Creative Music Technology and Composition Toolkit for the K-12 Classroom and Beyond

Creative Music Technology and Composition Toolkit for the K-12 Classroom and Beyond

This pandemic has shown us the best and the worst of what technology can offer; it has also exposed the widening socio-economic divide and the gap between rich, large institutions, and smaller ones. As a result, not all students had the same experience and opportunities last year depending on their school districts. Music technology in most K-12 classrooms is indeed compromised, and financial concerns for software and licenses is one of the main causes.

The goal of this graduate workshop is to help reduce this divide in music technology with accessibility and inclusivity at its very core: all materials used will be resources that can be downloaded online free of charge and free of advertising; this is particularly important since all resources can be used by any K-12 school (or indeed by any organization), without any budgetary concerns. This includes all software (Compose with Sounds and UPISketch that were both created with an educational vision in mind, and Audacity, a free and open-source digital audio editor and recording application); classroom lesson plans and class materials (from the instructor, EARS2, and the Interfaces MOOC), and, finally, all samples (BBC Sound effects and British Library). 

This intensive weeklong workshop is designed to give participants across various music specializations, but especially K-12 educators, an essential “toolkit” that incorporates music technology and rudimentary DIY electronic instrumental design. Participants will gain a concrete foundation in electronic music and music technology applying several of the taught techniques, using fundamental contemporary composition strategies as the man medium. They will analyze and discuss key works from the electronic music literature, learn key compositional techniques, ranging from minimalism, stochastic music, aleatoric music, ambient music, and electronic music and become familiar with basic concepts of acoustic ecology, DIY electronic instrument design, soundscapes, and copyright law. Special topics include the transference of birdsong and whale song to music, visual designs to gesture, sound-walks, acoustic ecology, and sound stories, as well as creative improvisation using DIY instruments made in class. By gaining hands-on experience and becoming familiar with key composition techniques, each student will create their own, fun, learning activities for children or amateurs.

Participants will need to have their own laptop or tablet and headphones for the workshop. No prior music technology or composition experience is needed.

Workshop Faculty

Dr. Evis Sammoutis

Dr. Evis Sammoutis' works have been commissioned by festivals and organizations, such as Venice Biennale, Klangspuren, Royaumont, Barlow Endowment, Ernst von Siemens Foundation, Chamber Music America, New Music USA and ARD; performed at leading festivals and contemporary music series, such as Tanglewood, MusicNOW, Gaudeamus, Music of Today and ISCM, in more than forty countries throughout Europe, America, Africa and the Far East and broadcast on several national radio stations throughout Europe, America and the Far East, such as BBC Radio 3, SWR2, Radio France and RAI3. 

Dr. Sammoutis has received numerous accolades and over thirty-five compositional awards, prizes and scholarships as well as recognition at competitions, including the Royal Philharmonic Society Award (England), the Irino Prize (Japan) and the Franz Liszt Scholarship (Germany); first prizes at the Andres Segovia (Spain), Look and Listen (USA) and Dundee (Scotland) competitions; second prizes at Concours Dutilleux (France), Jurgenson (Russia), Y.A Papaioannou (Greece) and Samobor (Croatia) competitions; special prize at the Fifth Annual Composition Contest of the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music (USA); an honourable mention at the IMRO Composers Competition (Ireland); a  DAAD Research Fellowship (Germany) and a Fulbright Scholarship for Advanced Research (USA). 

Performers include leading ensembles and specialists in new music such as the Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Neue Vocalsolisten, the Arditti, Kreutzer, Doelen, KAIROS, Zephyr and Prometeo String Quartets, Ensemble Nomad, Ensemble Aleph, EXAUDI, Het Collectief, New York Woodwind Quintet, Arirang, District5 and Chantily Quintets, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, Endymion and members of Philharmonia Orchestra; orchestras such as London Symphony Orchestra, Holland Symfonia, the Orchestra of Opera North and the Athens Symphony Orchestra; as well as soloists such as Peter Sheppard Skaerved (the composer's closest collaborator), David Alberman, Alan Thomas, Movses Pogossian, Rohan de Saram, Sarah Leonard, Julian Warburton, Adrian Spillett and John Potter, to name a few. Conductors include Christoph Poppen, Elgar Howarth, Kasper de Roo and Franck Ollu, among others.

Dr. Sammoutis is currently Associate Professor of Composition at Ithaca College, NY and he is also the Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Pharos Arts Foundation International Contemporary Music Festival, established in 2009. This annual festival is the first of its kind not only in Cyprus but also in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The festival has already presented over fifty commissioned world premieres by notable young and established composers, which were performed by some of the world’s leading ensembles. Dr. Sammoutis is also a very strong music advocate and from 2015 - 2017 he served as an elected member of the International Music Council (IMC) Executive Board, the world's largest network of organisations and institutions working in the field of music, with direct access to over 1,000 organizations in 150 countries and from 2014 - 2017 as an elected Council Member of the Association Européenne des Conservatoires/Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC), which represents over 300 member institutions for professional music in 57 countries. He also recently served as Chair of the Music Selection Committee for the 2018 Sound and Music Computing Conference (SMC), as a member of a three-person committee appointed by the Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency of Higher Education (HQAA), which undertook the external evaluation of the Music Department of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and he was the Music Coordinator for the successful Pafos (Cyprus) bid to become European Capital of Culture for 2017. Evis is frequently invited as a member of jury for competitions and as guest lecturer/speaker. 

Dr. Evis Sammoutis was born in Cyprus in 1979, where he had his first musical lessons at the age of six. By the age of sixteen, he had already obtained both the LRSM and the Performance and Teaching Diploma with distinction before moving to England in 1998 for university studies. Upon graduation from the University of Hull with a first class degree (BMus) in all disciplines and the Departmental Prize, he completed his PhD studies in Musical Composition at the University of York under the supervision of Dr Thomas Simaku in 2006. Evis has also furthered his studies at world-renowned festivals, seminars and workshops, including Darmstadt, IRCAM, Royaumont and Tanglewood as a composition fellow, and worked with leading composers such as Brian Ferneyhough, Georges Aperghis, George Benjamin, Johannes Schollhorn and Augusta Read Thomas. Following his PhD studies, Evis was awarded a Wingate Foundation Scholarship (2005–2007) to pursue his compositional research more independently, whilst teaching Composition and Orchestration at Nottingham University (2005–2007) and guitar performance at York University (2002–2007). Evis also taught composition at Hull University in 2006. He subsequently served as Assistant and then as Associate Professor in Music Composition and Theory at European University Cyprus (until 2016), having also served as scientific collaborator to the same institution prior to this appointment.

Guest Speakers