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In the midst of the pandemic, Sonic Murals highlighted the strength and creativity of the greater Denton Arts community. A joint venture between iARTA and CEMI, Sonic Murals solicited music, sound art, new media, performance, and digital art for remote presentation, streamed simultaneously on Twitch and YouTube. The festival’s five concerts included 53 pieces of art, music, and media by Denton artists and musicians as well as UNT students, faculty, and alumni. The streams were simultaneously presented at three sites, in the UNT College of Music Courtyard, as an installation projected onto the side of the College of Music just outside the Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theatre, and in the College of Visual Art and Design. 

While social distancing and measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted the traditional paradigm for the presentation of concerts at the College of Music, endeavors like Sonic Murals strive to maintain and strengthen the connection between artists in the community, giving them a platform to share and promote their work. Streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube also allow users to comment on the pieces as they are being presented, allowing for participants to connect to one another as their art unfolds. This allows for a new kind of connection between creators in the community, giving them a sense of participation in the presentation and facilitating the free exchange of ideas. 

Though we have been faced with challenges in 2020, organizations such as iARTA and CEMI continue to strive to present new avenues for students, faculty, and community members to present their work and engage in the thriving community of artists and creative thinkers in Denton.

Dr. Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, Distinguished Research Professor of Physics and Composition at UNT, has a dynamic approach to music that is driven by his understanding of science and data and the ways that numbers can both describe the ways that we perceive music and give root to new practices for the creation of new music. He seeks data from sources such as cosmic rays to discover novel materials that he can shape into meaningful musical experiences. Much as a sculptor would fashion complex forms from marble, clay, or metal, Dr. Buongiorno Nardelli sculpts music from numbers. 

This entire praxis, “data as music, music as data” as he describes it, reflects his stature as a physicist and researcher studying theoretical and computational materials physics. In fact, Dr. Buongiorno Nardelli sees his work in physics and music as two natural extensions of his practices as a creative thinker. “At the core, I am doing the same thing; the tools that I use to achieve the end-goals are different, of course, but the conceptual framework is very similar. These two things talk to each other at a very deep level.” 

His interest in the deep connections between data and music have led to the creation of musicntwrk, “a python library for the pitch class set and rhythmic sequences classification and manipulation, the generation of networks in generalized music and sound spaces, deep learning algorithms for timbre recognition, and the sonification of arbitrary data.” These networks can represent and describe different musical spaces enabling the network to represent the distributions of musical languages as disparate as 18th century Classical Harmony and 12-tone music of the 20th and 21st century as emerging property of the network itself. These networks seek to encapsulate the ways that we perceive music and provide context for the complex structures that define our understanding of music. 

Among Dr. Buongiorno Nardelli most recent compositions is The Messengers; a CosmOpera for voices and fixed media (single channel video, two-channel audio), Plexiglas and cosmic rays. This miniature opera is a collaboration with librettist Ken Eklund that blends live performers, electronic sounds, video, and cosmic ray detection to creative a narrative installation that explores the notion of voicemails traveling through space and time from the future to communicate with the present. The installation is interactive, using sensors to allow the audience to shape the visual and sonic world of the piece as they experience it. 

Dr. Marco Buongiorno Nardelli is a University Distinguished Research Professor at the University of North Texas, a composer, flutist, a computational materials physicist, and a member of CEMI, The Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia, and of iARTA, the Initiative for Advanced Research in Technology and the Arts. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Institute of Physics, and a Parma Recordings artist. 

You can learn more about Dr. Buongiorno Nardelli's artistic and scientific endeavours by visiting, and

November 06, 2020

The Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia (CEMI) and iARTA at the University of North Texas invites composers, sound artists and, intermedia creators across our campus and community to submit new or existing works for the virtual concerts Sonic Murals. Submitted works will be curated and selected by CEMI and IARTA personnel, with the assistance of CEMI Director, Panayiotis Kokoras. The concerts will take the form of a pre-recorded audiovisual stream available during the days of the conference and promoted through the companion web page.

As possible, we will also project the festival stream in some or all of the following installations:

  • Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theatre (MEIT) – outside wall projection with stereo audio
  • UNT College of Music Courtyard - 7.1 Meyer audio system and LED video wall
  • Other campus locations with stereo audio TBD

Drew Schnurr, Assistant professor in Composition and Media Arts, has collaborated with various music faculty and artist Jenny Okun to produce the Augmented Reality Concert Hall, an interactive app for tablets and smart devices that seeks to use augmented reality to create a unique interactive music experience. ARCH I, the first iteration of the project, utilizes a two-dimensional poster that is recognized by the app, which then allows the user to interact with pre-recorded videos of performers in modular musical performances.The interactive interface enables a unique performance of a selected piece, molded by the curiosity and creative agency of the listener in real time. By giving individual audience members limited control over their musical experience, Schnurr’s project subverts the traditional divisions of performer, composer, and audience and enables the audience member to assert themselves as a fundamental part of the creative process. 

Using compositions by Joseph Klein, Kirsten Broberg, Bruce Broughton, Sungji Hong, and Drew Schnurr, ARCH’s approach to musical structure is both modular and highly mutable, allowing users to control individual musicians in complex and interlocking layers. As the app populates the screen with performers, the user’s environment is augmented and transformed into a musical performance space. By using preexisting space and augmenting it with virtual performers, ARCH seeks to increase audience immersion and blur the binary between virtual space and physical reality. 

Future plans for ARCH include developing experiences for wearable AR devices that heighten this sense of immersion and enable more dynamic and varied musical experiences in a variety of spaces. Other avenues of exploration for ARCH II and beyond include utilizing three dimensional spaces, site-specific performances, and democratic audience experiences, where user data is collected and interpreted to dictate large-scale performances. 

Drew Schnurr serves as the project leader and artistic director of ARCH. Other major contributors include composition area graduate assistants Mike Smith, an early technical assistant and consultant; Jake Thiede, Unity programmer and technical assistant; and Rachel Whelan, video and audio production manager.Additional contributions were made by Gayatri Sravani, computer scientist and technical assistant.