Georg Hajdu : Audio-based Composition
Audio-based composition is a notion that encompasses novel approaches in the field of composition where recorded sounds serve as the basis for a symbolic composition process—spectral composition being an example of such an approach. Over the past 20 years, I have devised a number of strategies and software environments which enable me to transform audio material into compositions such as in my opera Der Sprung and my pieces Schwer...unheimlich schwer, Swan Song, and noiwont. In my lecture I will demonstrate the software which I have created while developing these pieces: the real-time notation program MaxScore (with Nick Didkovsky), the spectral transcription module Macaque, the networked multimedia performance environment Quintet.net and the algorithmic composition environment DJster (based on work by my former teacher Clarence Barlow). In the context of MaxScore, I will also give a brief report on recent advances made in the theory of the Bohlen-Pierce scale—a scale that was discovered independently by Heinz Bohlen at at the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater and John R. Pierce at Stanford University.
Georg Hajdu was born in 1960 and grew up in Cologne where he obtained diplomas in molecular biology and musical composition from the University of Cologne and the Cologne Musikhochschule, resp. A stipend by the German Academic Exchange Service enabled him to enter the graduate program in composition at the University of California, Berkeley in 1990, working closely with the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) and eventually obtaining a Ph.D. in 1994. His teachers include Johannes Fritsch, Krzysztof Meyer, Clarence Barlow, Jorge Liderman and David Wessel. He also audited classes with György Ligeti in Hamburg.
In 1996, following residencies at IRCAM and the ZKM, Karlsruhe, he co-founded the ensembleWireWorks, a group specializing in the performance of electro-acoustic music. In 1999, he produced his full-length opera Der Sprung – Beschreibung einer Oper for which renowned author and filmmaker Thomas Brasch wrote the libretto. In May 2002, his Internet performance environment Quintet.net was employed in a Munich Biennale opera performance and in the same year Georg Hajdu became professor of multimedia composition at the Hamburg University of Music and Theater, where in 2004 he established Germany’s first master’s program in multimedia composition as well as in 2012 the center for microtonal music and multi-media (ZM4). In 2005, he co-founded the European Bridges Ensemble—an ensemble entirely dedicated to local and wide-area network performance.
In 2010 he was composer in residence with the Goethe Institute in Boston as well as visiting professor at Northeastern University, and master-minded the first conference entirely dedicated to the Bohlen-Pierce scale. He was also involved in a number of large international projects such as CO-ME-DI-A—a European Culture 2007 project focussing on networked music performance and contributed to the installation of the Hochschule’s wave-field synthesis system in 2011.
In addition to his compositions, which are characterized by a pluralistic attitude and have earned him several international prizes, the IBM-prize of the Ensemble Modern among them, Georg Hajdu published articles on several topics on the borderline of music and science.