A Legacy of Musical Creativity - Nearly 40 Years

The Electronic Music Studio at the University at Albany has a storied history. Founded in 1966 by composer and now Professor Emeritus, Joel Chadabe, the growth of the Studio pioneered several of the most forward-looking ideas in music. Among these were the Moog Synthesizer, interactive composition and performance, automation, and the use of small computers. Professor Chadabe commissioned the building of a large, complex Moog system called the Coordinated Electronic Music Studio System (CEMS), completed in 1968. This system was documented in numerous journals and conference presentations throughout the world. The Studio acquired its first computer in 1975, a PDP 11/10, a collaborative effort with the University’s Computer Science Department. The many compositions and ideas developed at the Studio were the focus of lecture tours throughout State University of New York campuses.

Joel Chadabe

Throughout the 1970s and beyond, numerous major electronic and contemporary music composers and performers performed their works and lectured on campus. Among their number are such luminaries as John Cage, David Tudor, Eberhard Blum, Alvin Lucier, Lejaren Hiller, David Gibson, Salvatore Martirano, Frederick Rzewski, Kenneth Gaburo, Bülent Arel, David Behrman, Larry Austin, Pauline Oliveros, Tom Johnson, Charles Dodge, Morton Subotnick and many others. Visiting composers have included Lukas Foss, John Cage, Bernard Rands, Vivian Fine and others. The Studio was the brainchild of founding Director, Professor Emeritus Joel Chadabe, who completed numerous compositions in the Studio, penned an array of articles relating to its achievements, and collaborated with the many visiting artists who have graced the stages of our campus. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the Studio followed the development of emerging Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) technology, that allowed intercommunication between digital synthesizers. Joel Chadabe was among the pioneering software developers and composers who guided the potential that MIDI suggested for interactive performance, and the work of the Studio followed this course. Chadabe retired in 1997. In 1999, Bob Gluck joined the faculty and assumed direction of the Studio. During the ensuing five years, Gluck retooled the Studio to draw upon new digital audio technologies made possible by faster computers, and furthered the Studio's historical interest in interactive composition and performance, reintroducing live electronic performance as an active element of student work. Gluck assumed the formal title of Director in 2001 and became Assistant Professor in 2003.