Orion Visitor Lecture, University of Victoria

On November 6, 2013, I delivered the Orion Visitor Lecture at the University of Victoria. I discussed my studies with Henry Brant, the early days of computer music at Stanford's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the making of Silicon Valley Breakdown, the development of time maps and plucked string synthesis, and my collaborations with Julius O. Smith III, Bernard Mont-Reynaud and others. The lecture was preceded by a 7-minute introduction by Professor Andrew Schloss, and was followed by a performance of Silicon Valley Breakdown, in its original quadraphonic version, newly restored (not included on this recording.)

Note: While I attempted to recount historical events accurately, in an oral lecture without a written text, there's always the risk of omissions or errors. In addition, human memory is inexact (and more inexact as time goes on). In particular, in discussing computer music at Stanford, I neglected to mention the late Leland Smith who, along with John Chowning, first brought computer music from Bell Labs to Stanford, and with whom I studied music analysis and composition. Also, in discussing the meeting with Alex Strong, I neglected to mention his collaborator, Kevin Karplus, who was also present at the meeting. Finally, while I focused on the excitement and adventure of developing the techniques used in Sillicon Valley Breakdown, I did not have a time to delve into its aftermath, particularly the deep theory and practice developed by Julius O. Smith, "Digital Waveguide Synthesis," which became the basis of the Yamaha VL-1 synthesizer and others. In fact, I spent the 1990s developing patents and techniques building on Waveguide Synthesis, as part of the Sondius project of the Stanford Office of Technology Licensing, and then continued that work as a co-founder of Staccato Systems, Inc. in the late 1990s. In addition, I have continued developing the techniques and musical applications in works such as Grass and Racing Against Time