about

Dr. Richard Boulanger was born in 1956 and holds a Ph.D. in Computer Music from the University of California, San Diego where he worked at the Center for Music Experiment’s Computer Audio Research Lab. He continued his computer music research at Bell Labs, CCRMA, the MIT Media Lab, Interval Research, and IBM while working closely with Max Mathews and Barry Vercoe. Dr. Boulanger has premiered his original interactive works at the Kennedy Center and appeared on stage performing his Radio Baton and PowerGlove Concerto with the Krakow and Moscow Symphonies.

For the past 25 years, Dr. Boulanger has been teaching computer music composition, sound design, alternate controllers, and programming at the Berklee College of Music. There, he is a Professor of Electronic Production and Design and has been awarded both the Faculty of the Year Award and the President’s Award. Throughout his career he has been a driving force behind the spread of Csound, most recently working to bring the programming language to the OLPC project. His published work includes two seminal electronic production texts from MIT Press:

The Csound Book and The Audio Programming Book

“For me, music is a medium through which the inner spiritual essence of all things is revealed and shared. Compositionally, I am interested in extending the voice of the traditional performer through technological means to produce a music which connects with the past, lives in the present, and speaks to the future. Educationally, I am interested in helping students see technology as the most powerful instrument for the exploration, discovery, and realization of their essential musical nature – their inner voice.”

Max Mathews was born in Columbus, Nebraska, on November 13, 1926. He studied electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving a Sc.D. in 1954. He worked in acoustic research at AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1955 to 1987 where he directed the Behavioral and Acoustic Research Center. This laboratory carried out research in speech communication, visual communication, human memory and learning, programmed instruction, analysis of subjective opinions, physical acoustics, and industrial robotics.

From 1974 to 1980 he was the Scientific Advisor to the Institute de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris, France. In 1987 Mathews joined the Stanford University Music Department in the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) as Professor of Music (Research) where he developed a new pickup for electronic violins, a real-time computer system for music performance (the Conductor and Improv Programs), as well as his most famous controller, the Radio Baton. He was also responsible for the first example of musical speech synthesis with his composition, “Bicycle Built for Two,” later made famous by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as the swan song of the dying computer, HAL 9000. In 1957, during his time at Bell Labs, Mathews demonstrated music synthesis on a digital computer with his Music I program. Music I was followed by Music II through Music V and GROOVE, all of which were used for composing and performing music with computers. For this pioneering work he has been called the “Father of Computer Music.”

Csound is a free, open-source programming language used for sound design, music synthesis, and signal processing. Csound was written in the mid-80s by Dr. Barry Vercoe at the MIT Media Labs and is a direct descendent of the MUSIC V language written at Bell Labs by the ‘Father of Computer Music’ – Dr. Max Mathews.

Over the years, Csound has continued to be developed and expanded with hundreds of new opcodes (signal processing modules), features, and capabilities. It has significantly grown with the code, instruments, music, articles, tutorials, and documentation contributed by a number of brilliant programmers, sound designers, composers, and computer musicians from around the world.

It is our hope at Boulanger Labs, that by using Csound as the audio engine for our applications, the language will continue to grow and evolve for many more generations.