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 May 2016


IMM BASECAMP: Manuel Schmitt on the eternal battle between art and commerce
In his lecture on June 16 at 5 p.m. (IMM Studio A 2.24), Manuel Schmitt will be discussing the balancing act between art and commerce. In his opinion, one must come to grips with the question of authenticity, integrity and credibility time and time again.
Manuel Schmitt studied at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and has been working as a freelance director, motion designer, editor and author for eight years now. Since 2012, he runs a YouTube channel under the alias SgtRumpel. Together with two of Germany’s top Let’s Players (Gronkh and Sarazar), he founded the game developer Looterkings in 2014 and currently is in charge of the development of their first computer game. Among others, his films were broadcast on ARTE and WDR.


Ensembles introduce themselves
Each semester as part of the Instrument/Voice (Jazz/Pop) module, there is a richly varied group of ensembles performing many different styles of music. This summer semester, there will once again be a Big Band phase led by Jan Schneider, Assistant Professor for Ensemble (Jazz/Pop/Experimental). The band will perform pieces from the legendary Miles Davis album Birth of the Cool. The unusual nonet arrangement by Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan, which includes horn and tuba, will lend the IMM Big Band a dark and floating atmosphere despite the summer warmth.


New disco/funk single by Moullinex and Lorenz Rhode
The new disco/funk single What U Do has been released on the Discotexas label in collaboration with Portuguese artist Moullinex (Luis Clara Gomes) and Audio and Video Engineering major Lorenz Rhode. The recordings took place in Red Bull Studios in Berlin during filming of the soon-to-be-released Moullinex documentary Elsewhere.
What U Do is the second collaboration between Moullinex and Lorenz Rhode since the remix of the single Superman on Gomma Records in 2010. The two will join up in July for the Super Bock Super Rock Festival in Lisbon.


Debut album by Nunuk
The Tearin’ Down Walls debut album by the German-Iberian band Nunuk will be released in early June on the Hey!blau Records label. It was mixed by Audio and Video Engineering graduate Julian David at his Cologne studio, The Satellite. The music by Nunuk combines electro sounds with acoustic guitar, percussion and folk characteristics. Jenny Thiele sings (in German and English) of longing for distance places, philosophical breakfasts and sensing as time goes by. The album tour will take the band through Switzerland, the Netherlands, France and Germany. The Record Release Konzert will be given on May 29 at the YUCA Club in Cologne.


Kammermusik wins second award
The visual music film Kammermusik [Chamber Music] by Music and Media student Katharina Blanken has just been named the Best Experimental Film at the Tehran International Silent Film Festival. Kammermusik has now been screened at twelve international festivals and won a second award in Tehran.
The DVD publication of the film was supported with grants from the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media and Zülow AG. Katharina Blanken worked on the DVD artwork with cover designer Pablo Lütkenhaus.
In Kammermusik, Katharina Blanken makes the rear wall of the Düsseldorf State Music Conservatory, where listeners would not be expected, the canvas of her short film. The project came into existence in the Visual Music major concentration under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Heike Sperling and Andreas Kolinski, Assistant Professor of Computer-based Media Composition.


IMM students present projects in Rome
By invitation of the University of Rome Tor Vergata a portrait concert of works by Christian Banasik is being given at the Auditorium Ennio Morricone. The program also features audiovisual works by IMM students and those studying at the Peter Behrens School of Arts, which Christian Banasik selected for the evening exhibit to introduce the campuses of the two institutes.
IMM works on exhibit include limbic(2012) by Manfred Borsch and Johannes M. Arend, Shifting (2015) by Julian Priessen, LC-0 (2013) by Stefan Wolf, and Noise of the Light (2015) by Orson Hentschel.
The seminar by Christian Banasik, visiting assistant professor for Composition / Audiovisual Media, is being given at the Master in Sonic Arts institute. At a further event he will speak on the history, development and today's music scene in Düsseldorf.


Girl's Day at the IMM
On April 28 a group of 22 female students came to visit the IMM as part of the nationwide Girl’s Day  initiative. The objective of the event was to provide the girls insight on courses of study at the IMM and to spark their interest in the areas of work between music and media. After an introduction to the contents of the degree programs offered and a detailed tour of the facilities, the pupils had the chance to do hands-on work under the guidance of undergraduates in some programs of study. For example, a multi-track recording was mixed at the Control Room 2 and the sound design for an animated film was prepared in Control Room 4. In Control Room 3 the visiting students worked on editing a guitar production while in the Experimental lab experiments were done on the subject of Strom klingt, wie er schwingt [Electrical current sounds the way it vibrates].
The pupils, who were between the ages of 11 and 15, were very interested in the program offered.




News from the IMM major concentrations


Classical Music Recording major concentration:
Radio play production at WDR Köln
On May 7 at WDR Köln recordings will be made of this year’s project work for the Radio Play Productions seminar. The students are taping scenes from the short story Super-Frog Saves Tokyo by Haruki Murakami in Hörspielstudio 6. Actors Jürgen Sarkiss, Martin Bross and Tom Jakobs as well as Sophie Garke and Ellen Versteegen are speaking the respective parts. Benno Müller vom Hofe, Assistant Professor for Radio Plays at the IMM, who also developed the radio play version of the story, was the director.
Later in the seminar the recordings will be edited by the students, the sound track for individual scenes composed and a sound design and music concept developed. Finally, the scenes will be adapted to form a cohesive whole of all the scenes.


Music Informatics major concentration:
Lambda calculus
The history of disciplines where the focus is progress is not usually explored. But the state of the art is often only a small portion of what is possible today and covers up many of the original motivations for making advances. In the upper-level Music Informatics module students and teachers use a historical text to study the necessity of formal Lambda calculus, a model of computation/logic allowing us to treat musical compositions on the same level as mathematical expressions.


Music Production major concentration:
Recording a brass section
As part of the upper-level Pop Music Production module, on May 3 Prof. Werner Roth and Prof. Dieter Falk gave a workshop on Recording a Brass Section. In addition to stylistic aspects and arranging, other areas covered included ensemble placement and types of microphone techniques. Afterwards, a brass section consisting of IMM students performing a song by Dieter Falk was recorded in Control room 1 and Studio 2. The upper-level module participants now have the opportunity to experiment with the recorded material.


Music and Audiovisual Media major concentration:
Long-term observation and live concert recording
On May 22 the second orchestra meeting of Liebhaberorchester NRW [Amateur Orchestras of North Rhine-Westphalia] is taking place at the City of Essen's Folkwang Musikschule. Over the past few months, Audio and Video student Sören Kitzing has been making sound and film recordings of the preparations. The main focus of the filmed observation is the creative process of a work commissioned for the meeting from Japanese composer Yasutaki Inamori as well as rehearsals by various ensembles. The final concert will then be filmed and recorded by a team of 19 IMM students using the video broadcasting van and the sound broadcasting van.
The film documentary is a project in the Music and Audiovisual Media major concentration and generously supported by the Kunststiftung NRW [North Rhine-Westphalia Art Foundation].


Music and Media Management major concentration:
Calculations and project controlling
Calculating effort and costs for media projects is a key aspect of successful project management, but is often given insufficient attention. In the Project Management seminar, students are introduced to the fundamental concepts of systematically classifying primary cost types and categories (prime costs and overheads as well as variable/fixed costs), central calculating methods such as profitability calculations and cost-plus pricing. Among other things, this allows the requirements for film project calculations to be met. At the same time, calculations like these are indispensable for effective project controlling.


Music and Text major concentration:
Polyphonic writing - Biographies - Epic theater
In the upper-level Music and Text module students are currently studying various textual forms and their relationship to music and sound: polyphonic writing and sonic strategies as tools of decomposition and desemanticizing – while relying on narrative structural principals from literary formats, existing texts are filtered, deconstructed and reworked; as a literary genre, biography is explored using various musical examples; and the concept of epic theater according to Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator is considered for possible uses within acoustic lyric genres.


Visual Music major concentration:
Composing for Visual Music projects
At the beginning of the summer semester composer Marcus Schmickler began teaching Visual Music / Composition as part of the Visual Music major concentration. He teaches students in the upper-level module and provides them with support in audiovisual production practice. Normally, the upper-level module is taken after two semesters by completing a Visual Music project in which students must create visual images and compose music as well as place these in relation to each other.
Together with Prof. Dr. Heike Sperling, Marcus Schmickler introduces students to the compositional techniques and provides advice on the development of their projects.


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.