A couple weeks ago, we had a musician named Pamela Z come talk to us in one of my classes. Pamela Z is a composer/performer and media artist who makes solo works combining a wide range of vocal techniques with electronic processing, samples, gesture activated MIDI controllers, and video.
She was unlike any artist I have ever seen. She uses MAX MSP and many diverse and interesting hand gestures to control her custom MIDI controllers. When we saw her in class, she explained that one of them is controlled using medical equipment that normally detects tumors! The other one uses infrared sensors to sense how far away her hand is from the device. She uses both to create very unique and captivating music.
She is also a CU College of Music graduate, and an entirely warm and pleasant person to be around. You can tell that she absolutely loves what she does. And watching her perform is fascinating. She makes these very subtle movements with her hands that drastically alter the sounds that she was creating. She would loop so many sounds together that when the same sound resurfaced again, you would be pleasantly surprised to hear it again.
Here is a compilation of some of her live performances:
It was really encouraging to see what can be done with MAX MSP and sensors. In one of my classes last semester, I used MAX MSP, a Nintendo Wii Nunchuck and an Arduino to make my own custom MIDI controller. So, it was very exciting to see what else is being done in the music world with software and tools that I am very familiar with.
Here is Pamela performing in the BlackBox theater: