A woman makes a presentation in front of a projected image.



The Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology Seminar Series features both invited speakers as well as student project presentations. The seminars are on Mondays from 1:55 - 2:45 p.m. in the West Village Dining Commons, Room 175, on Georgia Tech's campus and are open to the public.


Fall 2021 Seminars


August 23 - Jane Foley

Abstract: For this talk, Jane  will focus on the conceptual underpinnings of finding and making sounds by deep-diving into a few of her projects to show how a project begins as a question and becomes a reality. Foley's work is very process-oriented and always comes back around to the 'whys' and the 'whats' of sound, as well as the craft of 'how' to find a sound. She is interested in the condition of an artist as a curious explorer, and fascinated by sound as a spacious medium that can hold many questions.

Bio: Jane Foley (b. 1985, New Orleans, they/she) is a sculpture, sound, and new media artist living in Atlanta, Georgia (US). Jane has created sound sculptures for the Architecture Triennale in Lisbon, Portugal and La Friche Belle de Mai in Marseille, France with Zurich-based Sound Development City, as well as produced a sound composition that played in taxicabs throughout the 5th Marrakech Biennale. In Atlanta, they have created public works for the High Museum, Dashboard Co-op, The Atlanta Contemporary, and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport, among others. Foley currently teaches graphic design at Emory University after having recently completed an MFA program, studying interdisciplinary sculpture and sound, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Foley’s sound works explore isolation versus connectivity in public spaces, beginning with deep listening through field recordings and spontaneous collaborations. They often travel to approach underdog histories of places through the lens of recorded sound, which has taken them to many distant areas including remote Iceland, Lisbon, Marseille, rural Georgia, and Linz, Austria. They then interpret these sonic artifacts into sound sculptures and video installations– physical spaces made to suit each sound. Drawing on their experience as a former college synchronized swimmer, Foley has recently been exploring swimming pools as sonic sites, using sensitive underwater microphones and video to capture the swimmer as an acoustic instrument.


August 30 - Jason Borenstein

Abstract: In the session, the speaker will discuss ethical issues related to conducting research.  A brief overview of topics in the realm of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) will be provided with the main focus being on the ethics of human subjects research and research misconduct.

Bio: Jason Borenstein, Ph.D., is the Director of Graduate Research Ethics Programs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  His appointment is divided between the School of Public Policy and the Office of Graduate Studies. He has directed the Institute's Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Program since 2006 and is part of the leadership team for the Ethics, Technology, and Human Interaction Center (ETHICx).  Dr. Borenstein is a member of Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) Board of Directors, Chair of the APPE Research Integrity Scholars and Educators (RISE) Consortium, and a member of the IEEE SSIT Technical Committee on Ethics/Human Values.  His teaching and research interests include robot & artificial intelligence ethics, engineering ethics, research ethics/RCR, and bioethics.


September 6th - Labor Day


September 13 - Alex Westner (video)

Abstract: This seminar will take you on a whirlwind journey through my career that began in music technology, expanded into audio technology, took a hard right into FinTech, and is now focused on augmented reality for hearing loss. In rapid fire, we'll cover microphone arrays—for good and for evil; getting strangers to sing, teaching technology to understand music; academia vs. industry; product management; product positioning; guitar distortion in Forza; the T-Pain Effect; user-driven design; business modeling; running lean; people vs. passion; AR for hearing loss; and full circle back to microphone arrays.

Bio: Alex Westner is an audio technologist, entrepreneur, and an expert in product strategy. He recently founded Xander, a startup with a mission to create a new bionic superpower to help people listen and understand. Throughout his 20-year career, Alex has shipped dozens of products that analyze and enhance speech and music—including iZotope RX, known in the industry as the Photoshop for sound, so integral for production it earned an Engineering Emmy award. Prior to that, he earned an MS degree from the MIT Media Lab studying the “cocktail party effect”—the human brain's ability to focus on one sound while filtering out other competing noises.


September 20 - Kris Bowers (video) 

Bio: Kris Bowers is an award-winning film score composer and pianist known for his thought-provoking playing style, creating genre-defying film compositions that pay homage to his classical and jazz roots. Bowers has composed music for film, television, documentary, and video games collaborating with musicians and artists across genres, including Jay Z, Kanye West, Kobe Bryant, Mahershala Ali, Justin Simien, and Ava DuVernay. His works include The Snowy Day (for which he won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition in 2017), Dear White People, Green Book, When They See Us, Black Monday, Madden NFL 20, Mrs. America, Bridgerton, Bad Hair , The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Respect, and King Richard. In 2020, Bowers codirected the documentary short film, A Concerto is A Conversation, with documentary filmmaker Ben Proudfoot. The film, a New York Times Op-Doc – executive produced by Ava DuVernay, premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and was an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary (Short Subject) at the 93rd Academy Awards.


September 27 - Joycelyn Wilson 

Bio: Joycelyn Wilson is an integrative curriculum designer, essayist, music journalist, and assistant professor of hip hop studies and digital media in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech. She is an expert in African-American music and performance, Black maker culture, as well as African-American education and schooling in the American South. She also focuses on the culture, race, and technology of her home city Atlanta. Her scholarship has implications across STEAM, methodologies of humanistic inquiry, archival preservation, and curriculum design; areas that been published across academic and popular platforms including Teachers College Press, UGA Press, International Journal of Africana Studies, and Routledge. Her essays on culture, arts, and technology have been published by Billboard, The Root, InStyle, and Google Arts & Culture. Dr. Wilson is a co-producer of the Emmy-nominated docufilm “Walking With Guns, produced in collaboration with UN Ambassador and former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young. Her current research leverages the connections between hip hop's techno-pedagogical affordances and relationships to design thinking in computational and creative media-making. She has contributed commentary to MSBNC, Netflix's Hip Hop Evolution, VH1's ATL Rise, and TV-One's UnSung. Beyond pop culture, Atlanta hip-hop and hip-hop’s intersection with politics and culture, Dr. Wilson examines the cultural histories of civil rights and social justice in the South, Black maker culture/design thinking, media, and technology. She is the founder of the Four Four Beat Labs and HipHop2020 Innovation Archive, and available to broadly discuss topics related to digital archiving and preservation.

Title: Understanding Hip Hop at 50 and Why it Matters

Abstract: Hip hop is trending, and it has been since at least the early 1990s. To get really nit picky about it, rap music has had a grip on popular culture since 1982 when “The Message” dropped as the first hip hop song with political commentary. Then, it peaked at number 62 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and stayed there for 7 weeks, as “Planet Rock” peaked on Billboard's Hot 100 two months later at number 48 and spent 11 weeks on the chart. Forty years later, Cardi B’s “Up” sat at #2 for weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100, and hip hop/r&B is responsible for 25% of the music consumption as rock steadies at 23%. Trap music - as a benchmark for representing the cultural lifestyle and political proclivities of a generation - has remained one of Atlanta’s most significant contributions to global hip hop. It’s safe to say the grip Hip Hop has on music and culture is now more like a stronghold - a stronghold that is amplified across industries outside of music including education, technology, politics, design thinking, and architecture. How was an artform/lifestyle/way of looking at the world/generation/culture gotten so big that, as a music genre, has surpassed rock n roll? What is it about its adaptive qualities that map so perfectly to areas like advertising and marketing such that Flo-rida’s “Low” is remixed as a Kroger greatest hit? What is hip hop, proper, and how does it work?


October 4 - Ian, Beach

October 11 - Fall Break


October 18 - Gary Kamikawa 

Bio: Gary Kamikawa has served as the cross-channel marketing tech leader for Amazon Music since December 2018. Gary leads a tech team focused on the vision of delivering personalized experiences that create genuine value for our customers (incl. potential ones) and turns listeners into engaged fans. To accomplish this, his team invests in automation and personalization of the major touchpoints Music has with a customer including email, mobile push, in-app messaging, Music’s web properties, and personalization across Amazon.com. Prior to Amazon, Gary has led marketing automation and demand gen, at other companies including 9 years at Microsoft delivering marketing tech capabilities starting with Office 365, and extended across Windows and Xbox. Gary has held a variety of marketing and engineering leadership roles across the full spectrum of startup, mid-size and enterprise companies. In Gary’s spare time, when he’s not occupied with the many aquatic adventures he has with his family, you might find him playing some tunes on his tuba from his days as a music performance major at University of Washington, or listening to Alt & Classic rock while he tries to avoid hitting another slice on the golf course.


October 25 - Ash, Lauren

November 1 - ISMIR  talks

November 8 - Alison, Mason, Amit

November 15 - Tim, John, Amber

November 12 - Amy, Virgil

November 29 - Sophia, Mohammad

December 6 - Contingency



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