The Groove: Berklee Interarts Ensemble Creates Heavenly Music

EPD students used the the orbits of planets and solar wind as models in pieces presented at the International Conference on Auditory Display.
October 1, 2010

At first glance, Pythagoras and Coltrane seem like an awkward juxtaposition. The customary attitude assumes that some humans have been programmed to understand the analytical math and sciences while the talents of others favor creativity and the arts. However, the exploration of symmetry, patterns and ratios has not only been the obsession of scientists like Pythagoras but the tool of composers from Hildegard of Bingen to Bartok and Coltrane himself. Subject to the truths of the natural world, the arts and sciences find themselves intertwined in an eternal relationship. Acutely aware of this correlation, the students and faculty of Berklee's Electronic Production and Design Department embrace the symbiosis of knowledge and artistic dialogue—the conscious collision used to develop new means of creative expression and global communication.

In spring 2010, faculty member Neil Leonard established the Berklee Interarts Ensemble, in which students collaborated outside the classroom to explore sonification and aesthetic issues inspired by the real-time signal processing and computer-driven models from Leonard's Nocturnal Sounds from Hohle Fels (2009). Written for alto saxophone and laptop, this piece was composed after the discovery at the Hohle Fels cave in southern Germany of a 35,000-year-old bone flute, the earliest known musical instrument. Mr. Leonard remarked that, "the composition reflects on the intersection of emerging technologies and the genesis of artistic languages." The group's research was reconstructed into their debut performance, a live broadcast to the VideoFormes International Video Art and Digital Culture Festival in Clermont-Ferrand, France. The ensemble included Berklee faculty, students, and alumni as well as School of the Museum of Fine Arts students. The result was a stunning display of sonic arts interpreted through physical movement, which was captured and rendered by video projection....

Read more about the Berklee Interarts Ensemble at