Yum. SuperCollider. Photo: CERN, via Flickr: Image Editor

Free and open source software is nothing on its own. Like any technology, it’s the users and the community around it that make it meaningful. Musical practice grows out of culture and community; so does music technology.

I’ve heard lots of people buzzing about Expo74, the Max/MSP/Jitter conference in April, and rightfully so – it’s the first major Max event of this kind, and the format looks very cool. But free and open source lovers also have upcoming events in both North and South America.

Pdcon is the third international convention of Pd users, following Austria 2004 and Montreal 2007. It’s like the Olympics of Pd, in other words. (Insert Michael Phelps joke of your choice here.) Brazil has already staged a national event on Pd, and have generally demonstrated themselves as being ridiculously cool and tech-and-art-savvy. They’re looking for more support for international travel, so anyone who can help with that, it’d help make this truly international and democratic.

The event is July 19-26 in Sao Paolo. There’s also still time to submit works; the deadline in March 15.


SuperCollider, avec MacBook. Photo (CC) cbit.

For SuperCollider fans, there’s a combination of a workshop series in New York at Harvestworks and a big symposium at Wesleyan. Unlike Pd, SuperCollider began as commercial software. In my view, it’s the most modern and complete code-based language for sound.

Event highlights – at Harvestworks:

  • Beginners’ intro (Saturday 4/4 day, repeating 4/6 evening): Nick Collins, Dan Stowell, and Jan Trützschler will get you started.
  • Intermediate workshop and tips (4/5 day) with the same cast
  • “Just-in-time” programming – synthesis and live coding with Powerbooks Unplugged (4/7 day, 4/7 evening)
  • Full-day clinic with flexible topic (4/8 day)

Details on Harvestworks’ site (also pasted below)

Symposium at Wesleyan, 4/9-12:

  • Launch of The SuperCollider Book, MIT Press
  • Keynote by original SuperCollider creator James McCartney
  • Talks, workshops, performances, installations

SuperCollider @ Wesleyan

The call for works is closed. But hey, anyone up for a little CDM party in either Middletown or New York? I think there needs to be a SuperCollider dance party.

Wesleyen also has a special place in my heart as a center of gamelan music; if we got really lucky, there could be some sort of SuperCollider Klenegan. (SuperKlenegan?)

Harvestworks workshop details:

SuperCollider workshops will be offered at Harvestworks in New York in early April, in the run up to the 2009 SuperCollider Symposium (see info about the symposium below) to be held at Wesleyan. This is a rare opportunity to learn from some of the SuperCollider developers themselves. SuperCollider is an incredible environment and programming language for music and audio. It provides an interpreted object-oriented language which functions as a network client to a state of the art, realtime sound synthesis server. SuperCollider was written by James McCartney over a period of many years, and is now an actively maintained and developed open source project. It is used by musicians, scientists, and artists working with sound and audiovisuals.

All workshops require attendees to bring their own laptops; tutors will assist with installation on OS X (10.4 or later recommended) and Windows as necessary (SC also runs on Linux but it’s assumed you’d have compiled and installed it yourself in advance of the workshop if you’re using that platform).

Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center
596 Broadway, #602
New York, NY 10012
Subways: F V D B 6 Broadway/Lafayette, R W Prince, 6 Bleecker

The workshops being offered are:

1) Saturday 4th April: Beginners day (11am-6pm). A friendly introduction to SuperCollider for absolute beginners, aimed at artists and musicians. Aside from a little familiarity with the digital arts, no prerequisites, though some prior exposure to computer music (perhaps through Max/MSP or Csound) may be helpful. (led by Nick Collins, Dan Stowell, Jan Trützschler) $100

2) Sunday 5th April: Intermediate workshop day (11am-6pm). For those with some experience, but wanting to refresh and broaden their SC skills. Topics will include sound synthesis and analysis, interaction via GUI and controllers, generative and network music, SC programming tips and tricks and SC architecture. We will also be adaptable to participants needs, can take requests for topics, and have some general question and answer sessions. (led by Nick Collins, Dan Stowell, Jan Trützschler) $100

3) Monday 6th April evening (7-10pm). Beginner’s evening session. A friendly introduction to SuperCollider for absolute beginners, aimed at artists and musicians. Aside from a little familiarity with the digital arts, no prerequisites, though some prior exposure to computer music (perhaps through Max/MSP or Csound) may be helpful. (led by Nick Collins, Dan Stowell, Jan Trützschler)

4) Tuesday 7th April daytime (11-6): Abstract pressure cookers and virtual steam machines: Just in time programming in networks.
Not tweaking machines, but writing letters: Programs that program programs, machines that recombine structures. Replacing their parts, in effect writing their user manual at runtime. Instead of giving in to pressure to become virtuosos, we listen how the machines take the pressure Рfrom spooky action at a distance to new exploring logics of distributed noise music. A collective workshop for live coding, sound synthesis, randomness in order. (led by Powerbooks Unplugged: Alberto de Campo, Echo Ho, Hannes H̦lzl, Jan-Kees van Kampen, Julian Rohrhuber, Renate Wieser) $100

5) Tuesday 7th April evening (7-10pm). Compact version of Tuesday daytime session (led by Powerbooks Unplugged) $50

6) Wednesday 8th April daytime (11-6) SuperCollider Clinic. Flexible topic sessions, following participant needs, adaptable to all intermediate levels (beginners would find Saturday or Mon night helpful before this workshop). Developers will be on hand to answer questions, to present on special topics, and to demonstrate projects and works built with SC. (led by an all star cast of developers) $100.

  • Jaime Munarriz

    Pd at Brazil!
    I'll sure send a piece.
    I just have to figure out how to atach me to get ther and play live…

  • Yeah, right? How nice would it be to get, um, flown down there? 😉

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  • I've seen the Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble twice and they are amazing… just remember to bring something soft to sit on. At least some kind of pad or foam. That performance space is all concrete benches and I was in agony after about 40 minutes. It looks like the closest performance is April 30 for the Javanese Music and Dance event.

  • Ah, the Harvestworks link is in the news section on our frontpage… not easy to spot, correct… HT