SAE Institute presented its 2nd annual Synthposium on Monday the 14th of November, 2016, from 9.30am until 9pm, at its Melbourne campus, 235 Normanby Rd, South Melbourne. Following last year’s successful evening event the Synthposium was expanded for 2016 into an all-day academic conference and evening session of workshops, vintage gear demos and jamming.

From 4.30pm the Synthposium hosted a series of workshops and demonstrations by leading Melbourne synth practitioners Warren Burt, Joshua Young and Ehsan Gelsi, preceded by a video demonstration from UK synth researchers Paul Borg and Nino Auricchio.

Workshop details:

4.30pm: Paul Borg and Nino Auricchio:  Modular Synthesizers and Performance Practice

Video demonstration of Paul Borg and Nino Auricchio’s research into live performance practice using modular synthesizers.

5pm: Warren Burt: Compositional Implications of Touch-Screen Technology on Performing with Synthesizers

The advent of touch-screen technology, as exemplified by the iPad and other tablets, gives new possibilities for electronic music performance. Not only can keyboards or multi-sensor controllers be used, but gestural information that can shape sound output in real time in a non-linear manner is now possible. Drawing on 48 years experience in composing and performing electronic music, and the past 5 years in using and developing tablet-based performing interfaces for music, the author will demonstrate methods of control using apps like Lemur, Thumbjam, Virtual ANS, Musix Pro, Gestrument, Sector, Samplr, Launchpad, Analog MIDI Sequencer and others.


5.45pm: Ehsan Gelsi: Making Sense of Modular Synthesis

Modular Synthesizers are a wonderful thing, with a whole universe of explorations available to the musician – but making sense of the individual modules, how to build complex relationships between them, and manage them into useful music output can be confounding. In his presentation, Ehsan will build a modular patch from beginning to end, beginning with simple tones, and guiding the way through to a complex, evolving musical product. With a detailed description of the modules in use, and the way they are patched together, the world of modular synthesizer music creation will be demystified – and attendees will walk away with a detailed understanding of the processes involved, the rules, and how to break them, so they may begin or further their own understanding of the world of modular synthesizers.

6.30pm: Joshua Young: Synthesis Through Motion

Experience the freedom and fun of expressively manipulating synthesizers through movement. This hands-on workshop will involve demonstrations and guided activities for controlling sound and creating music though motion and touch.
We suggest you bring an iPhone or iPod touch (running iOS 9.0 or higher), along with one standard iPhone charger cable (USB, lightning) and headset (earbuds or headphones). You will get some guidance on using the AUUG Motion Synth app to explore new directions in synthesizer control.
Download these apps to be ready to go!


Following the workshops will be a short break then a vintage synth jam session.


Workshop presenter bios:

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.

Ehsan Gelsi:

Ehsan Gelsi is a Melbourne-based synthesist with a rich history of projects and experimentation across a wide range of synthesis disciplines. From acid techno, to club tunes, bringing flavours to rock and pop productions, through to deep experimental electronica. Through more than a decade of professional and creative projects Ehsan has developed a deep expertise and knowledge of the world of synthesizers, both old and new, and the many ways to incorporate them together into musical projects – both in the studio and especially live – bringing spontaneity and exciting analogue flavours from the smallest dark club corners to the largest festival stages. Ehsan has performed with many live electronic acts, including Digital Primate, Metals, T-Rek, Bubble’n’Squeak and his current project Oolluu. In his spare time he works as the IDM specialist at Innovative Music.
Joshua Young:
Dr Joshua Young is a former neuroscientist and the creator of the AUUG Motion
Synth – a product that transforms the iPhone into a motion-based musical
instrument. Millions of people worldwide have now seen the Motion Synth in
action due to its appearance in a global Apple TV campaign for the iPhone 5s
(2014) and on Shark Tank Australia (2016).

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.