Steven Kemper

Music Technology, Composition

Steven Kemper creates music for acoustic instruments, instruments and computers, musical robots, dance, video, and networked systems. He received a doctorate degree in composition and computer technologies from the University of Virginia (UVA), where he studied with Judith Shatin, Matthew Burtner, and Ted Coffey. Kemper holds a master of music degree in composition from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and a bachelor of the arts degree in music from Bowdoin College.

His interest in music technology centers on the development of technologies that enhance the connectivity between electronic music and the physical world. Research areas include human-computer interaction, instrument design, musical robotics, and networked music. Kemper is a co-founder of Expressive Machines Musical Instruments, a collective dedicated to creating and composing music for robotic instruments. He also worked as a founding member of UVA’s Interactive Media Research Group, where he co-developed NOMADS (Network-Operational Mobile Applied Digital System), a multi-platform tool for artistic creation and teaching in large-scale classroom and performance contexts. Other projects include the development of the RAKS (Remote electroAcoustic Kinesthetic Sensing) System, a wireless sensor interface designed specifically for belly dancers with composer and dancer Aurie Hsu, and Movable Party, a bicycle-powered interactive DJing system. Additional research interests include the relationship between music and myth, demonstrated in his dissertation: From Sacred Narrative to Evocations of Ancientness: Mythical Meaning in Contemporary Music.

Kemper’s compositions have been performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, NOW ensemble, and the Grupo Sax-Ensemble. The have also been presented at SMC, ICMC, SEAMUS, SIGCHI, 12 Nights, Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival, Third Practice Festival, Pixilerations, American Composers Alliance Festival of American Music, and the Seoul International Computer Music Festival. In 2010, Kemper won the International Computer Music Association 2010 Student Award for best submission for Shadows no. 5, part of a collaborative series of pieces for tribal fusion belly dance, electroacoustic music, and RAKS System.

As a guitarist, Kemper has played with the UVA and BGSU New Music Ensembles; the UVA Guitar Quartet; and Dzian!, an East Asian, Nakasi-style surf-rock band.

Meet Steven Kemper.