Institute of Sonology Utrecht

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The Institute of Sonology grew out of the Studio for Electronic Music which opened at Utrecht University, Utrecht, in 1961. The first equipment came from the Philips Physics Laboratory, where composers such as Badings, Raaijmakers, Dissevelt, De Leeuw and Varèse had worked, and was accompanied by two former Philips employees, the engineer R. Vermeulen and Dick Raaijmakers. An artistic program was outlined and technicians were engaged. Besides the studio facilities available to composers, discussions got under way on tuition and research. Opinions differed widely: Raaijmakers left for The Hague and Vermeulen retired, but not before designating Henk Badings as his successor. Under Badings' direction (1962— 64), Utrecht musicology students were provided with a course of practical training in the electronic music studio. Since Badings had also accepted a professorship at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule however, and his obligations elsewhere prevented him from fulfilling all his university commitments, and a new dual directorship, Gottfried Michael Koenig (artistic director) and Frank de Vries (administrative director), set up a training course in acoustic design. Tuition was extended to include classes in composition and analysis, production technique, exercises in sound production, electro-acoustics and mathematics. Meanwhile (1967) the studio had been given a new name, the Institute of Sonology, in view of the much wider field covered by its activities. The series of concerts of electronic music organized annually in Utrecht and Amsterdam were expanded by instrumental and vocal items, and a start was made with an audio-visual series, "Music and Image". There was a steady increase in the number of students. The student complement, like that of visiting composers, has always been international. The attraction for the numerous American and other students seems to be the combination of a broadly-based curriculum and facilities for research and artistic activities as developed by composers such as Schat, Shinohara, Koenig, Boehmer, Halffter, Kagel, Kunst, Weiland, Kelemen, Stibilj, Ponse, Kaegi, Eisma, De Marez Oyens, Giltay, Ten Holt, Vink and many more. The arrival in 1971 at the Institute of its first computer, a PDP-15, heralded a new phase of development. A number of theoretical problems required digital processing equipment, while the computer proved to be equally indispensable for sound production. More attention was devoted to sonological research, a step taken not at the expense of the music, but of the Institute as an open workshop. It is inevitable that a university institute's principal concern should be a pre-established research program and that it should provide the necessary facilities for this while at the same time allowing scope for composition and other artistic projects. The unavoidable consequence is a selection process with regard to the incoming applications for research and composition projects. Besides the research and composition activities involving the computer which are referred to in Tempelaars' article, tape compositions were produced last year by Roland Kayn, Peter Cusack, Frank Sacci, Paul Berg, Jaap Vink, Ivan Patatich, Rick Banks, Steve Holtzman and Frits Weiland who, as a film-maker, also instituted audio-visual experimentation. Others active in this field are Alain Schumacker, Klas Torstensson, Theo Coolsma, Makoto Shinohara, Peter Struycken, Reinhard Necas, Trevor Batten, Floris Teunissen van Manen and Hans Ponse. The Institute is presided over by an executive board. (F. W., 1984) [1]

  • "Tape Concerts: The Institute of Sonology, Utrecht", 1984 [2]