[ 21. November 2010 ]

BERLIN – Sound Studies Lecture No20 mit Mari Kimura – 22.11.2010

—– Original Message —–
From: Martin Supper
Subject: Sound Studies Lecture No20 mit Mari Kimura

Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen, die nächste Lecture ist am

Montag, den 22. November 2010 – 19:00 Uhr

Universität der Künste Berlin
Masterstudiengang Sound Studies
Zentralinstitut für Weiterbildung

Lietzenburger Straße 45 – Raum 314
(U3/U9 Spichernstraße)

Mit herzlichen Grüßen
— Prof. Dr. Martin Supper


Mari Kimura mit Bruno Zamborlin vom Realtime-Musical-Interactions-Team am

Violin and Interactive Computer

Wir freuen uns sehr, dass die welweit bekannte Virtuosin eine öffentlichen
Sound Studies Lecture geben wird. Sie wird die Möglichkeiten der
computergestützen Live Electronic mittel Max for Live erklären und

The New York Times has written, „Ms. Kimura is a viruoso playing at the
edge“ and All Music Guide has described her as „A plugged-in Paganini for
the Digital Age.“ New Music Conoisseur asserted, „Mari Kimura is to the
violin what perhaps Henry Cowell and later John Cage were to the piano in
the 1920’s and 30’s–taking it into the future with extended techniques and

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Ableton AG


Mari Kimura is at the forefront of violinists who are extending the
technical and expressive capabilities of the instrument. As a performer,
composer, and researcher, she has opened up new sonic worlds for the violin.
Notably, she has mastered the production of pitches that sound up to an
octave below the violin’s lowest string without retuning. This technique,
which she calls Subharmonics, has earned Mari considerable renown in the
concert music world and beyond. She is also a pioneer in the field of
interactive computer music. At the same time, she has earned international
acclaim as a soloist and recitalist in both standard and contemporary

Born in Tokyo, Japan to two professors (father, architecture; mother, law),
Mari began violin lessons at the age of five. After earning a Bachelors‘
degree in violin performance from the Toho School, Japan’s top conservatory
where she studied with Toshiya Eto, she moved to the US to study with Roman
Totenberg at Boston University. One semester away from a Masters‘ degree,
she needed an extra credit to maintain her student visa. Out of curiosity,
she chose an electronic music course, setting her on a new artistic path –
in her words, „carrying on the old traditions of the violin while using the
tools of our age.“

Mari entered the Juilliard School’s doctoral program on a full scholarship,
studying with principal teacher Joseph Fuchs and serving as an assistant in
Juilliard’s electronic music studio. She began composition studies with
Mario Davidovsky at Columbia University, and served as a Visiting Scholar at
Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics
(CCRMA). There she was introduced to computer-based live signal processing,
and wrote „U“ (The Cormorant), her first major work for violin and tape.

In 1992, she composed ALT, an acoustic solo violin work that incorporated
her newly-developed Subharmonics technique for the first time. A series of
important recitals followed, including her Japanese debut in Tokyo’s Casals
Hall and a League of Composers/ISCM Recital Award concert at Merkin Hall.
The latter program included ALT, introducing the public to Subharmonics and
resulting in a rave review by Edward Rothstein in The New York Times. Mari’s
breakthrough drew international attention from both the musical and
scientific communities. Her work was mentioned in Physics and Physics Today,
and she was invited to demonstrate Subharmonics at the Acoustical Society of
America’s 1995 meeting. Since then, more than a dozen articles about
Subharmonics have appeared in musical and scientific journals, including
several authored by Mari.

Following her graduation from Juilliard in 1993, Mari began to gain
increasing prominence as a soloist and recitalist, performing her own music
and others‘ in more than 20 countries throughout Europe, Asia, and the
Americas. She has premiered many notable works, including John Adams’s
Violin Concerto (Japanese premiere), Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VIII (US
premiere), Tania LÈon’s Axon for violin and computer (world premiere), and
Salvatore Sciarrino’s 6 Capricci (US premiere), among others. In 2007, Mari
introduced Jean-Claude Risset’s violin concerto, Schemes, at Suntory Hall
with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. The cadenza she wrote for the concerto,
incorporating advanced Subharmonics, was subsequently published in Strings.
In November 2010, Mari is slated to appear as a soloist with the Hamburg
Symphony performing John Adams‘ Dharma at the Big Sur, under the direction
of Jonathan Stockhammer, conductor.

Her star has risen steadily as a composer: she was chosen as a
Composer-in-Residence at the Other Minds Festival in San Francisco, and was
commissioned by American Composers Forum to write her first orchestral work,
a Violin Concerto premiered at the Callejon de RuÌdo Festival in Guanajuato,
Mexico in 1999. She also won a commission from the International Computer
Music Association, resulting in her Cuban-inspired Descarga Interactiva,
premiered in G-teborg, Sweden. Further commissions followed from the AMDaT
dance compony, baritone Thomas Buckner, Harvestworks, Music from Japan, and
others. Currently, she is composing a new work commissioned by cellist Joel
Krosnick of The Juilliard Quartet, on a violin/cello duo with interactive
computer. She was awarded 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition, and
spent the summer 2010 in Paris as a Composer-in-Residence at IRCAM.

Mari’s multifaceted career is compellingly documented on her most recent
commercial recording, Polytopia (Bridge, 2007), which includes music by
Jean-Claude Risset, Conlon Nancarrow, Tania LeÛn, Milica Paranosic, Frances
White, Robert Rowe, and Mari herself. Various tracks find her accompanied by
electronic sound, interactive computer, and the GuitarBot, a
computer-controlled mechanical stringed instrument created by the League of
Electronic Music Urban Robots (LEMUR). Allmusic praised Polytopia as „a
highly satisfying debut from a superlative artist who recognizes that the
twenty-first century has turned a new page in the relationship between music
and technology; she is utilizing all of her super powers to guarantee that
her instrument — the violin — doesn’t get left behind.“ Mari’s forthcoming
CD, The World Below G and Beyond (Fall 2010 on Mutable Music), is devoted
entirely to her own compositions. As the title suggests, it focuses on works
using Subharmonics, including the premiere recording of ALT, as well as her
interactive computer works.

Mari is also active as an improvising musician; three recordings feature her
in that role. Her first CD, Acoustics, released in 1993 on the Victo label,
is a collaboration with guitarist/world music producer Henry Kaiser,
together with guitarist Jim O’Rourke (formerly of Sonic Youth) and
saxophonist John Oswald. Irrefragable Dreams, an album of improvisations
with avant-garde flutist Robert Dick, followed in 1996; Allmusic called it
„poetic highly recommended.“ Mari teamed up with improvising
multi-instrumentalist Roberto Morales Manzanares for Leyendas (1999),
described by Strings magazine as „simply stunning Kimura brings a rare level
of excitement and grandeur to improvised music.“

Was sind Sound Studies Lectures?
Die öffentlichen Sound Studies Lectures geben einen Einblick in die
künstlerischen, wissenschaftlichen, gestalterischen und konzeptuellen
Fragestellungen des postgradualen Masterstudiengangs Sound Studies.

Der Studiengang Sound Studies verfolgt die Idee eines fachübergreifenden und
damit fächerverbindenden Studiums des Klangs. Ein Studium jenseits eines
Musikstudiums, das aber dennoch die Musik nicht ausschließt, ist neu und
einzigartig. Der Begriff Sound Studies ist angelehnt an den mittlerweile
etablierten Terminus Cultural Studies.

Die Ausbildung befähigt die Studierenden, vorliegende Klangumgebungen
medialer, architektonischer, urbanistischer oder werblicher Art
wahrzunehmen, zu beschreiben, zu analysieren und zu beurteilen sowie
akustische Interventionen, Modifikationen und Transformationen einer solchen
Klangumgebung in einer akustischen Konzeption bzw. einem Sound Briefing
fundiert umzusetzen.