Jenn Kirby

Dr. Jenn Kirby is a composer, performer, lecturer and music technologist. Jenn works as the Programme Leader for MA Music at the University of the West of Scotland. Her output includes contemporary instrumental composition, electroacoustic music, sound art, noise music, experimental-pop, laptop orchestra performance and solo live electronics. Jenn is active in the performance of electronic music as a performer and a software developer. She builds software and re-purposes controllers as musical interfaces to create and perform theatrical live electronic music.

Live Electronics: Performer Agency and Audience Reception

My research is focused on developing new methods of performer agency in live electronic music and utilising audio-visual symbiosis to enhance audience engagement. I do this through the design of new gestural software instruments and the development of new strategies of conveying musical expression in the performance of live electronics.
I will present my designs for two works, The Phonetics Project (a voice+electronics piece) and Hear to Listen (a flute+electronics) piece.

In order to achieve performer agency and for performers to have confidence in the system, robustness of the instrument is crucial. Given the changeable nature of technology this is a different challenge to address. This leads me to an unanswered question - do we sacrifice compatibility and portability for long-term reliability? If so, do we as computer music designers need to also become digital luthiers? Or should we be content with the ephemeral nature of the work?