Voltage Connect Conference Brings Together Pioneers of Electronic Instruments

By 
Margot Edwards
February 23, 2017
Press release
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Electronic Music pioneer Suzanne Ciani
Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess
Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist

Berklee’s Electronic Production and Design Department (EPD) presents its first Voltage Connect Conference on March 10 and 11. Themed “Pioneers, Players, Thinkers, Purveyors,” the conference will examine the development and direction of electronic instruments, from early commercial synthesizers in the 1970s to the present and beyond, and bring together major figures in the field, including researchers, established and emerging companies, and performers.

Since the first commercial release of synthesizers, there’s been an enormous change in what an electronic instrument actually is, from analog to digital, hardware to software, and back again, all driven by technological innovation and imagination. Voltage Connect will consist of panel discussions, presentations, technology demos, and performances exploring how electronic instruments are developed and used.

Presenters at the conference include keynote speakers David Friend, cofounder of the ARP Instruments company; Marcus Ryle, president of Line 6; and Daniel Haver, CEO of Native Instruments. The conference is open to the public. To register, visit berklee.edu/voltage-connect.

“It’s unusual because you have traditional academic conferences that present research on new electronic instruments, and you have industry trade shows. It’s rare to have them come together to shine a light on the really interesting things happening in the field,” said Michael Bierylo, chair of EPD. “It was important for us to bring this to Berklee, since that’s what we do. We take cutting edge music technology research and bring it into the classroom in a way that’s useful and practical.”

The Voltage Connect Concert, in conjunction with the conference, will celebrate electronic instruments in live performance with sets by Jordan Rudess, keyboardist of prog rock band Dream Theater; and electronic music pioneer and visiting scholar in EPD Suzanne Ciani. These remarkable artists brings a unique approach to performance, and their work explores the promise and possibilities of electronic sound. Their performances will range from modular synthesizers to new kinds of expressive controllers.

In honor of EPD founder David Mash, who retires in May, four selections of music he composed will be performed at the concert by a few bandmates from his 1970s electronic jazz-fusion band Ictus, EPD faculty members, and a student pianist.

The concert takes place Friday, March 10, 8:00 pm, at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC), located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts. Tickets are available for $8/$12 at the BPC box office or berklee.edu/bpc. The venue is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 617-747-2261.