- The Institute of Sonology
In 1956, a studio for electronic music was opened within the acoustics department of Philips Research Laboratories. The productions made in this studio emphasized functional music for (animated) film, ballet and exhibition areas and "popular" music for gramophone records.
Philips decided in 1960 that the Research Laboratories could no longer house a studio, which was becoming more a workplace for composers and less a means of meeting direct corporate needs. After exploration of the possibilities for continuing the studio with various organizations, it was finally transferred to Utrecht University, where it was housed in a small portion of the Atlanta building on the Plompetorengracht. Initially, there was significant influence from Philips and no clear artistic direction.
In 1964, Gottfried Michael Koenig became artistic director of what was originally called Studio for Electronic Music (STEM). Under his leadership, STEM grew to be a studio complex that occupied the entire Atlanta building and achieved fame as an institute for production, education and research.
International attention to the institute increased in 1971 with the arrival of a PDP-15 computer, which was used to develop programs for algorithmic composition and digital sound synthesis. Computer programs such as Project 1, Project 2 and SSP (by Koenig), PILE (Paul Berg), MIDIM/VOSIM (Stan Tempelaars/Werner Kaegi) and POD (Barry Truax) are landmarks in the history of computer music.
In the area of voltage-control technique in the analog studios, The Institute of Sonology continued to design and build new equipment. This tradition continues today and interfaces for live electronic music are designed and built in the electronics workshop as well.
In 1986, the Institute of Sonology was incorporated into the Royal Conservatory in the Hague. In addition to the 1-year course, a 4-year conservatory major and a 2-year masters program are offered. The educational program deals with: electronic music production, digital sound synthesis, algorithmic composition, computer programming, spatial concepts of sound, field recording, sound installations, voltage control technique, live electronic music, psychoacoustics, history of electronic music and music theory.
Today the staff of the Institute of Sonology of consists of: Richard Barrett, Justin Bennett, Paul Berg, Raviv Ganchrow, Johan van Kreij, Peter Pabon, Joel Ryan and Kees Tazelaar .
The papers selected here were written by former students of the Sonology Masters program as part of their final examination. I have selected them on the basis of their quality and originality, while at the same time intending to present an overview of some of the key elements of the Sonology curriculum: algorithmic composition, sound synthesis and spatial aspects of sound and sound reproduction. Particularly of interest to me is the fact that all these writers' research has great influence on their practical work as artists. It drives them into unknown territories while at the same time providing them with a framework and criteria to give their explorations a clear direction instead of amounting to a mere "wandering around."
I hope that the readers of LMJ will enjoy these papers as much as I have. [End Page 69]
The Hague, Netherlands
Kees Tazelaar (born 27 July 1962) studied at the Institute of Sonology and at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, graduating in 1993. Since then Tazelaar has taught at the Institute of Sonology, becoming head of the institute in June 2006. His work is dedicated to electronic music for fixed media in various multichannel playback formats and wave field synthesis. In addition to his own works, he has contributed to music-theater projects by Dick Raaijmakers and Theatergroep Hollandia. He has also produced reconstructed versions of compositions by Gottfried Michael Koenig, Jan Boerman, Edgard Varèse, Iannis Xenakis, György Ligeti and Luctor Ponse. During the winter semester of 2005—2006, Tazelaar filled the Edgard Varèse guest professorship at the Technical University of Berlin. See also <www.keestazelaar.com>.
1. For more information see <www.sonology.org> and <www.koncon.nl>. [End Page 70]