IRCAM (French: Ircam, Institut de recherche et coordination acoustique/musique, English: Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music) is a French institute dedicated to the research of music and sound, especially in the fields of avant garde and electro-acoustical art music. It is situated next to, and is organisationally linked with, the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The extension of the building was designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. Much of the institute is located underground, beneath the fountain to the east of the buildings.
Several concepts for electronic music and audio processing have emerged at IRCAM. John Chowning pioneered work on FM synthesis at IRCAM, and Miller Puckette originally wrote Max at IRCAM in the mid-1980s, which would become the real-time audio processing graphical programming environment Max/MSP. Max/MSP has subsequently become a widely used tool in electroacoustic music. Many of the techniques associated with spectralism, such as analyses based on fast Fourier transforms, were made practical by technological contributions at IRCAM. For instance, researchers at IRCAM have developed a special microphone capable of isolating each of the cello's four strings for separate amplification or electronic treatment. Along with tools for sound synthesis and analysis, IRCAM has played an instrumental role in developing programs for visualization of musical form with the creation of OpenMusic, a Lisp-based visual programming language.
IRCAM provides classes to train composers in music technology.Composers who do not have programming experience to create the technology end of a piece for ensemble and electronics are provided with an assistant who helps them to realise technically intensive parts of the piece. The assistant will follow the conceptual advice of a composer with no technology experience to realize a computer part, or will help a composer who can program in Max/MSP to make their "patch" more efficient and elegant. Tristan Murail's Désintégrations is an example of a piece realized in this program by a composer with significant technological skill, whereas Harrison Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus required an active and creative role for the technology assistants, such as Barry Anderson and Ian Dearden.
Apart from electroacoustic programmes, IRCAM has programmes in contemporary classical music. It has disseminated music of post World War II modernist musicians such as that of Luciano Berio or Pierre Boulez, as well as younger performers and composers. Musical spectralism such as that of Tristan Murail, has also received support from IRCAM. Murail taught at IRCAM for a time.Kaija Saariaho, whose work has been influenced by spectralism, has also been supported by IRCAM.
IRCAM has also helped to develop various performance models. A resident ensemble of IRCAM, Ensemble InterContemporain, specialised in contemporary classical music, where each performer could be called upon to perform solo literature or ensemble literature. The Ensemble InterContemporain has been a model for many large ensembles in Europe, for example the Ensemble Modern and Klangforum Wien. Many classical contemporary pieces have been written for the chamber orchestra section of Ensemble InterContemporain.
There are regular concerts at IRCAM.
In 1970 President Georges Pompidou asked Pierre Boulez to found an institution for research in music. In 1973 the section of the building underneath Place Igor-Stravinskywas finished, and IRCAM opened in 1977. From the outset, Boulez was in charge of the institute. The initial administrators included Luciano Berio, Vinko Globokar, Jean-Claude Risset, and Max Mathews. 1990 Ircam established the Cursus Program for young Composers, a training in Computer Music and Composition. In 1992 Boulez, who then became honorary director, was succeeded by Laurent Bayle . In 2002 the philosopher Bernard Stiegler became the new head of the institute. On January 1, 2006, Stiegler became Director of Cultural Development at the Centre Pompidou and was replaced by Frank Madlener .
The creation of IRCAM coincided with the rise of the debates about modernism and postmodernism in culture and the arts.
Its multimedia librarywas established in 1996. It is one of the first music hybrid libraries to have been created with close to 1000 hours of recorded music and over 2,000 scientific articles available online, in addition to its physical collections of sheet music and books on music and related domains.
Several international conferences have been held at IRCAM:
Some software is being developed at IRCAM, such as OpenMusic, AudioSculpt, OMax, Spat, Modalys, Antescofo and Orchidée.
Orchidée is developed as a tool to aid in orchestral composition in which musical scores using traditional instruments are generated by imitating a target input sound. It is used in Jonathan Harvey's 2008 piece, "Speakings", a composition based on emulating speech patterns and inflections. Orchidée is capable of computing the complex combinatorial possibilities of an orchestra based on musical attributes such as dynamics and instruments, perceptual attributes such as brightness, and timbre models.
IRCAM software is distributed via a subscription-based Forum.As of 2011, IRCAM Forum has 534 members including individual artists and art institutions around the world. IRCAM Forum members gather yearly at IRCAM for workshops regarding new technologies developed at IRCAM and elsewhere.
There are also partnerships with companies such as Cycling 74 (Max/MSP) and Flux:: (IRCAM Tools) for the development of proprietary software.
IRCAM is part of a consortium with Stanford's Center for Computer Research and Acoustics (CCRMA) and the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) in Berkeley, California.
Philippe Manoury is a French composer.
Kaija Anneli Saariaho is a Finnish composer based in Paris, France. During the course of her career, Saariaho has received commissions from the Lincoln Center for the Kronos Quartet and from IRCAM for the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the BBC, the New York Philharmonic, the Salzburg Music Festival, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, and the Finnish National Opera, among others. In a 2019 composers' poll by BBC Music Magazine, Saariaho was ranked the greatest living composer.
Magnus Gustaf Adolf Lindberg is a Finnish composer and pianist. He was the New York Philharmonic's composer-in-residence from 2009 to 2012 and has been the London Philharmonic Orchestra's composer-in-residence since the beginning of the 2014–15 season.
Jean-Claude Risset was a French composer, best known for his pioneering contributions to computer music. Risset was a former student of André Jolivet and former co-worker of Max Mathews at Bell Labs.
Olga Neuwirth is an Austrian classical composer.
Spectral music uses the acoustic properties of sound – or sound spectra – as a basis for composition.
Tristan Murail is a French composer associated with the "spectral" technique of composition. Among his compositions is the large orchestral work Gondwana.
Jonathan Dean Harvey was a British composer. He held teaching positions at universities and music conservatories in Europe and the USA.
Péter Eötvös is a Hungarian composer, conductor and teacher.
OpenMusic (OM) is an object-oriented visual programming environment for musical composition based on Common Lisp. It may also be used as an all-purpose visual interface to Lisp programming. At a more specialized level, a set of provided classes and libraries make it a very convenient environment for music composition.
Tod Machover, is a composer and an innovator in the application of technology in music. He is the son of Wilma Machover, a pianist and Carl Machover, a computer scientist.
Carl Faia is an American composer and live electronics designer and performer.
York Höller is a German composer and Professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik Köln.
Jukka Santeri Tiensuu is a Finnish contemporary classical composer, harpsichordist, pianist and conductor.
Oliver Martin Schneller is a German composer and saxophonist.
Paul Steenhuisen is a Canadian composer working with a broad range of acoustic and digital media. His concert music consists of orchestral, chamber, solo, and vocal music, and often includes live electronics and soundfiles. He creates electroacoustic, radio, and installation pieces. Steenhuisen’s music is regularly performed and broadcast in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. He contributes all audio content and programming to the Hyposurface installation project, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Antescofo is a program developed by Arshia Cont in 2007 at IRCAM in collaboration with composer Marco Stroppa to aid with the synchronization of electronics in live performances. It is a modular polyphonic Score Following system as well as a Synchronous Programming language for musical composition. Since 2012, Antescofo is being developed by a joint team between IRCAM and INRIA.
Désintégrations, for 17 musical instruments and computer generated tape (1982–83) is a musical composition by Tristan Murail, commissioned for IRCAM, Paris. "Although the tape does not attempt to 'simulate' any particular instrument, an organic unity between it and the orchestra is established such that the two blend perfectly. The title refers to this process of voyaging inside sounds and exploring their inner life; sounds melt before us, allowing us to discover their interior."
Norrbotten NEO is a Swedish chamber ensemble dedicated to contemporary classical music. The ensemble was formed 2007 and is based in the concert hall Studio Acusticum in Piteå, Sweden. NEO regularly collaborates with contemporary composers and commission new works on a yearly basis. The repertoire includes music by composers like Henrik Strindberg and Per Mårtensson. The ensemble receives financial support from "The Swedish Arts Council", "Norrbotten county council" as well as "Luleå- and Piteå municipality". The ensemble have toured both in Sweden and abroad.
Luciano Berio OMRI was an Italian composer noted for his experimental work, and for his pioneering work in electronic music. His early work was influenced by Igor Stravinsky and experiments with serial and electronic techniques, while his later works explore indeterminacy and the use of spoken texts as the basic material for composition.
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