I've just returned from Peekskill, NY and the Peekskil Extension Center
of WCC. It was a great time. If you were there, or are just curious,
I've posted some talk notes with links to more info on Ableton Live,
MetaSynth, and more.

UPDATED: Rumors of the death of MetaSynth were highly exaagerated; MetaSynth 4 could be under your Christmas tree.

The software star of the talk was Ableton Live, for its unique
ability to mix, mangle, loop, remix, and modify sound on-the-fly. Live
is distributed by Digidesign subsidiary M-Audio, so you can get a
limited version with a number of M-Audio and Digi hardware interfaces.
There's nothing like the full thing, though; it retails around
$300-400. Download a demo from the Ableton website and give it a spin.

Still missing in action, sadly, is U&I Software's MetaSynth, an unusual program for synthesizing sound using a graphic
interface: pixels generate pitch. I used it in my work for a
lesser-known feature: open the Effects window and there are fantastic
granular resynthesis features for stretching and chopping up sound.
Other programs do the same, but not implemented in quite the same way.
There's no OS X version and we're still waiting on MetaSynth 3; the
developers have been mum after promising something years ago. As a
result, it's hard to endorse spending cash on it (and since no one
will, they have less incentive to upgrade . . . a vicious cycle).
Butyou can run it in Classic in OS X, though it runs best booting
directly in OS 9.

Inside tip: MetaSynth was employed in the first soundtrack for The Matrix.

My full-out notation software endorsement goes to Sibelius, if you need to
produce printed scores. You can read my review in the April 2004
Keyboard Magazine cover story or online in my Macworld
review from June.

I'd like to have some links to my music and work, but peterkirn.com is
under construction at the moment. Stay tuned. If you're in Manhattan
regularly, email me at the 'Contact' link on this site and I can add
you to my event mailing list so you can hear some music live. And I'm
always available for questions.

Feel free to comment here, especially if you were at Peekskill!