The academic conference component of Synthposium ran from 9.30am to 4.30pm on Monday 14th of November, 2016. Synthesizer academics convened from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, US and Italy to examine the question of how synthesizers convey ‘meaning through sonics’.

Conference program:

10am:  Keynote Address by Robin Fox: My complicated (and often Freudian) relationship to machines and the synth manual as utopian manifesto from Transaudio to the Triadex muse.

12.20pm: questions to panelists

12.40pm: break for lunch

1.40pm: Keynote Address by Les Craythorn: MIDI in the 80s: a technical master stroke or the regimentation of the analogue creative experience?

3.40pm: questions to panelists

4.30pm: Synthposium continues downstairs in Sound Stage with Workshops









Presenter bios:

Robin Fox:

Robin Fox  is a leading Australian audio-visual artist working across live performance, exhibitions, public art projects and designs for contemporary dance.  His laser works which synchronize sound and visual electricity in hyper-amplified 3D space have been performed in over 50 cities worldwide, including his recent work Sky Light which was the 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival Keynote Project.  His groundbreaking work with Chunky Move Dance Company has contributed to the work Mortal Engine receiving a Helpmann award for best visual production and an honourable mention at the the illustrious Prix Ars Electronica 2009. His recent sound work Interior Design: Music for the Bionic Ear in association with ANAT and the Bionic Ear Institute, was shortlisted for a Future Everything award in the UK 2011 and selected by the Paris Rostrum of Composers in 2012. His interactive installation CRT;Hommage to Leon Theremin received an honourable mention in the National New Media Art Award 2012 and has been acquired by the Australian Synchrotron. Public art projects include designing and building a Giant Theremin for the City of Melbourne, a seven metre tall interactive musical sculpture; the White Beam project commissioned by Dark Mofo which shot a high powered white laser beam through the trees on Salamanca lawns; developing a hybrid sound/dance work A Small Prometheus with Stephanie Lake involving fire powered kinetic musical sculptures which had a sell-out seasonat the 2013 Melbourne International Arts Festival and sound/light design for Lee Serle’s SYNC at the Lyon Opera Ballet. A new work ‘Transducer’ for microphones, speakers and percussionists co-composed with Eugene Ughetti was recently premiered at Totally Huge New Music Festival in Perth. Robin is a director of the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) Foundation. He holds a PhD in composition from Monash University and an MA in musicology which documents the history of experimental music in Melbourne 1975-1979.

Les Craythorn:

In the late 60s Les studied Alto/Tenor Saxophone with Brian Brown and Broadcast Communications plus a year of Industrial Electronics at RMIT. In March 1975 he commenced employment as Senior Technical Officer managing the studio facilities at the University of Melbourne’s Music Conservatorium until retirement mid 2015. In ‘84/85 Les took study leave and completed his post-graduate studies as a Tonmeister at the University of Surrey. He engineered a dozen vinyl albums, approximately 30 CDs and about 2,000 live sound mix/record recordings including the University of Melbourne’s release in 1980 of ‘Electronic Music’, a collection of electronic music compositions realised on the conservatorium’s EMS Synthi-100. He recently restored this synth to original working condition and performed with it at the Melbourne Recital Centre. His current research focuses on the technical achievements of EMS and their contribution to experimental electronic music.

Nino Auricchio:

Nino Auricchio is a senior lecturer is electronic music and production and course leader for the BSc Applied Sound Engineer course at the University of West London.  He studied music composition and electronic music under Professor Simon Emmerson at City University before moving into industry.  He worked for Sony, BMG and numerous dance music labels as a composer, producer and arranger, along side a being one half of the UK funk act Funkshone.  Nino is currently undertaking a PhD in composition processes and aesthetics using modular electronic music instruments.

Paul Borg:

Paul Borg is a Senior Lecturer in Music Technology at the London College of Music. He is a double platinum award winning Producer/Composer/Engineer and academic who began his career at the famous Roundhouse Recording Studios, London. Across three decades he has enjoyed chart success with artists/clients that include: Busted, sugababes, Mory Kante, James Brown, Shola Ama, Urban Species, MC Solar, Al Greene, The Four Tops, KLF, Yazz, Rebel MC and United-Future-Organisation. 

Warren Burt:

Warren Burt was born in 1949 in the USA, and moved to Australia in 1975, to help set up the Music Department at La Trobe University. He’s been involved in electronic music/music technology since the 1960s, and has composed and performed on just about every major electronic music and computer music system since then, as well as building his own hardware and software. He was one of the early members of the Serge Modular Music Systems team, and for the past 18 years has been associated with Algorithmic Arts in the developing of composing software such as ArtWonk, MusicWonk, SoftStep and BankStep. His music has been performed in Australia, the USA, Europe, Japan and Malaysia, and he is currently a Lecturer in Music at Box Hill Institute, where he is also the co-ordinator of the Master of Music (Contemporary Practice) degree program. He is also a writer for, reviewing new software and music books on a bi-monthly basis.

Tim Dalton:

Tim Dalton has several decades of experience in the international music industry as an audio engineer, tour manager, record producer, artists’ manager, music entrepreneur, A&R consultant and record company executive.  Over the years Tim has worked with artists as diverse as Faith No More, Keith Emerson, Beastie Boys, Primus, Run DMC, Public Enemy, Transvision Vamp, Simple Minds, Elvis Costello, Kirsty McColl and Atomic Kitten. Tim has lived and worked in a number of global music cities including Hull, Nashville, Liverpool and now happily resides in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to his current role lecturing in audio production at SAE Institute in Melbourne, Tim was the Program Leader in Entertainment Management at the Australian College of the Arts (CollArts) and Senior Lecturer at John Moores University in Liverpool, UK.

Ian Dixon:

Ian completed his PhD Doctorate on the films of John Cassavetes at The University of Melbourne, Victorian College of the Arts in 2011 where he also studied a Post Graduate Filmmaking Degree. Ian has delivered academic papers (including a plenary speech for CEA in USA) and published internationally, currently lecturing in filmmaking, semiotics and screenwriting at SAE Institute, Melbourne. Ian’s films have been distributed and won awards internationally. He has directed television for Neighbours, Blue Heelers and SBS TV (his episode, Wee Jimmy, won a best director award at the San Francisco International Film Festival). Ian Dixon’s debut feature film Crushed screened at Cinema Nova in 2009. Ian has also been funded to write feature films for Screen Australia and Film Victoria. He spent over twenty-five years as an actor with roles on stage such as the lead in Grease (taking over from Guy Pearce) and on television where his work can be seen in Underbelly:Squizzy, Rush, City Homicide, Guinevere Jones, Martial Law, Blue Heelers, Stingers, Heartbreak High and Shadows of the Heart.

Michail Exarchos:

Michail Exarchos (Stereo Mike) is an award-winning artist and educator specialising in music production. He is the winner of MTV’s Best Greek Act award, and a nominee for six VMAs and MTV Europe’s Favourite Act. He works as the Deputy Programme Director for Commercial Music at University of Westminster.

James Gardner:

James Gardner is a freelance composer, broadcaster, performer and lecturer based in Auckland. He spent much of the 1980s in London as a synthesiser player/programmer and in 1990 he co-founded the group/remix team Apollo 440, leaving in 1993 order to concentrate on notated music. Following encouragement from Michael Finnissy, James left Apollo 440 in 1993 in order to concentrate on composition. In 1996, after moving to New Zealand, he established the ensemble 175 East, which he directed until 2010. James was the inaugural Creative New Zealand/Victoria University composer-in-residence from 2004-2005 and was holder of the Trans-Tasman Composer Exchange residency in 2005/2006, during which he worked with the new music ensemble ELISION.  His 6-part series on the history of electronic music, ‘These Hopeful Machines’ was broadcast on Radio NZ Concert in 2013. James has lectured on composition, 20th and 21st century music history and music technology at the University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury, where he is an Adjunct Senior Fellow. He is currently working on a comprehensive history and study of Peter Zinovieff’s EMS studio and EMS synthesisers.

David Haberfeld:

David Haberfeld is a lecturer in Interactive Composition with over two decades of experience as an electronic dance music artist, producer, composer, performer, DJ, academic and educator. He is a multidisciplinary artist with a deep understanding of pop, funk, disco, punk rock through to contemporary and experimental electronic genres, including expertise and collaborations across media arts. He is best known for his productions and live performances under the artist moniker Honeysmack. In 1999 he was an ARIA finalist nominee for Best Dance Music Release for “Walk On Acid”. As an electronic dance music artist he has published music internationally on various record labels since the early 1990s with his work exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2002 as part of Variable Resistance: Ten Hours of Sound from Australia.  David is a confirmed PhD candidate in Music Composition and is currently completing his research titled Composing Real-Time Machine Music: An exploration of electronic dance music real-time composition and how it contributes to a larger musical discourse.  

Martin Koszolko:

Martin K. Koszolko is a Polish-born, Melbourne based sound producer and academic known for his creative work under the KOshowKO and Philosophy Of Sound monikers. Martin has extensive experience as a composer, music and video producer and performing musician and has been teaching sound production and other music industry-related disciplines at RMIT University and Melbourne Polytechnic. He has produced and contributed to releases on a number of labels, including Discotexas, Emerald & Doreen and Clan Analogue. His music performances utilise interactive technology and have been seen by international audiences. Martin’s academic research explores various aspects of computer sound production, including mobile music making and interactivity in electronic music performance and his practice-led PhD project investigates the impact of remote music collaboration software on music production.

David Prescott-Steed:

David Prescott-Steed is a writer, field recordist, walker and urban explorer living in Melbourne, Australia, and is a Teaching Fellow (art history and visual culture studies) at the Academy of Design. Born in 1975 in Devon, UK, he grew up in Western Australia where he studied Visual Arts at Edith Cowan University and was awarded a PhD in 2007. Since moving to Melbourne in 2008, David’s creative practice has shifted focus to improvised, experimental music and field recording. A regular contributor to the Kinokophonography project, David has participated in sound art and new music festivals in Northern Ireland, Finland, Poland, England, The Netherlands and Australia. His audio work has been released in Australia, Portugal, Germany, England, USA, Ukraine, Spain, and Sweden, and was included in the Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. David’s academic writing has been published internationally.

Nick Wilson

Nick Wilson has been working in the field of electronic music and sound art for the last 25 years. He is the Label Manager for Australian electronic arts collective Clan Analogue, producing several acclaimed compilation albums, including the newly released Analogue Redux and managing the Gear Shift series of electronic music jam sessions. As well as playing in several  electronic music ensembles, his sound art work has been regularly presented in the Next Wave and Melbourne Fringe festivals. He has also worked as a community artist for the Yarraville Community Centre and Mornington Peninsula Regional Council. Nick has composed music for local contemporary music ensembles and been a Nillumbik Council artist-in-residence. Currently he lectures in electronic music production at SAE Institute, Melbourne.