Sound Seminar 2021

Thursdays from January 21 – March 25, 2021 | 10:30 AM (PST) | FREE  

Please join the SCA Music & Sound Area for a semester of weekly talks and presentations with Adam Basanta, Thessia Machado, Lucy Railton, Sarah Davachi, James O'Callaghan, Suzanne Kite, and Vitalija Glovackyte & Michael Cutting.

If you are a SCA music student or enrolled in a SCA music course this term and would like to attend and participate, please login HERE for the event link.

  • Jan 21: Adam Basanta
  • Jan 28: Thessia Machado
  • Feb 4: Lucy Railton
  • Feb 11: Sarah Davachi
  • Feb 25: James O'Callaghan
  • March 3: Suzanne Kite
  • April 1: Vitalija Glovackyte & Michael Cutting

Videos of the talks will be posted on our Vimeo page and here. Please check back for updates.

Adam Basanta | January 21

Adam Basanta (b. 1985) is an artist, composer, and performer of experimental music. Born in Tel-Aviv (ISR) and raised in Vancouver (CAN), he lives and works in Montreal (CAN) since 2010.

Since 2015, his works have been exhibited in galleries and institutions including the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (CAN), Optica Centre d’art contermporain (CAN), Fotomuseum Winterthur (CH), Arsenal Art Contemporain (CAN), Galerie Charlot (FRA), National Art Centre Tokyo (JPN), V Moscow Biennale for Young Art (RUS), Carroll/Fletcher Gallery (UK), American Medium Gallery (NYC), Serralves Museum (POR), Edith-Russ-Haus fur Mediakunst (GER), York Art Gallery (UK), and The Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe (USA).

His work has been awarded several international prizes, including the Japan Media Arts Prize (2016) and the Aesthetica Art Prize (2017). In 2018 he was longlistes for the Sobey Art Award (CAN), and in 2019 he was the winner of the Prix Pierre Ayot (QC). He is currently represented by Ellephant Gallery (Montreal, CAN). His work can be found in the institutional collections of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and the Ville de Montréal.

Remaining active as an experimental composer and performer, his concert music, live performances, and sound recordings are presented worldwide, including appearances in the MATA Festival (NYC), Gaudeamus Musicweek (NL), CTM Festival (GER), Akousma Festival (CAN), and Mutek Festival (CAN), and have been awarded multiple national and international prizes. His music has been released on Kohlenstoff Records (CAN), Farmacia901 (ITA), Important Records/Cassauna (USA), and Kasuga Records (GER).

He holds a BFA in Music composition from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver BC CAN) and an interdisciplinary Research-Creation MA in Fine Arts (Concordia University, Montreal QC CAN).

Photo: Min Chen

Thessia Machado | January 28

Thessia Machado is a visual/sound artist, instrument builder and performer whose work plumbs the materiality of sound and its effect on our shifting perceptions of space. She creates circumstances in which to mine the matter of her pieces for their innate physical properties and the sonic and visual relationships that can arise from their interactions. In improvised and composed performed works, the ensemble of things is augmented by a dynamically responsive and intentionally unpredictable human element. Electronics are almost always implicated.

Machado’s sculptures, drawings and sound installations have been broadly exhibited both in the US and Europe; most recently in a solo show at the Arts Club of Chicago in early 2019. She has performed with her handmade and modified instruments in both respectable institutions, such as the Drawing Center, The American Academy in Berlin, Issue Project Room, and in dilapidated basements and experimental spaces throughout Brooklyn and beyond. She was awarded the Berlin Prize at the American Academy in Berlin and the Artist’s Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2017. Machado has attended residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Homesession, Barcelona, Yaddo, Ipark, NARS Foundation, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. She is a recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The Experimental Television Center and The Bronx Museum. In the fall of 2019 Machado was a visiting faculty member at Bennington College, VT, and in the spring of 2020 she was coaxing righteous/joyous noises from the students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago when the pandemic struck.

Photo: George Nebieridze

Lucy Railton | February 4

Lucy Railton is a British cellist, composer, and curator whose work pushes the edge of electro-acoustic composition. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, appearing on dozens of recordings, and performing at numerous contemporary music festivals and venues, she made her solo debut with the 2018 full-length Paradise 94, a jarring mixture of intensely amplified cello and industrial noise textures.

Railton was trained at the New England Conservatory in Boston as well as the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she graduated in 2008. During the same year, she established the new music series Kammer Klang, and she later co-founded the London Contemporary Music Festival. Her programs present performances of canonical works as well as pieces by emerging and lesser-known composers. Railton has played on recordings by numerous jazz, folk, electronic, and indie rock artists, including Bat for Lashes, Orbital, Bonobo, and Jamie Cullum. She has performed or recorded extensively with Thomas Strønen, Russell Haswell, Sofia Jernberg, and others.

In 2018, Modern Love released Railton's first album, Paradise 94, which included collaborations with artists such as Beatrice Dillon and Kit Downes. She collaborated with Peter Zinovieff, co-founder of the EMS Synthesizer company, on RFG Inventions for Cello and Computer, which was released by PAN in February 2020. Three months later, Railton's improvisational Lament in Three Parts was issued by Cafe Oto's digital label TakuRoku. Her composition Forma was released by Portraits GRM (a collaboration between Austrian experimental label Editions Mego and French electro-acoustic institution INA GRM) as the first side of a split LP with Baltimore-based experimental musician Max Eilbacher. Railton's 2010 performance of Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus by Oliver Messiaen was issued by Modern Love as a benefit recording, with proceeds split between the UN Refugee Agency COVID-19 Appeal and the Grenfell Foundation.

Bio: Paul Simpson /

Photo: Alex Waber

Sarah Davachi | February 11

As a composer and performer of electroacoustic music, Sarah Davachi's (b. 1987, Calgary, Canada) work is concerned with the close intricacies of intimate aural space, utilizing extended durations and simple harmonic structures that emphasize subtle variations in texture, overtone complexity, psychoacoustic phenomena, and temperament and intonation. The instrumentation she employs is varied, including electric organ, pipe and reed organ, piano, tape-replay samplers, analog synthesizers, voice, ​early Western strings and keyboards, and orchestral strings, brass, and woodwinds, with mutual idioms often layered in tonal counterpoint. Similarly informed by minimalist tenets of the 1960s and 1970s, baroque leanings toward slow-moving chordal suspensions, and experimental production practices of the recording studio environment, in her sound is manifest an experience that lessens apprehension of consonance and dissonance in likeness of the familiar and the distant. In addition to her acclaimed recorded output, including 2019's Pale Bloom on Superior Viaduct, 2018's Gave in Rest​ on Ba Da Bing, and 2018's Let Night Come On Bells End The Day on Recital, Davachi has toured extensively across the globe and has shared the stage and collaborated with artists such as Grouper, William Basinski, Ariel Kalma, the Bozzini Quartet, the London Contemporary Orchestra, Oren Ambarchi, Donald Buchla, Suzanne Ciani, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Jessica Moss, ​Áine O'Dwyer, Alessandro Cortini, Ian William Craig, Kara-lis Coverdale, Aaron Dilloway, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Ellen Arkbro, Loren Connors, and filmmaker Paul Clipson. Davachi operates the record label Late Music, founded in 2020 with the partner labels division of Warp Records; Cantus, Descant, a 2xLP of new works for pipe organ, reed organ, and electric organ, is the imprint's first release.

Between 2007 and 2017, Davachi had the unique opportunity to work for the National Music Centre in Canada as an interpreter and content developer of their collection of acoustic and electronic keyboard instruments. Her research and writing focuses on critical organology and timbre and has been published and presented in North America and Europe. She has held artist residencies at The Banff Centre for the Arts (Banff, CA), STEIM (Amsterdam, NL), WORM (Rotterdam, NL), EMS (Stockholm, SE), OBORO (Montréal, CA), MESS (Melbourne, AU), and the National Music Centre (Calgary, CA), and is the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and SOCAN. Davachi holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Calgary, and a master's degree in electronic music and recording media from Mills College in Oakland, California, where she studied primarily with Maggi Payne, David Bernstein, and James Fei. She is currently a doctoral candidate in musicology at UCLA and is based in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Photo: Anna van Kooij

James O’Callaghan | February 25

James O’Callaghan (b. 1988) is a composer and sound artist based in Montréal praised for his “mastery of materials and musical form.” (Electromania, Radio France) His music has been described as “very personal… with its own colour anchored in the unpredictable.” (Goethe-Institut) Never having studied an instrument, he came to music late in life, first through making industrial electronic dance music. His work intersects acoustic and electroacoustic media, employing field recordings, amplified found objects, computer-assisted transcription of environmental sounds, and unique performance conditions.

His artistic output, spanning chamber, orchestral, live electronic and acousmatic idioms, audio installations, and site-specific performances, has been performed in 26 countries, and variously commissioned by the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (INA-GRM), Gaudeamus Muziekweek, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Esprit Orchestra, l'Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, Standing Wave, and many others. His album Espaces tautologiques, released by empreintes DIGITALes, won a Prix Opus, and was listed by 5:4 as one of the “best albums of 2016”. His extended collaboration with Ensemble Paramirabo resulted in a portrait album of his works in 2019, entitled Alone and unalone. It was released on Ravello Records and was nominated for a JUNO award.

His music has been the recipient of nearly 40 national and international prizes and nominations, including the ISCM Young Composer Award (2017), the Salvatore Martirano Award (2016), the Robert Fleming Prize (2015), the Jan V. Matejcek Award in New Classical Music (2018), the Jeu de Temps-Times Play Awards (2014), the SOCAN Foundation John Weinzweig Grand Prize (2014), and the audience and jury prize from the ECM+ Génération 2018 tour. Significant nominations include those for the Gaudeamus Award (2016), prix Métamorphoses (2018), and two JUNO Awards (2014, 2020) — the first at 26 as the youngest nominee in the history of the category classical composition of the year.

Active as an arts organiser and advocate for reform and increased access to and equity in music infrastructures, he co-founded the Montréal Contemporary Music Lab, served on the artistic committee of Codes d'accès, and as a national councillor of the Canadian League of Composers. He also presents at conferences and publishes regularly on compositional topics including instrumental transcription of environmental sound, cross-media transcription, soundscape music, and electroacoustic diffusion through instruments (Organised Sound, Twentieth-Century Music, eContact!, Electroacoustic Music Studies). He is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre.

Originally from Mount Currie, British Columbia, he received a Master of Music degree in composition from McGill University in 2014, studying with Philippe Leroux. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts honours degree from Simon Fraser University in 2011, studying with Barry Truax, David MacIntyre, Rodney Sharman and Arne Eigenfeldt. He has also studied and taken workshops with Kaija Saariaho, Jean-Baptiste Barrière, Lasse Thoresen, Mark Andre, Simon Steen-Andersen, Clara Iannotta, Pierluigi Billone, Agostino Di Scipio, Jorge Sánchez-Chiong, Christopher Butterfield, Christopher Fox, Antoine Beuger, Juliet Palmer, Michel Gonneville, Bekah Simms, and R. Murray Schafer.

Suzanne Kite | March 3

Kite aka Suzanne Kite is an Oglála Lakȟóta performance artist, visual artist, and composer raised in Southern California, with a BFA from CalArts in music composition, an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School, and is a PhD candidate at Concordia University. Kite’s scholarship and practice investigate contemporary Lakota ontologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance. Recently, Kite has been developing a body interface for movement performances, carbon fibre sculptures, immersive video and sound installations, as well as co-running the experimental electronic imprint, Unheard Records. Kite has also published in several journals and magazines, including in The Journal of Design and Science (MIT Press), where the award winning article, “Making Kin with Machines,” co-authored with Jason Lewis, Noelani Arista, and Archer Pechawis, was featured. Currently, she is a 2019 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, a 2020 Tulsa Artist Fellow, and a 2020 Women at Sundance x Adobe Fellow.

Vitalija Glovackyte & Michael Cutting | April 1

Vitalija Glovackyte creates music bringing together second-hand analogue machines, conventional / home-made instruments, electronics and lo-fi visuals. Aside from her solo work, Vitalija is one-half of the experimental pop duo HYPERDAWN. Her most recent projects are WE ARE FOR A WHILE (hour long multimedia work for recycled instruments and tech) and TENDER VOLTS (for amplified slimming belt motors and live lighting). Offering new life to broken instruments and battered machines recovered from dumpsters, beaches and alleyways, WE ARE FOR A WHILE was originally created for Apartment House. The consequent UK tour with the group in 2017 earned great reviews in The WIRE and Fluid Radio, as well as broadcasts on NTS Radio, Resonance FM, BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction, Orange Radio, Reform Radio and LRT Radio. The same year it had its New York debut with Almost Credible Music and landed the new music scene as an individually hand-stitched and very limited edition LP under Manchester’s label Ono. TENDER VOLTS is a solo set created using 3 amplified sliming belt motors, live lighting and electronics. Originally devised as a solo experiment for Kammer Klang, it has been remoulded and re-commisioned by Phaedra ensemble for a performance of 3 in 2018.

Michael Cutting is a Manchester-based composer and performer, one half of the experimental pop duo Hyperdawn and founder of the group Almost Credible Music. Michael creates music with acoustic instruments and analogue devices. Derived from experiments with reel-to-reel tape machines, his work is characterised by warped loops, lo-fi noise and an emphasis on the theatricality of performance.  

Michael's solo output ranges from electronic releases to multimedia performances, works for symphony orchestra to semi-improvised live sets, and has been presented in numerous festivals across Europe – Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Klangspuren (Austria), AHEAD Festival (Lithuania), Manifeste Academy (France), SPOR Festival (Denmark) and Heidelberger Frühling (Germany), in venues from the Royal Festival Hall to Cafe Oto, Royaumont Abbey to Rotherhithe Tunnel Shaft. His music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, NTS Manchester, Lake Radio (Denmark), LRT Radijas (Lithuania) and is released on the NMC and Ono record labels.

Aside from composing and performing, Michael also co-curates nights such as the sonic weekender OHNO in Cafe Oto in 2014, and Flatpack (a UK and Danish tour) in 2016.  

Michael holds a PhD in Composition from Kings College London, and previously obtained his Bachelor and Masters degrees from the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.

SCA Sound Seminar 2020 | ARCHIVE

Freida Abtan, Rodrigo Costanzo, Nicole Lizee, Levy Lorenzo, Seth Parker Woods, Sam Salem, Olivia Shortt, Remy Siu, and Viola Yip.

Photo: Stéphane Lagrange

Freida Abtan
November 12

Freida Abtan is a Canadian audiovisual composer and multi-disciplinary artist with a keen interest in immersive media. She works between fixed and real-time computational technologies in sound and video for concert diffusion, installation, and large-scale multimedia performance situations. Her music ranges from acousmatic composition to more industrial and pop-influenced experimental performance. Both as a solo artist, and as a floating member of the renowned experimental music group Nurse with Wound, she has toured her music and visuals internationally. Her compositions, performances, and installations have been featured at ICMC, the Spark Festival of Electronic Music, Mutek, The Elektra Festival, and Cap Sembrat amongst many others. Currently, she leads the Electronic Music, Computing, and Technology programme Bmus/Bsc programme at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Rodrigo Constanzo
October 15

Rodrigo Constanzo is a performer and composer living in Manchester, England. He is an avid improviser and performs regularly using home made electro acoustic, and modified electronic instruments. He is currently working towards a PhD in Composition at the University of Huddersfield and co-runs The Noise Upstairs, an improv collective and label which puts on monthly nights and quarterly workshops in Manchester.


Nicole Lizée
November 19

Award winning composer and video artist composer Nicole Lizée creates new music from an eclectic mix of influences including the earliest MTV videos, turntablism, rave culture, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Alexander McQueen, thrash metal, early video game culture, 1960s psychedelia and 1960s modernism. She is fascinated by the glitches made by outmoded and well-worn technology and captures these glitches, notates them and integrates them into live performance. Her compositions range from works for orchestra and solo turntablist featuring DJ techniques fully notated and integrated into a concert music setting, to other unorthodox instrument combinations that include the Atari 2600 video game console, omnichords, stylophones, Simon™, vintage board games, and karaoke tapes. Nicole was the Composer in Residence at Vancouver’s Music on Main from 2016-18.

Levy Lorenzo
November 5

Born in Bucharest, Filipino-American Levy Marcel Ingles Lorenzo, Jr. works at the intersection of music, art, and technology. On an international scale, his body of work spans custom electronics design, sound engineering, instrument building, installation art, free improvisation, and classical percussion. With a primary focus on inventing new instruments, he prototypes, composes, and performs new electronic music. As an electronic art consultant, Levy designs interactive electronics ranging from small sculptures to large-scale public art installations with artists such as Alvin Lucier, Christine Sun Kim, Ligorano-Reese, and Leo Villareal. As a percussionist, he co-founded the experimental theater/electronics duo Radical 2 with Dennis Sullivan and is a member of the Peter Evans Septet. As a sound engineer, he specializes in the realization and performance of complete electro-acoustic concerts with non-traditional configurations. One of his main engagements is Claire Chase's Density 2036 project. A core member of the acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), he fulfills multiple roles as live sound engineer, electronicist, and percussionist.

Seth Parker Woods
September 24

Hailed by The Guardian as “a cellist of power and grace” who possesses “mature artistry and willingness to go to the brink,” cellist Seth Parker Woods has established a reputation as a versatile artist straddling several genres. In addition to solo performances, he has appeared with the Ictus Ensemble (Brussels, BE), Ensemble L’Arsenale (IT), zone Experimental (CH), Basel Sinfonietta (CH), New York City Ballet, Ensemble LPR, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Seattle Symphony. A fierce advocate for contemporary arts, Woods has collaborated and worked with a wide range of artists ranging from the likes of Louis Andriessen, Elliott Carter, Heinz Holliger, G. F. Haas, Helmut Lachenmann, Klaus Lang, and Peter Eötvos to Peter Gabriel, Sting, Lou Reed, Dame Shirley Bassey, and Rachael Yamagata to such visual artists as Ron Athey, Vanessa Beecroft, Jack Early, Adam Pendleton, and Aldo Tambellini.

Sam Salem
October 8

Sam Salem creates audiovisual works for performers, electronics and video, which challenge traditional notions of concert presentation and instrumental virtuosity. He has a PhD in Electroacoustic Composition in 2011 from the University of Manchester, shifting his practice in order to incorporate live performance. He's a founding member and co-artistic director of Distractfold Ensemble, which received the Kranichstein Music Prize for Interpretation from Internationales Musikinstitute Darmstadt (IMD) in 2014, becoming the first British ensemble to receive the honour. He is currently PRiSM Lecturer in Composition at the The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England.

Olivia Shortt
October 29

Olivia Shortt (They/She): Anishinaabe, Nipissing First Nation) is a Tkarón:to-based artist. They work as an artist manager for Clifton Joseph Guidry III, as well as a performer, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, improviser, composer, sound designer, theatre artist, teacher, activist, curator, and producer. They are currently working with the JACK Quartet as a commissioned composer in the inaugural JACK Studio. They have performed in a variety of places and venues all over the world.

Remy Siu
October 22

Remy Siu 蕭逸南 is a composer and new media artist based in Vancouver, BC (located on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied traditional lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations of the Coast Salish peoples). Recently, his work has involved the construction of automated and variable performance apparatuses that employ light, sound, software, and the body. He is interested in creating friction and stakes between the performer, the interface, and the system through the use of game mechanics and failure. His output spans chamber music, dance, theatre, installations, and audio-visual work. Remy studied at Simon Fraser University Contemporary Arts with David MacIntyre, Owen Underhill, and Barry Truax. He has also studied with Rodney Sharman. He is currently the Co-Artistic Director of Hong Kong Exile, the Director and Manager at the Gold Saucer Studio, and Curator-in-Residence at Contemporary Musiking Hong Kong.


Viola Yip
October 1

A Native of Hong Kong, Viola Yip is a New York-based experimental composer, performer, sound artist, and instrument builder. Her recent interest falls on creating performances based on an intermedial conception of music as well as creating sound pieces that are created through playing around unconventional relationships of objects. Viola's instruments and performances have been presented in major music festivals and concert series in New York, Missouri, Chicago, San Diego, Boston, Bowling Green (Ohio), Pittsburgh, Ithaca, Saratoga Springs, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Huddersfield, Madeira, Ghent, Amsterdam, The Hague, Brussels, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Berlin and Darmstadt.

Music & Sound

The SCA's BFA Music & Sound Major program is renowned for its innovative and experimental approach to music and sound through its focus on contemporary composition and creative music making. Given the program’s unique position within an interdisciplinary contemporary art school, our students have rare and valuable opportunities to collaborate on film, dance, theatre, and visual art projects as part of their core training.  

The BFA Music & Sound program integrates a rich curriculum including electronic studio composition and performance, composition for acoustic instruments, sound art, performance in Javanese gamelan, and collaborative trans-disciplinary art making. Working beyond fixed genres, our students build a rigorously eclectic toolkit aimed at developing their own highly original projects. Sound installations, custom-built instruments, musical robots, traditional instruments, and DIY electronics are often integrated into hybrid performances that blend these elements in new and innovative ways.

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