Margaret Schedel

Margaret Schedel
Margaret Schedel
(Photo: Karjaka Studio)

Margaret Anne Schedel is a composer and cellist specializing in the creation and performance of ferociously interactive media whose works have been performed throughout the United States and abroad. As an Associate Professor of Music at Stony Brook University she ran SUNY’s first Coursera Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), an introduction to computational arts. Schedel holds a certificate in Deep Listening and is a joint author of Cambridge Press’s Electronic Music. Her research focuses on gesture in music, the sustainability of technology in art, and sonification/gamification of data. In her spare time she curates exhibitions focusing on the intersection of art, science, new media, and sound and runs, a site celebrating art with computational underpinnings.

Why do you make music?

Because I have to. Seriously it's the thing that makes me feel the most alive / connected to the universe / humanity.

What music do you make?

I call it "ferociously interactive" - music that uses the computer to expand what is possible for a human performer

How do you make music?

With anything that is around - including computers and circuits

Is any of your sound-based work not ‘music’ as such and, if not, what is it?

I used to call even my proscenium based work "sound art" but am trying to reclaim the word music for works involving computers. I still create pieces for galleries.

How do you describe yourself (e.g. are you a performer, a composer, a technologist, an engi­neer, and why?

Yes (some combination of these or, indeed, something else). Add curator and producer to the list and it starts to come close to what I do in a given year. I like using my skills to let other people have the best experience of works involving technology or works redefining music and art.

What is the cultural context for your work - how are you influenced by music from other cultures or the other arts?

I follow video games, the visual arts, VR, technologies and scientific fields. They all end up in my music

What skills and attributes do you consider to be essential for you as a musician?

Determination, and organization

How do you use data sonification and/or music information retrieval in your work?

So far sonification has been research and not as much for creative expression. Again with MIR using it for research and not for composition but I am intrigued about the possibilities - particularly CataRT which is a compositional tool utilizing MIR

To what extent does visual representation of audio influence the way you create music?

I have motion/sound synesthesia so it isn't so much "visual" as motion. It's individual to me, but I create pieces that make sense / intrigue my brain.

Do you have any other useful or relevant things to say about being a musician in the digital age?

stay open and learn concepts not tools