerick has proudly launched its new world-class electronic music studio located in the Digital Media and Arts Research Centre at the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

The University of Limerick Electronic Music Studio (ULEMS) was officially presented last Friday evening with a talk by renowned Irish electronic music composer, Roger Doyle. This was followed by a concert to celebrate the event featuring performances by Paddy Mulcahy, Sharon Phelan, Jürgen Simpson, Neil O’Connor, along with Jonathan Impett and Juan Parro Cancino from the Orpheus Institute, Belgium.

Established by Jürgen Simpson, Dr Neil O'Connor and Tony Irwin, the new ULEMS facility is dedicated to the art of electronic music. Featuring a wide range of digital and analogue instruments, this unique facility tells the story of electronic music practice through the 20th and 21st centuries. Packed with a wealth of analogue and digital synthesizers, it’s a first in the Irish academic landscape.

ULEMS enhances the existing Digital Media and Arts Research Centre music studios and the 36-channel spatial audio environment.

The centrepiece of the new studio is a newly commissioned Buchla 200e, an instrument that is rooted in the history of modular synthesis and regarded as one of the most ambitious of its kind. Designed by the late Don Buchla and originally released in 2004, the 200e heralded a return to the format he originally introduced in 1963. Buchla’s influence on the development of electronic music was particularly evident in his emphasis on highly experimental approaches and his ideas and instruments are particularly relevant to contemporary artists working with sound today.         

The ULEMS also offers composers access to tools and instruments by Roli, Schlappi Engineering, Nord, Doepfer and Eventide as well as sophisticated recording and surround sound monitoring.

This new studio will support students of the BSc in Music, Media and Performance Technology and the BSc in Interaction Design undergraduate courses, as well as visiting national and international composers.

“For over 25 years, UL has played a key role in the development of electronic and computer music in Ireland, supporting education, research and reaching out to the wider community through conferences, festivals and partnerships. We are delighted to present this new facility which offers students and guest artists a unique opportunity to explore the rich possibilities and heritage of electronic music instruments,” said Jürgen Simpson, Director of UL’s Digital Media and Arts Research Centre.

Graduates from UL’s Digital Media and Arts Research Centre have gone on to pursue successful careers in the areas of audio production, digital video, and immersive experiences which have contributed to the culture industry here in Ireland and beyond. Among these are Ali Griffiths, a BAFTA award-winning visual effects producer (The Crown, The Witcher, Bridgerton); MuRli, a hip-hop artist who won a RTÉ Choice Music Prize as part of Rusangano Family; Gráinne Carrol, a film and television producer who is currently working on the film Bonhoeffer; and Brona Martin, an electroacoustic composer and sound artist who lectures at the University of Greenwich.

It was announced at Friday’s event that UL’s Digital Media and Arts Research Centre will be partnering with the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland’s resource centre for new music, to facilitate a composer-in-residence programme starting in 2025. Through this scheme, Irish and international composers will have the opportunity to work in this space.

Speaking about the partnership, Evonne Ferguson, Director of the Contemporary Music Centre said: “CMC Ireland is delighted to partner with UL’s Digital Media and Arts Research Centre to develop and support Irish and International residencies at the newly launched ULEMS space. The opening of ULEMS marks an important moment for electro-acoustic compositional practice in Ireland, and is indicative of the vibrant New Music scene in the midwest of the country. The new studio, and the wealth of expertise and experience at UL’s Digital Media and Arts Research Centre presents enormous potential for professional development, creative experimentation and artistic collaboration.”

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