Scientist+Composer Collaboration Project

There is an art to science, and science in art; the two are not enemies, but different aspects of the whole.

Isaac Asimov

Call for Participation

2020 has been designated The International Year of Sound, a global initiative to highlight the importance of sound and related sciences and technologies in society. As part of the coordinated activities and public outreach for the International Year of Sound, the University of Illinois School of Music and Symbolic Sound are organizing an international symposium on the University of Illinois campus in mid-August 2020 on the theme: The Sound of Science. As part of that conference, we would like to invite University of Illinois researchers to participate in an innovative Scientist/Composer Collaboration Project over the summer.

Are you passionate about your research and intrigued by the possibility of collaborating with a composer to create a new live performance work, mutually inspired by each other’s research, knowledge, and creativity? If accepted, your Scientist/Composer collaborative project will be presented on a series of public concerts in conjunction with the Kyma International Sound Symposium (KISS 2020) — “The Sound of Science”13-16 August 2020 on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus.

This all-volunteer collaboration project is an opportunity to enhance the public appreciation and understanding of your area of research while enjoying a unique and inspiring creative experience over the summer.

The time commitment is minimal:

• About one hour in early April of 2020 to meet your composer partner over Skype, Slack, Google Hangouts, phone call or email so you can answer questions about your work (and pose questions to them about their work). Think of it as a kind of “first date” where you get to know each other and decide whether you’d like to go further.

• If you decide to collaborate, we will invite you to attend the concert on the University of Illinois campus when the collaborative work will be performed (some time during 13-16 August 2020; we will be able to give you an exact date and time by spring 2020) in order to answer audience questions and share in the applause.

Of course, if you become mutually inspired, you may enjoy spending additional time working together on this collaborative creation, including becoming part of the performance (depending on your interests and barring any excessive stage fright).

How does it work?

We are issuing an international call for composer/performers and a University-wide call for University of Illinois researchers.

Feel free to preview the online proposal form; you can read all of the questions without filling in anything or submitting the proposal, so please feel free to read the questions first, and then decide whether you think this might be an inspiring, fun and creative experience: online proposal form.

Once we’ve received all of the proposals from researchers and composers, our expert “matchmakers” will introduce you to your potential creative partner(s). At that point, you can meet online for a “first date” after which you can decide whether you’d like to proceed with the collaboration or simply shake hands and part ways.

If you decide to collaborate, we’d like to suggest that you save the date of Thursday 13 August 2020, when you’ll have a chance to meet your creative partner(s) in person when they arrive in Champaign, and you can, together, put the finishing touches on your new work before presenting it at a lecture/performance during the symposium.

Questions? We’re happy to answer questions, clarify the process, or discuss your proposal idea. Please send us email.

We think the Scientist/Composer Collaboration will be a fun and a horizon-widening experience for all involved — including for the audiences in August 2020. We look forward to reading your proposals! Although the deadline is 1 March 2020, we welcome your proposals as soon as you’re ready!

Stephen Taylor
Professor of Music
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Co-director, Illinois Modern Ensemble

Carla Scaletti
Composer, sonification researcher, and software developer

Posters for printing or digital bulletin boards: