IMM Eingang


Welcome to the Chronicle of the Institute For Music And Media (IMM) at the Robert Schumann University of Music and Media (RSH) in Düsseldorf.

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IMM Chronicle April 2016


Chinese Whispers in Graphics and Sound
On April 26 at 5:30 p.m. Christian Schäfer, Assistant Professor of Image and Graphics Design at the Köln International School of Design will give a talk on alternative notations and present works completed in his course Stille Post [Chinese whispers] in the Visual Music major concentration at the Institute For Music and Media. His talk is part of the KISD talks – Theories and Practice of Design public lecture series.


IMM BASECAMP: Jem on Music Production in Pop Music – From Demo to Master
In his lecture 19 May 2016 17h00 (IMM Studio A 2.24), Jem aka Peter Seifert will report on his long-standing experience in the field of music production, sound engineering and mixing and will describe how to get from a first demo version to the final master.
Jem works as a music producer, sound engineer and mixer. He already worked with pop stars like Udo Lindenberg, Ich + Ich and Christina Stürmer. Moreover, he contributed to the recent success of the German singer Andreas Bourani. Among others, Jem produced and mixed Bourani’s hit single Auf uns – which was awarded multi-platinum status – as well as the double-platinum album Hey.
For his work, Jem was awarded twice the ECHO as the Bestes Produzenten-Team [Best Producer Team].


Broad range of ensembles in jazz/pop module
Each semester a wide variety of ensembles performing various styles are involved in the Instrument/Voice (Jazz/Pop) module.   
This semester Heiner Rennebaum Assistant Professor of Jazz Guitar will direct the Latin combo. This ensemble give students a practical introduction to the many styles in Latin-American music based on rhythmic grooves and patterns, as well as to the analysis and rehearsal of works by leading artists.


Τι είναι οι αριθμοί και τι θα έπρεπε να είναι;
Numbers are a favorite argument: they are supposed to confirm whatever is being accounted for. From a mathematical point of view, however, number concepts are not at all something that can be taken for granted, and their system is constantly being questioned. Politiken der Frequenz [Politics of Frequency], a performance with chorus, is by Marcus Schmickler, Assistant Professor of Hybrid Sound Composition and Visual Music / Composition and Professor Julian Rohrhuber, Professor for Music Informatics and Media Theory. The work explores number concepts at the point where economics, music and mathematics overlap. The performance at the Borderline Festival in Athens will be sung in Greek for the first time. The authors will also hold a workshop for the public offering lively debate on mathematics, philosophy, sonification, and parallel developments in Greek and German cultural institutions.


Fortuna Ribbon at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen [House of Cultures]
On April 21 Marcus Schmickler, Assistant Professor of Hybrid Sound Composition and Visual Music / Composition will present his work Fortuna Ribbon at the Berlin Haus der Kulturen as part of the Technosphährenklänge series. As was the case at the Unsound Festival in Cracow, he will be assisted by Carsten Goertz, who has developed a scenography for ten light lances for computer music based on psychoacoustic illusions. 
On the same evening FM synthesis pioneer John Chowning will début a new work in collaboration with Mark Fell. In addition, Russian musician and researcher Andrey Smirnov presents a work for the rhythmicon, the world's first electronic drum machine, invented by Leon Theremin in 1930. On the following day, as part of a Technosphärenklänge symposium, Marcus Schmickler will talk with Peter Kirn of CDM (Create Digital Music).


Lecture at the Künstlerhaus Graz
Marc Matter, Assistant Professor of Artistic Texts / Media Aesthetics at the IMM, gives a lecture on April 14 on the poet, artist and publisher, Henri Chopin (1922–2008) as part of the Sighs Trapped by Liars: Language in Art exhibition at the Künstlerhaus Graz. The lecture will emphasize the difference between the artistic approaches of acoustic poetry and sound art, a debate which was also carried out in the OU art publication Chopin edited.As the Edith and Richard French Fellow at the Beinecke Rare Books & Manuscripts Library of Yale University, Marc Matter completed research in 2013 on Henri Chopin and the OU publishing project.


European premiere of Amboy
The film Amboy is being screened at the Museum Ludwig cinema on April 13 at 6:00 p.m. This marks the European premiere of the film project by Frances Scholz, Mark von Schlegell and Marcus Steinweg. Jan Höhe, Assistant Professor of Creative Editing at the IMM, assisted with editing and created text animations for the film.
Amboy is a new horror/sci-fi/noir/musical hybrid feature film project. A collaborative medium in the way that art often isn’t, the film interlaces passages of genuine documentary with its fictional journey of an artist-filmmaker who is led astray from her documentary project by the mysterious intervention of deceased 90s male artist/celebrity, Karl Amboy.
On location in Los Angeles and the Mohave Desert, Frances Scholz, a painter and filmmaker, edited, shot and directed the film in a number of semi-improvised sequences cowritten with Mark von Schlegell, art theorist and science fiction author, encorporating an expansive cast of actors and collaborators from the worlds of art, film, music, and literature.


Location sound engineers in Nairobi
Sound and Video major Johannes von Barsewisch is currently in Nairobi, Kenya with Cologne Academy of Media Arts students Christian Mario Löhr and Terry Magoko to assist Löhr as location sound engineers for his final thesis project. The cinematographer's documentary, Othermothers, considers the lives of Kenyan nannies and the question to what extent working with foreign families, especially given the close bond formed with the children of these families, affects the lives of the nannies.




News from the IMM major concentrations


Classical Music Recording major concentration:
AchtBrücken.Musik recording
An unusual collaboration between broadcaster WDR and the IMM will take place in May as part of the AchtBrücken.Musik für Köln festival. Students in the Classical Music Recording major concentration will record three concerts at the festival at the Wallrafplatz broadcasting studio for broadcast by WDR. This gives students an opportunity to become familiar with WDR’s technology and the professional working practices of a radio broadcaster. Starting with extensive training in using the sound control room of the Klaus von Bismarck Hall in the broadcasting center on May 4, eight students working in small teams will record the live concerts on May 5, 8 and 9. They will be supervised by sound engineers from WDR and work together with WDR sound engineers. The recordings will be of the Bombay Jayashiri ensemble on May 5, the Orchestra of the University of Music and Dance Cologne on May 8, and a recital by the violinist Carolin Widmann and the pianist Nicolas Hodges on May 9.
The project was initiated by IMM alumnus and graduate engineer Florian Hernschier (WDR) and Prof. Dagmar Birwe.


Media Composition major concentration:
Loop-oriented composition
Andreas Kolinski, Assistant Professor of Computer-Based Media Composition at the IMM, presents the most important digital and analog sound syntheses for creating music and their use in synthesizer-based compositions in his Loop-oriented Composition seminar – part of the style studies and exercises in the major concentration. The goal is to analyze electronic sounds and integrate them into your own style compositional style. After this, the skills that have been acquired are applied in a remix incorporating various styles of music.


Music Informatics major concentration:
Big Dada
In the seminar Algorithmic Acoustics, Ron Kuivila, professor at Wesleyan University, talks on 19th of April about the role of screams, beds, paper and silence in the history of late 20th century art and their recapitulation as vernacular performance practices in and around social media. Artists considered include Ben Patterson, Takaheisa Kosugi, Antonin Artaud, Robert Rauschenberg, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Gregory Whitehead. He will then introduce and, if possible, perform some of TED/Mencken, a 45 minute live, breathless gloss et alia dedicated to Robert Ashley. This piece uses SuperCollider in various ways.


Music Production major concentration:
Concert recording of We love soul music!
On February 11 a group of students in the upper-level Music Production module supervised by Prof. Werner Roth, Professor for Music Production (Popular Music) and Stephan Friedrich, Assistant Professor for Digital Audio Workstations, recorded the sold-out concert We love soul music! at the Stuttgart Bix Jazz Club featuring the Soul Diamonds All-Star Band and bandleader Obi Jenne. Six RME Micstasy digital microphone amps, a VB Audio multitracker and Yamaha DM2000 mixing console were used at the concert.


Music and Audiovisual Media major concentration:
Filming on location in Spain
Headed by Sound and Video major Leon Müller (production and directing), a six-person recording team consisting of IMM students is traveling through Spain from April 1 through 12. The film team is accompanying the Orchestra of the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (conducted by Silke Löhr)  to film a documentary of its concert tour. Destinations include Zaragoza, Valls, Pamplona, Málaga and Palma de Mallorca. The City of Düsseldorf, a partner city of Málaga, is sponsoring the tour. The program for the orchestra, in which five IMM students currently play, features the Overture to Don Giovanni by Mozart, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”) and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. The production is a project in the Music and Audiovisual Media major concentration.


Music and Media Management major concentration:
Project structure for short-film productions
Short-film productions are often carried out under considerable time and budget constraints. The project structure for such productions can be roughly broken down into the phases of obtaining a project commission, pre-production, production and post-production. Within these core tasks there are a large number of tasks and work packages, some of which need to be run in parallel and have to be specified as part of project planning. The Project Management course offered in the upper-level Music and Media Management module instructs students in the techniques and methods for structuring and managing projects of intermediate complexity. At the same time, special emphasis is given to teaching social skills which are critical to the success of projects subject to time and cost pressure.


Music and Text major concentration:
Storytelling, lecture performance and guest Gao Jiafeng
At the beginning of the summer semester, students in the upper-level Music and Text module will work on the possibilities offered by the art of storytelling while taking the essay, Der Erzähler [The Storyteller] by Walter Benjamin, as a point of departure. The link between holding lectures and performance-based elements (lecture-performances) will also be explored. In addition, in April Brooklyn-based musician and artist Gao Jiafeng will be a guest at the seminar. He will talk about his multidisciplinary performances in which he combines various speech elements and music into transmedia forms of storytelling.


Visual Music major concentration:
Experimental music visualizations
The best final projects from the upper-level Visual Music 2 module are now available online: the audiovisual performance for string bass solo Brain Sensing Music by Valentin Link, the poetic animation Fabel in schwarz und weiß [Fable in Black and White] by Sebastian Heidelberg, the video installation knockout by Moritz Hild, the interactive room installation Quad² by Lucas Grey, the interactive mirror VeeMee by Magdalena Sojka, the image and editing study WUT, FREUDE, TRAUER [RAGE, JOY, MOURNING] by David Füssgen and the audio and room installation Zwischenraum [Intermediate space] by Rebecca Himmerich.
All the projects were presented at the end of the winter semester to a large audience during the Visual Music Studies 2016 opening at the Düsseldorf Filmwerkstatt.


IMM Chronicle March 2016


Master's degree in Form und Forschung: Apply by April 15
In October 2016 the new master’s program Form und Forschung leading to the degree of Master of Music will be introduced at the Institute For Music And Media of the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media, Düsseldorf.
The deadline for applications is April 15:
The Form und Forschung master’s program combines aesthetic, technical and theoretical approaches. The program is based on the unique features for which the Institute For Music And Media is known: composition, performance, and algorithmic art forms have been established here for many years as highly varied facets of contemporary art.
During their studies, master’s degree candidates autonomously develop their own stance with respect to a range of artistic, media-based, economic, scientific and cultural contexts, and to design, influence, advance and even anticipate developments in the 21st century. Student projects are a central aspect of studies and are assigned to one of the two major concentrations – Artistic Research or Time-Based Form – both of which open up completely new perspectives in the environment of a state music conservatory.

IMM BASECAMP: Lorenz Dangel on films needing music
Every film needs a camera. Most films need actors, sound, a production design, costumes and an editor. But what films need music? And how much music? And what music?
Lorenz Dangel will be giving a talk about these questions on April 14 at 5:00 p.m. (IMM Studio A 2.24).
Lorenz Dangel composes film scores, classical repertoire and music for the lyric stage. The narrative element and evoking images play an important role in his music. He won a Lola Award (German Film Award) in 2012 for the score of the post-apocaplyptic film Hell.


dearVR binaural audio technology unveiled at the SXSW
Christian Sander, IMM alumnus and co-founder of Dear Reality, was at the SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas to launch the dearVR 3D audio reality engine. dearVR can create a realistic 3D aural space around the listener using any pair of headphones, and simulates various acoustic scenarios in games, VR and 360° videos.
The binaural processing plugin is supported on the Windows, OSX, Android and iOS platforms and is available for the Unity game engine from the Asset Store. A VST version of dearVR for working in digital audio workstations (DAWs) will be released this summer.
Christian Sander was already exploring binaural dummy head recordings during his studies and used the KU100 dummy head stereo microphone for them at the IMM.
His first software release was the Synse - Visual Music iOS App reated in the project module of the Visual Music major concentration supervised by Prof. Dr. Heike Sperling. The application won several awards.

2nd place at Romantic Revolution - Bruckner Unlimited
Music and Media major Lambert Windges won 2nd Prize at the Romantic Revolution - Bruckner Unlimited Remix Competition of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
His track, Something Went Wrong captured the imagination of the jury consisting of music producers and journalists. The award included a SONOS Smart Speaker system and an exclusive release of the piece with SONY Classical. There were six prize winners selected from the approx. 140 submissions sent in by producers from around the world. The awards ceremony is taking place on April 1 at the Berliner Philharmonie.


Echo Award nomination for Roger Cicero sings Sinatra
The album Roger Cicero sings Sinatra was nominated for this year's Echo Award in the Crossover category. Willy Löster mixed the album at his studio in Munich and was assisted with editing by Christoph Piasetzki.
Willy Löster and Christoph Piasetzki, both alumni from the Audio and Video Engineering program, already worked together on several big band productions as students and were able to continue their collaboration in this project.


Performance during the Theo van Doesburg exhibition
Marc Matter, head of the Music and Text major concentration at the IMM, has been invited by the Bozar Kunstzentrum (Brussels) to give a sound performance at the RRROM event on the occasion of the Theo van Doesburg exhibition. In his Voiceover solo project, Marc Matter combines fragments of recorded speech into new sound forms.
The evening is devoted to artistic abstraction in sound, images, film and language. Films by Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling will be screened and Jaap Blonk is performing Dadaist verses (sound poems) by van Doesburg, who published his poetry using the pseudonym I. K. Bonset. Saxophonist and clarinetist Joachim Badenhorst will improvise on selected paintings by van Doesburg.


Presets for the new OB-6
Synthesizer pioneers Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim were responsible for some of the most famous synthesizers in the 1970s and 80s, including the Prophet-5 or the OBX series. Thirty years after the last great all-analogue Oberheim opus, the two former competitors have jointly launched the OB-6, a six-voice analogue successor to the original. Lorenz Rhode, an Audio and Video Engineering graduate, worked as one of the sound designers on programming presets for the instrument.


The Artist’s Cut on WDR Radio
Marcus Schmickler, Assistant Professor of Hybrid Sound Composition and Composition, was invited by the editorial team of WDR's Studio für Elektronische Musik to record a new work at Katja Teubner's AudioSuite studio on March 4 and 5. The piece of about 40 minutes combines various sound synthesis techniques. The two-hour program The Artist’s Cut in the WDR 3 Open Sounds series introduces many different aspects of the musical world specialized in by Marcus Schmickler.




News from the IMM major concentrations


Media Composition major concentration:
Sound design and virtual reality
As part of their bachelor's degree project, Music and Media majors Patrick Arnold and Philipp Reimann (KlangKönner) are investigating virtual reality and its aural conditions. During the work phase of the project, the two are producing a 3D sound design for a computer game optimized for use with VR goggles. The project examines the potential of sound design in this virtual domain while studying possible conceptual approaches for this new medium.


Music Informatics major concentration:
Vocoder Poem
On March 15, Fabian Scharpf will complete his bachelor's degree project with a speech-controlled electronic composition. The three-channel piece contrasts three ancient Greek dialect versions hypothetically spoken by Demetrios Lekkas of Parmenides’s poem On Nature by analyzing them using different typical phonetic methods and making them audible again with the help of various forms of sound synthesis. The work also serves as the starting point for a speech-controlled electronic musical instrument.


Music Production major concentration:
Creating a live FOH mix
Among other topics, in the Sound Reinforcement seminar students learn how to mix audio as a front of house (FOH) engineer. In the winter semester, audio material from a WDR Big Band concert was transferred to the d&b sound reinforcement system at the IMM and mixed by students under the supervision of assistant professor Reinhard Klose. The objective was to become familiar with live audio mixing for a big band in a structured way. Console and time management as well as ergonomics for a sound check were also discussed. In addition, there were also targeted exercises on working with compressors and creating spatial effects. The overall goal was to create an aesthetic mix from an audio engineering and musical point of view.


Music and Audiovisual Media major concentration:
Presentation of final projects
Eighteen participants in the upper-level Music and Audiovisual Media module have registered for the final examination in the module at the end of the winter semester.
On March 14 at 2:00 p.m. students will present their projects (from experimental film to music videos, all the way to opera recording) to the public in Studio 1 of the IMM.  The presentations are open to the general public.


Music and Media Management major concentration:
Strategic and operational marketing management
As part of the basic module of the major concentration, the Media Economics course taught by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Klinkenberg concluded the winter semester with an overview of strategic and operational marketing management. The students are introduced to the fundamental tools in the marketing mix. Taking this business tool as a starting point, media-specific measures for gaining and retaining customers are considered. The marketing section of the course concludes with students preparing a concept for marketing various genres within the music industry.


Music and Text major concentration:
Symposium on sound-writing and work on text-sound compositions
Students with a Music and Text major concentration concluded the winter semester by taking part in the symposium of the cOsmOsmOse Festival. Besides the direct confrontation with the unique approaches of artists invited to the festival, the concept of sound-writing was also discussed as a conceptual model for acoustic literature.
In addition, basic module students are composing short radio plays which use material produced in the Artistic Text seminar. The material is derived from automatic writing, text montage using cut-up technique, and field recordings.


Visual Music major concentration:
The upper-level module [Vertiefungsmodul]
The two-semester upper-level module for the Visual Music major concentration starts in April. Prof. Ulla Barthold (Visual Composition/Camera and Lighting), Tim Fehske (Visual Music Technology/Production), Christian Schäfer (Visual Composition Graphic Design), Marcus Schmickler (Composition) and the professor responsible for this module, Dr. Heike Sperling, provide support to students in planning, formally structuring and implementing the audio and visual elements of a Visual Music Production (linear, reactive or interactive). This production concludes the upper-level module in early 2017.