<541> Volume 1

Music from Stanford

Innova 635


    <541> is a concert series dedicated to performances of challenging music by students and faculty at Stanford University. Composers in the Stanford community produce pieces that reflect a broad range of aesthetic issues, including fragmentation of structure, complex layering of musical time, narrative vs. non-narrative discourses, and the relationship of image and sound. The <541> CD project aims at being an ongoing account of this multiplicity of musical concerns, with each CD being made up largely of performances recorded in <541> concerts.


         We would like to thank many people who have been involved with the realization of these concerts and of this recording, above all the administration of Stanford University for its generous financial underwriting of the project. Many individual members of the Music Department have unstintingly given of their advice and support, including Mario Champagne, Stephen Hinton, Jonathan Berger, Mark Applebaum, Christopher Burns and Christopher Jones. These concerts benefited hugely from the untiring technical and public relations support provided by Mark Dalrymple and Beth Youngdoff. Our special thanks are also due to Philip Blackburn and Innova Records for making this series possible.


Professor Brian Ferneyhough

Department of Music

Braun Music Center

Stanford University


Oded Ben-Tal: Saraband

Christopher Burns: Xerox Book

Ching-Wen Chao: Departure Tracings

Daví∂ Brynjar Franzson: Auto da Fé

Alex Hills: The Principle of Terrestrial Mediocrity

Christopher Wendell Jones: Suspended Narratives

Nurit Jugend: Bows to Brushes

Damián Keller: Metrophonie

Sven-Ingo Koch: Buchtungen

Seungyon-Seny Lee: Idiosyncrasy

Charles Nichols: Strata 3: Guqin

José Rio-Pareja: Red threads of desire

Matthew Shlomowitz: Deirdre’s Threat

Atau Tanaka: Overbow



Oded Ben-Tal: Saraband (1999)

for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion, and tape


Like the French Baroque saraband, this work presents a kind of slow dance in three.  Three repeating types of sound events form a matrix through which the music flows, creating dialogues between and within the instrumental lines.  Though inspired by the Baroque form—ornamental and highly stylized—there are no specific baroque allusions or stylistic quotations.


Oded Ben-Tal studied music and physics in Jerusalem, and then completed a doctorate in composition at Stanford University, where he worked with Jonathan Harvey, Brian Ferneyhough, and Jonathan Berger. While at Stanford he also pursued both research and composition at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He currently lives in London.


Christopher Burns: Xerox Book (2001)

for piano and percussion


Xerox Book, for piano and percussion, is a pendant to my sextet The Location of Six Geometric Figures. In several movements of the duo, extracts from the larger work are molded and twisted through a variety of idiosyncratic transcription techniques. In other movements of Xerox Book, newly composed materials were subjected to similar processes of compression and distortion. In most of the larger movements, there were several generations of transformation before the music reached its final state—just as a sequence of photocopying will gradually distort an image into something new and unrecognizable.


The duo’s title derives from Andre Barry Huebler Kosuth LeWitt Morris Weiner, a volume published by Seth Siegelaub in 1968, informally known as the “Xerox Book.” Each of the artists named in the title of Siegelaub’s publication contributed twenty-five Xeroxed pages to the project, all addressing the idea of repetition in some way. Xerox Book is my belated contribution to the project.


Christopher Burns composes chamber and electroacoustic music.  His works explore simultaneity and multiplicity: textures and materials are layered one on top of another, creating a dense and energetic polyphony.  Christopher's work as a computer music researcher is a crucial influence: these pieces are written with pitch and rhythmic structures which are created and transformed using custom software. Beyond algorithmic composition, his other research interests include the application and control of feedback in sound synthesis, and the study and preservation of sketch materials produced by electroacoustic composers.


Christopher is Assistant Professor of Composition and Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Previously, he served as the Technical Director of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University, after completing a doctorate in composition there in 2003.  He has studied with Brian Ferneyhough, Jonathan Harvey, Jonathan Berger, Michael Tenzer, and Jan Radzynski.


Christopher is also active as a concert producer.  He co-founded and produced the strictly Ballroom series at Stanford University, which presented 37 programs of contemporary music from 2000 to 2004.  He is currently the co-director of the San Francisco-based sfSoundSeries, which presents new chamber music, improvisation, music theater, and electroacoustic music side-by-side.  These concerts are also an outlet for Christopher's interest in the realization of classic music with live electronic or mechanical components: recent projects include the creation and performance of new versions of works by Cage, Ligeti,  Lucier, Nancarrow, and Stockhausen.


Ching-Wen Chao: Departure Tracings (2000)

for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion


Departure Tracings is the second in a series of works dedicated to the memory of my father. Each work in the series utilizes the pitches C and G# as points of departure and/or arrival (these two pitches are derived from my father’s initials). Each member of the ensemble traces a different trajectory in time from and to these focal points. Ritual forms a significant subtext of the piece, in keeping with the mysterious and spiritual nature of the composition’s subject matter.


Ching-Wen Chao, born in Taiwan in 1973, is an Assistant Professor in the music department of the National Taiwan Normal University. She was previously a lecturer at Stanford University (2002-2003) where she received her DMA in composition in 2002, studying with Chris Chafe, Brian Ferneyhough, and Jonathan Harvey. She received her B.A. in composition at the National Taiwan Normal University in 1995 where she studied with Mao-shuan Chen.


Her recent awards include the first prize of the 2003 “Fanfare” composition competition held by the National Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan for its 16th anniversary, a fellowship from the Chiang-Ching Kuo Founation Fellowship in Humanities for year 2001-02, the first prize of the Young Composers Competition of the Asian Composers League, and the first prize of the Music Taipei Composition Competition in Taipei. In recent years she has collaborated with world-renowned new-music ensembles including the Arditti String Quartet, California EAR Unit, St. Lawrence String Quartet, VOXNOVA, EARPLAY, National Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan, as well as members of Eighth Blackbird, the CalArts ensemble, and the Ju Percussion Ensemble. Her works have been performed in various music festivals and electronic music centers in US cities such Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Cincinnati, as well as in major cities of Germany, France, Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Colombia, Korea, Taiwan and China.


Daví∂ Brynjar Franzson: Auto da Fé

for percussion solo


The title of Auto da Fé refers not to the acts of the catholic inquisitions, but to an act committed by Cuban girls left by their fiancés and lovers.  The piece is a frantic, fiery dance from the initial onset of incoherence and chaos through the more subtle fluctuations of dying flames.


Daví∂ Brynjar Franzson was born in Akureyri, Iceland in 1978. He majored in music and biology at the Akureyri Junior College in 1999 and received a Diploma in composition and theory from Reykjavik College of Music in 2001 where his principal teachers were Mist Þorkellsdóttir and Atli Heimir Sveinsson. He has a Master of Arts degree and is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition at Stanford University with Brian Ferneyhough and Mark Applebaum.


Daví∂’s chamber and electronic music has been performed, recorded and broadcast in Iceland, Norway, Finland, the US, Greenland, and the Faeroe Islands by groups such as UUSYNTA, Caput, Alea II, and the Oslo Sinfonietta.


Alex Hills: The Principle of Terrestrial Mediocrity (2001)

for piano solo


“The history of astronomy is the history of increasing humiliation. First the geocentric universe, then the heliocentric universe. then the eccentric universe—the one we’re living in. Every century we get smaller. Kant figured it all out, sitting in his armchair. What’s the phrase? The principle of terrestrial mediocrity.”


—Martin Amis, The Information


This piece takes as its program or narrative the Copernican realization that the Earth revolves around the Sun rather than vice versa. The extremely inflexible rhythmic, harmonic and gestural components of the piece attempt to model the solar system, at first with the Earth—the note D—in the center. As happened with Ptolemaic cosmology. the amount of complication involved in trying to sustain this basically false assumption causes the model to collapse and reveal the true one, centered around A-flat, which represents the Sun. The components of this system have been present from the start, just as they were in pre-Copernican astronomy, but it is only by marginalizing the Earth that a workable paradigm falls into place.


Alex Hills was born in Cambridge, England, in 1974, and began playing the piano and composing at the age of 6. Following undergraduate studies at the University of Exeter, he was awarded an entrance scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he completed both a Master’s Degree and the postgraduate diploma, studying with Michael Finnissy. In 1998, he moved to California to pursue doctoral studies with Brian Ferneyhough, first at UC San Diego and now at Stanford. He has also taken part in courses and masterclasses with, amongst others, Franco Donatoni and Harrison Birtwistle. His music has been widely played in England, at events including the Cheltenham Festival and the South Bank Center’s State of the Nation day, as well as in the Netherlands (at the 1999 Gaudeamus week), France, Australia, and the USA. He is also a very active pianist, giving many first performances as well as playing a wide range of twentieth century music and more conventional repertoire.


Christopher Wendell Jones: Suspended Narratives (2001)

for percussion, guitar, violin, viola, and cello


This music is concerned with two narrative strands: one that unfolds along an evolutionary path, and a second that unfolds as a series of fragments. Both strands are concerned with the search for a common point of origin; the search eventually dissolves, yielding to an unexpected “other.” The title of the piece refers to Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveller.... in which several first chapters of imaginary novels are suspended within a continuous narrative.


Christopher Jones, composer, pianist and co-producer of the San Francisco-based sfSoundSeries, is dedicated to the creation and performance of unusual contemporary music. He has given many premieres, and enjoys working closely with composers in the realization of challenging new pieces.  His compositions have been performed in numerous places in North America and Europe, including performances of his quintet, Suspended Narratives, at the 2002 Darmstadt Ferienkurse in Germany, and the 2001 Ictus International Composition Seminar in Brussels.


Currently, Christopher is a lecturer in composition and music theory and the Contemporary Music Production Manager at Stanford University, where he completed his doctorate in composition in 2004. He has studied composition with Brian Ferneyhough, Jonathan Harvey, and Allan Gordon Bell, and piano with Evelyne Brancart and Patricia Zander.


Nurit Jugend: Bows to Brushes (2001)

for fourteen strings and voice


This piece is an attempt to capture the essence of a visual scene—the autumn. Of particular interest are elements such as the wind, the chill in the air, the structure of the trees, and the colors of the leaves. I have chosen to represent an impression of autumn in a pointillist style—the mottled color of the leaves translating easily into strokes of a brush.


In the visual arts, the pointillist technique constructs a coherent image from a collection of pure dots of color. Each of the dots is devoid of an internal structure or substantial meaning by itself. It is only through the juxtaposition of these elements that local collections of points acquire a more subtle hue, a complex structure, and a meaningful image.


The form of the piece explores a musical analogy to this technique. I wish to capture not only the final product—the painting—but the process of rendering it in a pointillist style. In other words, I attempt to reveal, in time, the evolution of this visual self-assembly as directed by the artist, and so observe points becoming lines; lines becoming forms; forms becoming images.


In the dramatization of the visual creative process I have cast the players in particular roles. The vocalist is treated equally with the strings and represents the artist himself. The artist executes her intentions using tools, the brushes, represented by the celli. The melodic lines played by the celli represent the process of the dots becoming lines and foreshadow the complete image. The remaining string sections represent the evolution of dots into form, eventually revealing the painting.


The duality of the subject (autumn) and the technique (pointillism) as described in the piece generates ambiguity in its interpretation. One listener might hear the brush on the canvas, while another might hear the leaves on the trees. Neither interpretation dominates, but rather shifts for each listener individually.


Nurit Jugend began her musical education at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy, where she studied with Dr. Ari Ben-Shabetai, earning a BA in Music Theory and Composition. She then worked at the Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin with Walter Zimmermann, and Frederic Rzewski, and is currently completing a DMA at Stanford University with Jonathan Berger, Jonathan Harvey, and Brian Ferneyhough.


To date, Jugend has authored over a dozen published works, which have been performed in France, Israel, USA, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany, Yugoslavia, Iceland, and Austria. These performances include participation in the Luxembourg ISCM World Music Festival 2000, the Belgrade Festival for Contemporary Music, the Tel-Aviv 2000 Biennale festival for Contemporary music, and many radio broadcasts. Her works have been played by the Amber Trio, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Sirius Group, the Stanford String Chamber Group, the 21st Century Contemporary Players of Israel, the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Maestro Zubin Mehta, the e-mex trio from Germany, the Calarts Contemporary Ensemble as well as a collaborative work—Spiraling Ahead—with Dancer and Choreographer Amy Helmstetter at the Summerfest/Dance 2003 Festival in San Francisco.


These works have earned Jugend several awards, including a special mention by the jury at the Arturo Toscanini Foundation Competition for the symphony Parody, first prize for composition at the Klön Competition for Composers, first prize at the Liebersohn Composition Competition for Orchestral Works for the piece The Voice Of Silence, the Acum prize for the piece Bows To Brushes, and the 2003-04 Giles Whiting Dissertation Fellowship at Stanford University for her work Self-portrait.


Damián Keller: Metrophonie (2000)

for four-channel tape


Sources: San Francisco BART sounds.

Format: four-channel tape.

Synthesis and transformation techniques: ecological models, real-time granulation, resonant filtering.

Formal structure: short “stories,” the characters are the people of San Francisco streets.


Metrophonie, as its title suggests, is loosely inspired by Stockhausen’s Mikrophonie I. The similarities are: the title, the four-channel format, the transformation of recorded sounds, and the subdivision into sections. In other words, all that doesn’t matter.


Metrophonie takes place in San Francisco’s metro (aka BART). The piece is made up of several short stories: a woman pays a fare, a drunkard sings, a big man hugs his buddy, and a “mama works at Brian’s tonight.” As in San Francisco’s street life, money plays an important role in this piece. More pervasive than money, however, is the lack of money. In this sense, it is an autobiographical piece.


Some streets in San Francisco are not clean. The people in these streets are also not very clean. The sounds emitted by these people are rich. Whether they are clean or dirty does not matter because they are rich. But cleanliness and wealth have no place in Metrophonie. What really matters is whether there is a blackout or not.


Damián Keller writes: Over the last few years I have been working on an ecological approach to composition that led to a few compact discs and publications. They are available at www.earsay.com, Leonardo Music Journal and Organised Sound.


The new millennium finds me struggling with a broader and more challenging conception of composition: work that brings social and geographical context to life. Source materials are transformed in space and sound to follow perceptual constraints, providing the listener with a specific referential environment. The meaning of the piece is defined by the listener’s everyday experience of sound, by the interaction of spatial and temporal elements, and by the contextual references in the work.


Sven-Ingo Koch: Buchtungen (2000)

for chamber orchestra


In my piece Buchtungen, the music is subjected to frequent, sometimes harsh cuts, and to continuous variation. Through the juxtaposition and linking of incompatible states and materials, I seek to create and transcend musical spaces, with the goal of presenting disparate materials in a common light. Elements initially alien to one other gradually become more familiar.


Sven-Ingo Koch was born near Köln, Germany, in 1974.  He has studied in Essen (Germany), San Diego, and Stanford; his most influential teachers were Nicolaus A. Huber, Roger Reynolds, and Brian Ferneyhough.  After a four years in California, he has returned to Germany, where he works as a freelance composer.  He still loves the beaches of California (and, sometimes, the Beastie Boys).


Sven-Ingo Koch has received among other awards the Folkwang Prize 1999, the Bach Prize Hannover 2000, the Cynet Art honorary mention 2001, the German Industry Federation’s Young Composers Prize 2001, and most importantly the Stuttgart Award 2003.   He also obtained scholarships from the German Government (DAAD) (1999-2000), Stanford University (2000-2003), the Academy of Arts Berlin (in 2000 and 2002), GRAME, Lyon 2003, and the Heinrich-Strobel-Stiftung 2004.


Koch’s music has been performed widely at numerous festivals and venues, and is frequently broadcast by German radio stations.  In September 2003, his music was broadcast in an all-Sven-Ingo-Koch-feature on Deutschland Radio Berlin. He has collaborated with the Ensemble Modern, the Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, musikFabrik NRW, the Schlagquartett Köln, Thürmchen, e-mex, Trio Surplus and the Neue Vocalsolisten. His music has been relearsed on compact disk on the cybele, ars, and edition zeitklang labels. More information at: www.sven-ingo-koch.de.


Seungyon-Seny Lee: Idiosyncrasy (2001)

for mezzo-soprano, tape, and video


How much blue can be made from dark-grass-green with yellow, and how much can that blue be made yellowish-green using the same yellow?  What makes it possible to think certain ways, and not to think other ways?


This piece attempts to portray the mirror images of Self and Other, expressing these psychoanalytic concepts through three fundamental emotions of human being: anger, lament, and joy.  The composition draws on three poems in different languages, each expressing the essential meanings of their words, and liberating their phonetic sounds from the lexical hindrances of time and place.


Many thanks to Cyrille Brissot, who collaborated on the video images, to Takayuki Nakano for providing his poem, and also to Armelle Orieux who contributed her voice throughout the piece.


*Japanese text in Anger: “Noroi ga koishii” (Spellbound), Takayuki Nakano

*Korean text in Lament: “Na-n∂n N∂ Da” (I am you) 130-1, Ji Woo Hwang

*French text in Joie: “Ouē-dire” from MatiŹre ą rire, Raymond Devos


Seungyon-Seny Lee was born in Seoul, Korea.  She has studied composition with Sungho Hwang and KangYul Ih at Chugye University of Arts, with Richard Cornell at Boston University, where she completed a M.M. degree, and with Jonathan Harvey, Brian Ferneyhough, and Chris Chafe at Stanford University, where she received a DMA.


Seny composes instrumental and electro-acoustic music, and has produced music for animation, film, dance, video and installation projects. Recent works include a piece for voice with interactive electronics, and collaborative pieces for sound spatialization and video installation.


An active composer, many of her works have been performed in major festivals, including the Internationale Musikinstitut Darmstadt, the Agora Festival in Paris, the Seoul International Computer Music Festival, the International Computer Music Conference in Sweden, Primavera en la Havana in Cuba, the Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival, XIII CIM l’Aquila, Acanthes Festival, WestWave Dance Festival in S.F, and Art Action-Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin.  She has received grants and awards from the Korean Culture & Arts Foundation, the Asia/Pacific Scholars Program, and an honorary mention in the Luigi Russolo International Computer Music Competition.


She was a one of selected 10 composers for one-year course in composition and computer music at IRCAM in 2000-2001, and was a resident artist at the Cite Internationale des Arts program in Paris, the Art OMI International Music Residency Program in NY, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, CA., and CAMAC International resident program for multidisciplinary artists in France. Currently, Seny is a researcher in Virtual Reality and Human-Computer Interaction Group at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.


Charles Nichols: Strata 3: Guqin (2003)

for electric violin, interactive computer processing, and quadraphonic spatialization


Guqin, the first of four movements of Strata 3, was inspired by a recording of the ancient Chinese zither of the same name, and by a description of its traditional performance practice. Of particular interest is the tradition of highly stylized and meticulously notated music for this silk-stringed instrument, which contains passages of music performed with strictly specified physical gestures that may not sound. The first section of this movement is an exploration of this idea, translated to an electric violin played without bow, and with both hands on the fingerboard. The idea is then carried through the rest of the movement with glissando, vibrato, and tremolo effects played with the bow.


Guqin is also a study in real-time convolution. The interactive computer programming processes the signal from the electric violin, convolving it with soundfiles of increasingly noisy glissandi, some played with vibrato and tremolo. The programming additionally processes the signal with reverb, normalization, and quadraphonic spatialization.


Charles Nichols earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music degree in Composition from the Yale University School of Music, and a Ph.D. degree in Computer Music Theory and Acoustics from the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University.


While at Yale, Nichols served as a Research Associate at the Center for Studies in Music Technology (CSMT) and as a Research Assistant to Bruno Repp at Haskins Laboratories. While at Stanford, he served as the Interim Technical Director, and later as the Associate Technical Director, of CCRMA. He has taught at Yale and Stanford, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition and Music Technology at the Department of Music at the University of Montana.


His compositions, including acoustic and electroacoustic pieces for large ensembles, chamber groups, and soloists, have been performed in the United States, Europe, and Asia. His research, including the analysis and resynthesis of sound, and musical controller hardware and software engineering, has appeared in conference proceedings, and academic and popular journals. Nichols performs interactive computer music on electric and MIDI violin, as well as contemporary music for soprano and violin with his wife, Beryl Lee Heuermann, in their duo, Painted Carp.


José Rio-Pareja: Red threads of desire (2003)

for solo piano


Red threads of desire sounds, for the composer, as notes of infinite duration, like shapes disappearing inside time or colors diluting in water. Above all, this piece realizes desire through sound—desire and attraction felt by beings that share life. Red threads of desire is dedicated to Amedeo Modigliani and his portraits, the outlines of which inspired this composition. 


Red threads of desire was premiered on February 1, 2004 by the French pianist Georges Pludermacher in Tours (France). It was awarded with the 2004  ”Concours Dutilleux” Prize. 


José Rio-Pareja was born in Barcelona in 1973. Beginning his piano studies at a very young age, José obtained a diploma in piano and the degrees of “Professor Superior” of Orchestral Conducting, Choral Conducting, and Composition in the Conservatori Superior Municipal de Música de Barcelona with professors Albert Argudo, Carles Comalada, and Xavier Boliart. At the completion of his studies at this conservatory, he was awarded Highest Honors in Composition. Currently, he is pursuing a DMA in composition at Stanford University studying with Brian Ferneyhough  .


He has received numerous awards such as the First Prize from the 15th Young Composer Competition, 1995 Frederic Mompou International Award, the XIV  International Festival of Youth Orchestras 2000 Award, the First Prize in the Composition Competition of the SGAE (General Association of Authors and Editors from Spain) 2000, the First Prize in the XXI International Composition Competition Cristobal Halffter 2001, the Merit Diploma 2002 of the Accademia Chigiana in Siena (Italy), and the 2004 Concours Henry Dutilleux Prize.


His music has been played by the Ensemble Intercontemporain and by prestigious Spanish musical groups including, among others, the Grupo Enigma, the Chamber Orchestra of the Auditorium of Zaragoza, the Plural Ensemble, 2111 Gėtic Brass, and Grupo Finale.


He has also received several grants such as the scholarships of the Courses Manuel de Falla, the IAE grant, the Accademia Chigiana, Centre Acanthes, Stanford University and la Caixa fellowship—the most prestigious grant for international graduate studies in Spain.


Selected by the National Spanish Radio, his work Zarzas (for viola and ensemble) participated in the International Rostrum of Composers organized by UNESCO 2001 in Paris.


Matthew Shlomowitz: Deirdre’s Threat (2000)

for violin and piano


The title refers to Deirdre of the Sorrows, an ancient Irish tale from the

Ulster Cycle. A moment in the tale (the issuing of a threat) provides the

programmatic departure point and emotional context for the piece.


Matthew Shlomowitz (b. 1975) was raised in Adelaide, Australia. He studied

at the Sydney Conservatorium with Bozidar Kos, privately with Michael

Finnissy, and at Stanford University where Brian Ferneyhough supervised his

doctorate. He lives in London where he composes, is an adjunct lecturer for the

Foundation of Independent Education, teaches music to local children and

co-directs Ensemble Plus-Minus. Further information at www.shlom.com.


Atau Tanaka: Overbow (1993)

for BioMuse-driven live electronics


Overbow (1993) is a concert piece for BioMuse, synthesizers, and live image processing. It was one of my early experiments combining gesture, sound, and image, which continue today with the trio Sensors_Sonics_Sights. The BioMuse captures muscle tension of the performer as MIDI signals. Arm gestures are mapped to frequency-modulation and wave-vector synthesis to produce sound, and displacement maps are transformed into graphics images. The work does not attempt to attain synesthesia through common audiovisual information, but rather uses a single source of articulation to unify aural and visual media. I sought out treatments that highlighted the organic and visceral nature of my gestural performance language. The work has been performed in festivals in the U.S. and Europe. Many thanks to Eric Wenger for alpha-versions of his software, and Kerstin Weiberg and Enno Hyttrek for source images.


Atau Tanaka entered Stanford in the Ph.D. program in Computer Music Theory and finished with a D.M.A. in Composition. In his time, computer music evolved from programming the Samson Box to real-time on the NeXT machine to live Powerbook performance. At CCRMA he met Hugh Lusted and Ben Knapp, inventors of the BioMuse, and adopted it as his main instrument. He went to IRCAM on the Prix de Paris, and stayed abroad in Tokyo and Paris. His work has been presented music festivals like Sonar, Musique Action and 38eme Rugissants, and media arts festivals DEAF, and Ars Electronica. He founded Sensorband with Zbigniew Karkowski and Edwin van der Heide, mythic for their physical performances and monumental instruments. In 1997 he moved to Japan for a project at NTT/ICC and came in contact with the noise music scene, playing with Merzbow, Otomo, KK Null and others. Back in France since 2001, he has realized large scale installations and network pieces including a commission from the German radio SWR. Atau has received awards and support from the GMD, the Fraunhofer Society, and the Daniel Langlois Foundation. He is currently based in Paris and conducts research at Sony Computer Science Laboratories on future music systems. He has released recordings on the labels Bip-hop, Caipirinha, Touch/Ash, Sonoris, Sirr-ecords.