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 May 2015


IMM BASECAMP: Michael Beil on Strategy as Compositional Technique
On 2 July 2015 at 17h00 (IMM Studio A 2.24) Michael Beil, professor and head of the electronic studio at Hochschule für Musik Köln [University for Music and Dance] in Cologne, will talk about his strategies in composition.
In order to escape the dominant formalism in contemporary music, Michael Beil uses musical effects in his compositions, which are less appreciated in this genre. He assumes that music is always perceived emotionally at first. This effect is used, for example, in advertising as well as in conservative or commercially oriented music. But also irritating the audience requires existing meanings to be used as foundation. It is only possible to create confusion, if something known can be identified. From Michael Beil's perspective, stereotypes, images and quotes are most suitable in music. He regards audio recordings and videos as practical devices to enhance this effect as well as the confusions.
Michael Beil
studied piano, music theory and composition in Stuttgart from 1984 to 1993; from 1996 to 2007 he taught at the Berlin music schools in Kreuzberg and Neukölln. From 2000 to 2008 Michael Beil hosted the festival Klangwerkstatt in Berlin.
Michael Beil combines his compositions beyond music with other audiovisual media.


Live visuals for Nigel Kennedy at the Jazzfest Bonn
Tim Fehske, Assistant Professor for Visual Music Technology/Production, will be playing the live visuals for the performance of British violinist Nigel Kennedy at the 2015 Jazzfest Bonn.
Nigel Kennedy's Hendrix Project concludes this year's festival at the Telekom Forum and is based on the works of US guitarist Jimmy Hendrix. Tim Fehske will have a 62 m² LED wall as an instrument for structuring the staged auditorium space and creating music visuals during the performance. 


Silver Award for Johannes von Barsewisch at the AES Recording Competition
Audio and Video major Johannes von Barsewisch won a Silver Award in the Traditional Studio Recording category at the 138th AES Convention held in Warsaw this month for his competition entry Rise And Shine by Salomea Project. His recording was thus recognized as one of the three best recordings by students in Europe in 2015. Award winners also receive prizes such as acoustic modules, software, plug-ins and books.


The 138th AES Convention in Warsaw
IMM students Lukas Hierl, Charel Boukel, Johannes von Barsewisch and Niklas Dalheimer represented the AES Student Section Düsseldorf at the 138th AES Convention in Warsaw. The annual convention for international audio engineers offers seminars, workshops and includes an exhibition by major manufacturers, as well as competitions for recording and device design and much more. In addition to learning opportunities at the convention, the IMM and the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf both presented their degree programs during an Education/Career Fair. The convention agenda included parties with students from all the most important universities offering degree programs in audio engineering. These gatherings enable the active exchange of ideas for workshops and projects jointly organized by universities.


Die Kunst der Überwachung [The art of surveillance] at Acht Brücken 2015
Tonverbrechung and artist collective RaumZeitPiraten [SpaceTimePirates] gave a joint performance of Die Kunst der Überwachung at the Acht Brücken 2015 Contemporary Music festival in Cologne. In the work, audience members become an object in the collected audio and visual material while also acting as a shaping subject when the material is included in the final musical product. This creates an ambivalence that is frighteningly similar to our role in worldwide electronic data traffic.
Music and Media alumnus Lukas Truniger was responsible for electronics, generative composition, and installation in the performance.


CD Presentation Tour: Martin Sasse Trio feat. Steve Grossman
The trio of Pop Keyboard/Jazz Piano professor Martin Sasse has not only performed with the Who's Who of European jazz such as Ferdinand Povel, Philippe Catherine or Dusko Goykovich, but has also gone on tour and completed recordings with the likes of American soloists Dick Oatts, Peter Bernstein, Vincent Herring and Scott Hamilton. The collaboration with jazz legend Steve Grossman which Sasse began three years ago in the Al Foster Quartet not only marks a high point in the career of the Cologne-based trio: It also makes considerable demands of musicians because the repertoire developed on the two tours consists not only of three works by Steve but also classic hard bop repertoire and jazz standards. This means there is no high-wire safety net or cushioned floor; no showy arrangements or hastily sketched out compositions. The emphasis is on creative improvisation: the essence of jazz.

The recently released CD Take the “D” Train showcases jazz at the highest level in its purest and essential state: Swing. Improvisation. Expression. The CD presentation tour starts on May 13.


Remix for Elenka
Berlin-based vocalist and DJ Elenka is releasing her own self-titled debut album on the Chimperator Department label (Sony). Music and Media student Lambert Windges produced a remix version of the song Zurück as a vinyl release. For over eight minutes, the remix reinterprets the musical elements of the song rhythmically and harmonically, adds its own tonal and sampling aeasthetic, while still retaining the overal shimmering electro sound of the 13 album tracks produced by Feeling Valencia and Robot Koch. This is Lambert Windges's first remix release in a physical recording format.


Mind Your Business at the ICLC 2015
Jonas Hummel, a graduate in Audio and Video Engineering, will be presenting his laptop quartet Mind Your Own Business at the 1st International Conference on Live Coding at the University of Leeds, UK, from July 13 through 15. In his composition for four networked computer musicians no musician can produce notes alone. Instead, this is only possible if they all assume their role in the group. The performers exchange these roles during the piece. The music is coded live, meaning it is shaped on a textual and not a gestural or haptic computer interface.
Jonas Hummel is currently enrolled at the Institute For Performance Research of Manchester Metropolitan University in Great Britain, where he is writing his PhD thesis in Music Informatics on Navigation, Agency, Presence - how to improvise with laptop computers.




From the IMM majors


Major Media Composition:
Learning objectives and course content
Students majoring in Media Composition focus on composition and arranging music to complement images. The foundation and upper-level coursework in this program of study includes practical seminars on associative composition, computer-aided composition, dramturgic sound design and studies and tutorials in style as well as seminars on the virtual orchestra.
The learning objectives for degree program include gaining proficiency in working with applied music as well as satisfying media/music requirements under real-world production conditions. This undergraduate course of study can lead to completing a master's degree in Film Music.


Major Music Informatics:
Bitwise music
Our thinking and argumentation are marked by logical connections which also serve as basic functions for electrical circuits. That is where they collect, sift through and exchange binary data. For many decades it has been a regularly rediscovered form of music which applies logical operations to digital acoustic signals, generating surprising and unanticipated sounds. With an expansive time scale covering many orders of magnitude, these signals are a flowing intermediary between tone color, tonality, rhythm and larger compositional form. Thus, a single line of C programming code is often enough.
The Amsterdam-based artist and programmer Jan-Kees van Kampen, Assistant professor for Programming as Improvisation at the IMM, is giving a seminar on this topic.


Major Music Production:
Phat Cool Bigband makes guest appearance in Studio 2
Music and Media major Dario Große (audio engineer) and Audio and Video major Philipp Weber (assistant) completed a recording and mixing project of Phat Cool Bigband at the Sound Control 2 and Studio 2. The 19 students from Arnhem, Holland play jazz, funk and fusion directed by Peter Engels. The titles Night in Tunesia, Slow Hot Wind and New State of Mind were produced in two days of recording and several days of post-processing.


Major Audiovisual Media:
Multi-camera production in Studio 1
The second all-day workshop in the upper-level course will focus on multi-camera production.
Led by Jakob Gengenbach, course participants will be recording the Frederik Raumann Trio featuring pianist Frederik Raumann, Valentin Link on electric bass and drummer Philipp Reimann. The students will be assisted by Prof. Ulla Barthold (DOP), Prof. Manfred Waffender (director), Martin Störkmann (video engineering) and Peter Dombrowski (audio engineering).


Major Music and Media Management:
The magic triangle of project management
Media projects traditionally involve people from various disciplines. In addition to artistic project members, those with a background in technology, business and law must also be integrated within the team. These varied backgrounds are not only a challenge but also an opportunity when it comes to project success. The direction the pendulum swings within the magic triangle of project management depends a lot on the communicative and integrative abilities of team members and the project manager. The upper-level course on Music and Media Management raises student awareness about these issues and introduces them to methods for goal-directed, creative team cooperation.


Major Music and Text:
Aesthetics of Diversity
The Berlin electronic musician, sound/audio artist and composer Florian Meyer (IFF, Diskant Label, Don’t DJ) is presenting his conceptual approaches on the cultural phenomenon of exoticism developed while producing his latest album. A central reference for his views is the short but visionary work Essay on Exoticism: An Aesthetics of Diversity by French naval doctor, world traveler and writer Victor Segalen. On May 16 he presents and discusses his ideas in the subject major of Music and Text.
The retrospective on pop art figure Sigmar Polke at Cologne's Museum Ludwig offers the opportunity to ask to what extent works of art which may not seem to be closely related to music or text at first sight can in fact provide inspiration to the Music and Text discipline. The exhibition will be read against the grain, so to speak, while keeping the critical paranoia concept of Salvador Dali in mind.


Major Visual Music:
Field trip to the IRCAM
On June 5 and 6 students in the Visual Music upper-level course will join Tim Fehske, Assistant Professor for Visual Music Technology/Production, and Andreas Kolinski, Assistant Professor for Computer-based Media Composition, on a class excursion to the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), which was co-founded by composer Pierre Boulez, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
The internationally respected research institute is hosting an open house on June 6. The day before, IMM students will already have the chance to learn from IRCAM reserchers and developers about the technical implementation of exhibition projects. This includes a visit to the Espace de Projection auditorium at IRCAM, a completely variable, experimental 375 m² (6,800 m3) acoustic space.


Major Classical Music Recording:
Anniversary CD for the State Ministry
The State Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia has commissioned Robert Schumann School of Music and Media and Hochschule für Musik Detmold to produce a double CD to mark the 70th anniversary of North Rhine-Westphalia statehood.
Production work for the CD by the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media has already started and will be done by students majoring in Classical Music Recording. The recording will be prepared in several sessions at the Partika auditorium and sound studio. Ten different soloists and ensembles from the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media will be recorded by various sound teams. A unique challenge in producing the CD is to achieve a consistent sound with so many ensembles and performers involved. Sarah Zabel, a tutor for the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media, is in charge of production work coordination. Recordings and post-production will be coordinated by Prof. Dagmar Birwe.
The commemorative CDs will be presented at official state functions by North Rhine-Westphalia Minister-President Hannelore Kraft and also distributed on the state’s official online shop.


IMM Chronicle April 2015


IMM BASECAMP: Regine Halter on the Familiar, the Unknown and the Creative Spirit
On May 21 at 5 p.m. (IMM Studio A 2.24), Prof. Dr. Regine Halter will be giving a talk about the development of design culture, which in the global competition for influence and markets is becoming more and more disassociated from the perception of one’s own design background. Her theory: The phenomenon of global design celebrates the cultural codes of Western societies with blithe unconcern and, by doing so, pursues what in effect is an efficient homogenization of one’s own sense of culture. In this context, Regine Halter asks, among other things, where the significance of cultural differentiation can be expressed in the vast potential of one’s own creativity?
Professor Regine Halter is a tenured professor of design theory at Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst [University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland] in Basel. There she is a lecturer in the HyperWerk and Integrative Design/Masterstudio departments. She studied media science, philosophy and political science and has worked as a journalist and editor, and also as a dramaturge for Schauspiel Frankfurt. She worked for many years as a program director responsible for exhibitions and international symposia on architecture, design, and design in the information age, and was also in charge of an EU project in Sarajevo.


3D and VFX (visual effects) artist
An alumnus who graduated in Audio and Video Engineering, Stefan Jähner has been working as a 3D and visual effects artist with Stargate Studios Germany since March of this year. Stargate specializes in visual effects for TV production and has gained international recognition for work in productions such as The Walking Dead and Grey’s Anatomy.
Stefan Jähner is currently working for Stargate Studios in Malta on the TV series Misteri di Laura (Italy), El principe (Spain), and for the NBC production Apocalypse Slough with parts of the last filmed on Malta.


I solder, therefore I am?
On May 5, Waltraud Blischke, assistant professor of Speaking and Writing about Music in the Music and Text major, will give a talk entitled The Art Of Sound Hacking as part of the forthcoming Ringvorlesung [lecture series] at Institut Für Populäre Musik in Bochum. Her talk focuses on artistic strategies in the use of things for other than their original purpose, vehicles for technical presentation and innovative sound world.
The intervention in hardware hacking using soldering irons is only one method for breaking through dogma in taste, and endless reproducibility. Sampling offers the opportunity to discover musical creation along the outer reaches of sound and noise, tools and software breathe life into mute matter – is that mere imitation only? Using real-world examples, Waltraud Blischke will explore this fascinating area of technical innovation and creativity and its significance for popular music.


University learning as research
The latest issue of the Zeitschrift für Hochschulentwicklung [Journal of University Development] consists of articles on artistic research at universities, including an article on jazz and popular music by Michael Kahr of the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz. In this article, Professor Julian Rohrhuber explores the concept of research in general and the integral role it can play in learning: Lehre als Forschung: Grundlagen der Musikinformatik im künstlerischen Kontext [University Learning as Research: Foundations of Music Informatics in the Artistic Context].


Concert trailer for the Philipp Wisser Boston Trio
Philipp Wisser is completing a bachelor's degree in Audio and Video at the IMM and currently on a study year abroad at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where his studies are focused on Performance and Composition.
The trailer he produced for his Philipp Wisser Boston Trio shows parts of a concert with Kevin Baudrexl (St. Louis) on bass and Jessie Cox (Brügge, Switzerland) on drums. The compositions are highly improvisational and cover a broad sound spectrum while deliberately bridging the gap between form and chaos.


Interim professor at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne
Hans W. Koch, faculty member for Hybrid Sound Composition, was appointed visiting professor of Sound at Cologne's Academy of Media Arts. He will be taking the place of recently retired Professor Anthony Moore until a successor is appointed.
Hans W. Koch will continue on the faculty at IMM as a lecturer in Music Informatics.




From the IMM majors


Major Classical Music Recording:
Anniversary CD for the State Ministry
The State Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia has commissioned Robert Schumann School of Music and Media and Hochschule für Musik Detmold to produce a double CD to mark the 70th anniversary of North Rhine-Westphalia statehood.
Production work for the CD by the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media has already started and will be done by students majoring in Classical Music Recording. The recording will be prepared in several sessions at the Partika auditorium and sound studio. Ten different soloists and ensembles from the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media will be recorded by various sound teams. A unique challenge in producing the CD is to achieve a consistent sound with so many ensembles and performers involved. Sarah Zabel, a tutor for the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media, is in charge of production work coordination. Recordings and post-production will be coordinated by Prof. Dagmar Birwe.
The commemorative CDs will be presented at official state functions by North Rhine-Westphalia Minister-President Hannelore Kraft and also distributed on the state’s official online shop.


Major Media Composition:
Cabaret Crusades - The Secrets of Karbalaa at K21
The film Cabaret Crusades III - The secrets of Karbalaa by Egyptian artist Wale Shawky, to which IMM students Moritz Laux and Raffael Seyfried (sound design and music) and Matthias Krämer (dialog editing) contributed, will be shown on three successive Saturday afternoons starting April 18 at 3:00 p.m., May 3 at 11 a.m. and May 17 at 3:00 p.m. at the K21 in Düsseldorf.
Two hours in length, the film tells the story of the Crusades from an Arab perspective. The idiosyncratic aesthetic of the film, which uses elaborately hand-blown glass marionettes, also inspired the students to develop a fitting tonal language for the film. For example, all Foleys – or sound effects – were produced using glass and these glass sounds included in the sound track using techniques programmed by the students themselves.
Raffael Seyfried's work is a project for the project module of the Music and Media program.


Major Music Informatics:
Algorithmic Tearoom
Visitors are welcome to come to Music Informatics seminars at any time. The presentation of final projects from the previous semester, to be held on April 28 at 4:30 p.m. as an Algorithmic Tearoom, is a special reason for attending. The event includes a performance of Doppelpendel [Double Pendulum] by Johannes Leppkes and will feature an instrument for composing based on Euclidean algorithms, by Tim Abramovic. Gregor Keienburg and Lukas Reichert will be presenting their works on, among other things, algorithmic composition and texture mapping. During the April 28 event, the Boole Box will begin filling the Algorithmic Tearoom with music at 6:30 p.m. A spatialized collection of works from the core module, ingeniously controlled by relays and played on eight channels, was inspired by the spirit of formalization which may have sparked George Boole to write his book The Laws of Thought 160 years ago.


Major Music Production:
Production with the Billy Hill country/blues/rock band
Music and Media major Robert Schwering has produced recordings for Billy Hill, a country, blues and rock band, at two IMM studios sound control 1 and sound control 2. Over a number of weeks several songs were recorded with students from Arnheim who work with vocalist Lisa Jansen. The large SSL 4000G+ console and a lot of outboard gear gave the production its analogue flair.


Major Music and Audiovisual Media:
Filming Scenes on Location
Instruction in the two-semester, advanced-level module which has just started will be given on a total of five project days.The title of the initial one-day project is: Filming Scenes on Location. The 12 course participants split up into two teams and work on a model film script, find suitable actors and locations, draw storyboards, test film equipment and prepare the day of filming. On April 22 it will be time for: Sound… Camera… Action!
Prof. Ulla Barthold (camera and lighting), Wolfgang Schukrafft (film sound), Prof. Manfred Waffender (scriptwriting and directing), Florian Boddin (video engineering) and Volker Anding (script editing) are working with the young film makers.


Major Music and Media Management:
The stakeholder approach
Project and media work are becoming more and more synonymous. Effective project management is oriented toward the goals and specific capabilities of all people in a project and coordinates these with regard to the project owner/project sponsor (customers). This stakeholder approach in modern project management is the common denominator in the Project Management course which has just begun as part of the Music and Media Management upper-level module. Coursework includes an introduction to and exercises on general project management skills, with a strong focus on increasing awareness about interpersonal dynamics in projects. Special emphasis is given to basic aspects of team development and team motivation as well as creativity techniques.


Major Music and Text:
WORTSAMPLER: Conference and performances
Inspired by James Joyce in Finnegan’s Wake, the WORTSAMPLER performance night will be held for the first time on April 11, 2015 and features audio text and sampler poetry performances. A small conference including lectures, presentations and panel discussions will take place April 12, 2015 at the IMM.
The focus will be on the use of acoustic art and poetry, electro-acoustic methods as well as sound sampling. A key aspect is the use of appropriated pre-recorded voices in a quest for new poetic, text-based forms of expression.
About a dozen guest artists from various disciplines and several students from the upper-level course Music and Text will be presenting their work. The event is a cooperation between the IMM and BETONBOX.


Major Visual Music:
New Fighting Spirits video
In collaboration with the youth choir project Fighting Spirits of the Düsseldorf University Hospital, Musik and Media major Juliane Blum has prepared a video of the song Komm mit! which will be performed on this year’s kick-off tour. Komm mit! was written by Fighting Spirits members themselves and is the sound track for footage captured by young people on their cell phones of everyday moments, weekly rehearsals and a performance at the Münster University Hospital.
Fighting Spirits members include musicians and about 20 young people who have faced with or are now fighting life-threatening cancer: as cancer patients, as family members or as volunteer caregivers. The project was initiated over three years ago by the dedicated occupational therapist Frank Gottschalk at the Clinic of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Immunology at Düsseldorf University Hospital.