IMM Eingang


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

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IMM Chronicle February 2015


Heterochronous Sounds
The 14th issue of the German online film magazine Nach dem Film has its focus on Audio History. Among others, it includes an article by Volko Kamensky und Professor Julian Rohrhuber, who discuss their work on documentary film sound with regards to the underlying conceptual background. From the dichotomy between anachronous and synchronous historiography, a possible alternative arises, exemplified in heterochonous sounds [Heterochrone Töne. Zur Frage der Historiographie im Dokumentarfilm Alles was wir haben]


Music, sound design and dialogue editing for the film Cabaret Crusades - The Secrets of Karbalaa
IMM students Moritz Laux and Raffael Seyfried created the sound design and music for Egyptian artist Wael Shawky’s film Cabaret Crusades III - The sectrets of Karbalaa, while Matthias Krämerwar was responsible for editing the dialogue. The two-hour film uses elaborate blown-glass marionettes to retell the history of the crusades from the perspective of the Arabs. The special aesthetics, particularly the material of the marionettes, were also a strong influence on the sound design and music. For example, all the Foleys were created using glass, and these glass sounds were integrated into the music using various self-programmed techniques.
The film premiered on 1 February in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and in the course of the year will be shown in Doha (Qatar) and at the K21 in Düsseldorf in April.


Embodied neurocontrol and autonomous sound robots
The senses not only situate living beings in their environment, they also embed them within time: already very simple models neuronal systems can be surprisingly unpredictable and show a complex dynamic behaviour, in particular where they involves bodies and surroundings. On 3 April from 11am until 5pm Prof. Frank Pasemann will introduce to this subject matter. Together with students and teachers of Music Informatics we will try to find methods that render audible the temporal behaviour of small neuronal modules. Such sonifications may become an interface between questions regarding cognition and those concerned with composition.


IMM alumni film a music video for Warner
Nils Wülker has published his new video Season, featuring Max Mutzke, from his new album Up, which features Max Mutzke, Sasha, Xavier Naidoo, Jill Scott and Craig Armstrong. IMM alumni Stephan Telaar (direction), Manfred Borsch (camera) and Florian Breuer (lights, projection), among others, were involved in the production of the music video. The project was supervised by Miho Nishimoto from Warner Music Group, graduate of the Audio and Video Engineering program.




From the IMM majors


Major Music Informatics:
Conversations with Oliver II: Ringing phones - designing disturbance
Ring tones belong to the class of signals whose main task it is to disturb, to interrupt. The seminar with Oliver Wittchow introduces their historical context from an aesthetic and technical perspective. It discusses whether ring tones can be music, and investigates in the specific possibilities of disturbance design. Subsequently, together with students and teachers of the major Music Informatics, we will experiment with the design of algorithms for signal synthesis.


Major Music Production:
Pop piano workshop
On 14 January, the second session of Prof. Dieter Falk’s pop piano workshop took place using both grand pianos in Sound control room 2 at the IMM. With him were ten students, including two from the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media, who wanted to study the topic of Pop and Jazz Piano Improvisation further. The last of the three workshops, part of the project module in the Music Production major, will take place on 11 February in Dieter Falk’s studio using, among others, an original Wurlitzer electric piano, a Rhodes piano and a Hammond organ.


Major Music and Media Management:
Business models on online platforms
Transferring traditional business models to online platforms is a common method of founding a business, but often doomed to failure – especially in the creative industries. Within the specialisation module Music and Media Management in this winter term, internet based business models will be developed that use the potential of digitalisation, without, however, neglecting factors critical to success in the process. These factors are primarily related to the analogue (personal) relationships between the service provider and their potential customers. For example, in a business plan for online music education, further services are defined, based on personal contact and events that provide the customers (music students) with real added value and increase their motivation to learn.


Major Music and Text:
Radio journalism, features and audio plays
On 6 February, Raphael Smarzoch from Cologne, who has been producing radio features for the WDR for many years as well as writing for numerous music magazines (Spex, Neue Zeitschrift für Musik) and is writing a thesis about the avant-garde music composer Christian Wolff, will be visiting the Music and Text major.
In the core module, Music and Text students are currently working on a radio format on the topic of Computer Games and Music, under the guidance of Waltraud Blischke, assistant professor for Speaking and Writing about Music. An artistic analysis of the forms of expression in radio journalism, features and audio plays is planned. After completion, the production will be presented on the Music and Text major’s Mixcloud channel.


Major Visual Music:
Multi-dimensional installations
At the end of the specialisation module in the Visual Music major, the students are creating their first large project in this genre. In their projects they are composing on both the acoustic and the visual levels. In the last few years more and more students have chosen to work with space as a third design element. On 14 and 15 February, six students will present their final projects in the Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf [Düsseldorf Film Workshop].
An additional installation, Milan Schell’s bachelor project for the Visual Music major, can be viewed on 11 February from 5pm in Studio 1 at the IMM. The students were supervised by Prof. Ulla Bartold (Visual Composition / Camera and Lighting), Tim Fehske (Visual Music Technology / Production), Andreas Kolinski (Computer-aided Media Composition), Christian Schäfer (Visual Composition / Graphic Design) and the head of this major, Prof. Dr. Heike Sperling.


IMM Chronicle January 2015


Palanteeroo in the African Opera Village
The Festspielhaus Afrika gGmbH and the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media have been cooperating since March 2014. As part of this cooperation, four IMM students - Valentin Link and Simon Stimberg (Music and Media bachelor program) as well as Nicolas Neteler and Maximilian Sauer (Audio and Video bachelor program) – will travel to the opera village in Burkina Faso this March to start their joint project Palanteeroo. In the first stage of this project, workshops with the students of the opera village and musicians from Burkina Faso have been planned, as well as music productions in the vicinity of the capital Ouagadougou. After that, the creation of the Palanteeroo label, building of a sound studio in the opera village and documentation of the entire project process are to take place in the second stage.
Palanteeroo receives financial support by the Friends and Sponsors as well as the QVM [Quality Improvement Agency] of the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media. The project is supervised by Prof. Dr. Heike Sperling.


Music for Düsseldorf
The first official Robert Schumann School of Music and Media image film can now be viewed online on YouTube and Vimeo. The two and a half minute long clip was created as part of two Bachelor theses in the Music and Audiovisual Media and Media Composition majors, in the Music and Media program.
Stefan Haupt took on the responsibilities of author, director and producer. His fellow student Sebastian Heuckmann composed the music and directed the music recordings as recording producer. The film was commissioned by Matthias Schwarz, the school’s press spokesperson.


Studio recording with Perfect Beings in Santa Monica
In 2014, Audio and Video Engineering graduate Dipl.-Ing. Julian David had already taken responsibility for recording the debut album of the Californian progressive rock band Perfect Beings , achieved 8th place in the album chart of the year on Prog Archives next to albums from established bands like IQ and Opeth. At the end of January, Julian David will be travelling to Santa Monica once again to work on the next album with guitarist, producer and USA expatriate Johannes Luley’s band, and accompany the creative process as a recording engineer. A making-of video of the last production explains how the band came to be and provides insight into the particular sound aesthetics and songwriting philosophy of this remarkable band.


IMM BASECAMP: Frank Kruse on the Orchestration of Sound Effects for a Movie
In his lecture on 29 January at 5 p.m. (IMM studio A 2.24), Frank Kruse explains the different methods and creative processes within the limits of tight schedules; the blurred boundary between sound design and mixing; how to still see the wood for the trees; the work of the supervising sound editor between production, direction, the composer, editor and sound team, taking the two feature films Cloud Atlas and Rush as examples.
Since completing his Sound program at the Film and Television University, Potsdam-Babelsberg, Frank Kruse has worked as a freelance recording producer, sound designer and supervising sound editor in the field of cinema films. He has worked on numerous German and international cinema productions as an original sound recording producer and as sound designer or supervising sound editor. For Tom Tykwer's film Perfume he received the German Film Award for best sound design and has been nominated in 2014 for a BAFTA Award for his work on Ron Howard's film Rush. He is currently working on Ron Howard's new film Heart of the Sea and Tom Tykwer's film A Hologram for the King.


Open house
On the occasion of the open house of the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf, the Institute For Music And Media will also be opening its doors on 21 January. In addition to guided tours through the Institute and presentations of students’ work, anyone who is interested will have the opportunity between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to learn about the bachelor programs at the IMM.
In the course of this open house, there will be an information event and a guided tour of the studios at IMM at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m.




From the IMM majors


Major Classical Music Recording:
Chamber music productions
Six chamber music productions with students of the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media took place in the winter term as part of the core module Classical Music Recording. The productions were carried out in Partika hall and the Partika hall sound control room by sound teams made up of students from the Chamber Music Production seminar, led by Prof. Dagmar Birwe. At the same time, the module’s students took on the organisation and planning of the recordings. Several ensembles and a wide variety of repertoires were recorded. For example, pieces included the Sonata for flute and piano by Sergej Prokofieff, (Marie-Luise Kerkau, flute), movements from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite for solo Cello No. 2 (Felicia Belinghaus, violoncello), and songs by Alban Berg (Stefanie Lesch, vocals). The final cuts of the productions will be listened to and discussed in the lessons in January.


Major Media Composition:
Film is … 

…the creative interaction of many so-called disciplines. The media-based programs at the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media take this into account with their interdisciplinary orientation and variety of majors. A current example is Music for Düsseldorf, the school’s official image film.
After Music and Media student Sebastian Heuckmann has composed and produced the music to fellow student Stefan Haupt’s film, the students on the specialisation module Media Composition, under the guidance of Sound Design assistant professor Olaf Mierau, will be attempting to open up a new dimension with the help of sound design, which plays an especially important role in the image film format.
The interaction between various areas of sound post-production is a focus of the major.


Major Music Informatics:
Foundations of artistic research: blind thinking
Whether thinking can take place unconsciously or entirely without human intervention is debatable. In this context, the Foundations of artistic research event deals with two topics in this semester: the epistemic relevance of non-computable sets and the Turing machine on the one hand, and on the other the concept of formalising thought, which together with George Boole’s influential connection of logic and algebra represents an important precursor to computer science. The music scientist and theorist Jochen Otto (ZKM, Karlsruhe) is invited to the event, in order to work on two key texts with the students and teaching staff of the major. The seminar will take place on 20 January from 11am to 5pm, and on 21 January from 2:30pm to 7pm, and is open to those interested.


Major Music Production:
Magdalena Sojka produces Pentaloon
Magdalena Sojka created her band Pentaloon in the specialisation module Music Production. In Studio 2 and Sound control room 1 at the IMM, several songs were recorded with a variety of styles. Magdalena Sojka (vocals), Fabian Haupt (piano and vocals), Philipp Reimann (drums) and Kai Schlegel (electric bass), all students on the Music and Media program, form the core of the band. Stylistically, they move between groove-oriented pop, jazz, country and soul. The finished mixes will be submitted as a final project to Prof. Werner Roth at the end of January.


Major Music and Audiovisual Media:
The final production spurt and deadline stress has arrived in the Music and Audiovisual Media major. 22 students in the core module and 15 in the specialisation module have registered for the respective final module exams. On 18 February, the student authors/directors/producers at the end of the specialisation module will display the independent artistic work they have completed. And in a popular event on 19 February the graduates of the core module will present their three-minute self-portraits.


Major Music and Media Management:
Internet-based business models
Which business areas in the music and media branch still have commercial development potential? This master question is being considered by a small group of students in the specialisation module Music and Media Management. Developing technological and social trends are the main focus. On the one hand, these trends predict increasingly mobile consumption and working methods by both the users and creators of media. On the other hand, due to the flood of offers in the media branch, an improved, individualised selection of media is more and more urgently required. With this background, the students are developing internet-based business models, which are both individually scaleable and clearly distinguishable from one another.


Major Music and Text:
Die vs. Dice
In the Music and Text seminars, the current topics are linguistic organisation and artistic expression in radio formats, situational methods and their musical applications, die vs. dice, radio dramas as language experiments, the various levels of text in (music) films, early spoken pieces by Helge Schneider, narrative with multiple perspectives and literature in the sound chamber.
In 2015 a few guests will once again be welcomed back into the seminars: the sound artist and radio producer Gabi Schaffner, who will give a workshop on acoustic text collages and automatic writing, the performance artist Jörg Steinmann, who will talk about his art installations in public places, and Raphael Smarzoch, music scientist and journalist, who will explain his features (for the German broadcaster WDR, among others).


Major Visual Music:
5th Visual Music Night
The students of the core module Visual Music are preparing for the fifth Visual Music Night. Traditionally, the IMM celebrates the last day of the winter term, which this year is the 20 February, in the Salon des Amateurs in Düsseldorf.
The students in the Visual Music major are creating posters for the event in Christian Schäfer’s Music Visualisation in Still Images seminars, while in Tim Fehske’s Music Visualisation in Animated Images seminars they are working on transferring ideas from their posters into the space.
On the night, Simon Behrendt, student in the Music and Media program will warm up the turntables, followed by IMM assistant professor Christian S (DJ). The special guest, internationally renowned DJ and producer Lena Willikens (Cómeme) will then take over the mixing desk.