Computer Music Hangout

Isaac Schankler

Isaac Schankler

Thursday, November 17th

We will be meeting up at BETALEVEL, this Thurs. for our regular computer music hangout.


Isaac will be discussing his recent and future music involving: cellular automata; finding information in noise (and vice versa); human and inhuman voices. Inspired by this recent quote from George Lewis:

“[The uncanny valley] is a question of a designated object, a non-subject––whether that’s an object like a computer, or a slave, or something like that–– anything that suddenly begins to speak, and we say, ‘What are you doing talking? You’re not supposed to speak.’ And the closer they come to being a designated subject––a human being––the more revulsion some people feel. And I’d say, in terms of the presidency of the U.S., we’ve kind of been in an uncanny valley for the last eight years…Some people have not been able to get to the idea that someone who has been a designated object suddenly begins to speak––and has power over you.”


Isaac Schankler is a composer, accordionist, and electronic musician living in Los Angeles. His music has been described as “powerful” (Sequenza21), “ingenious” (The Artificialist), “masterfully composed” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), and “the antidote to sentimentality” (LA Times).

Schankler’s recent commissions include works for the Ray-Kallay Duo, Friction Quartet, gnarwhallaby, the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Lorelei Ensemble, Juventas New Music Ensemble, flutist Meerenai Shim, and bass-baritone Nicholas Isherwood. Recent honors include awards and grants from Meet the Composer, the National Opera Association, the American Composers Forum, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the American Prize. He is a past winner of the USC Sadye J. Moss Composition Prize and the ASCAP/Lotte Lehmann Foundation Art Song Competition, as well as a finalist in the ASCAP/SEAMUS Commission Competition.

As a composer for collaborative works, Schankler has worked with poets Amaranth Borsuk (The Familiar Spirit) and Jillian Burcar (Light and Power); video game designers Christine Love (Analogue: A Hate Story), Zoe Quinn and Patrick Lindsey (Depression Quest), and Mitu Khandaker (Redshirt); filmmakers Quintan Ana Wikswo (Sonderbauten) and Christopher O’Leary (Blocking the Exits); and computer scientists Elaine Chew and Alexandre François (MIMI: Multimodal Interaction for Musical Improvisation).

As a writer and critic, Schankler has written numerous articles for NewMusicBox, the multimedia publication of New Music USA, and in 2013 was a winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music journalism. His writing has also appeared in the International Journal of Arts and Technology, Computer Music Journal, and the proceedings of international conferences including MCM (Mathematics and Computation in Music), ISPS (International Symposium of Performance Science), and ICME (International Conference on Multimedia & Expo).

Schankler is the artistic director of the concert series People Inside Electronics. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from the University of Southern California, as well as Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in composition from the University of Michigan. He currently teaches composition, music technology, and music theory at the University of Southern California.

For those who are getting word of this for the first time:
We have a semi-regular get together of people interested in the broader topic of “computer music” in Los Angeles. This will take the form of an informal hangout at Betalevel in Chinatown in which we will have presentation/discussions, listening sessions, visiting artists coming into LA, etc. It is a nice way to discuss these topics on a regular basis as well as create a support group so to speak.

Please feel free to invite friends or others who are interested. We will talk, hangout, drink beer (or other libations), and basically do whatever.