Georgia Tech will be the destination for twenty-four inventors, composers and designers from six countries February 24-25 for the third annual Margaret Guthman New Musical Instrument Competition. Hosted by the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, a live performance by the finalists is free and open to the public, and takes place in the Reinsch-Pierce Family Auditorium on Friday, February 25, at 7 p.m.
“Each year, the competition showcases extraordinary ideas that have the potential for changing the way people make and experience music,” said Gil Weinberg, director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology. “We open the final performance to the public because we encourage everyone to join the conversation and imagine the future of music technology.”
The evening culminates with the awarding of the grand prize of $5,000. In total, $10,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the best novel musical instruments and presented by Tech alumnus Richard Guthman in honor of his musician wife, Margaret.
Instruments will be judged on musicality, design and engineering by an expert panel including Tom Oberheim, inventor of the first polyphonic music synthesizer; Sergi Jorda, inventor of the reactable tabletop musical instrument; and Georgia Tech professor Jason Freeman.
The entries include Tulane graduate student Peter Leonard’s “Hula Hoop Controller,” which translates interaction with one or more hula hoops’ circular interfaces into computer-generated sounds. Also in the ring this year is German musician Jacob Sello's “HexenKessel,” a timpani drum that uses advanced projection and multi-touch technology, and French group Interlude Consortium’s “MO Kitchen,” a software that enables music-making with everyday utensils such as cookware.
The past two competitions have hosted a broad range of inventions, from the “Silent Drum,” featuring an elastic spandex head that uses shapes and shadows to compute and emit sound, to the “Double Slide Controller,” an electronic trombone-like instrument with two independent slides and two versatile hand controllers.
The Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology is an international center for creative and technological research in music. Through collaborative partnerships, startup companies, interdisciplinary research projects and experimental performances, the center produces new modes of expression for performance, composition and listening.