iARTA Spotlight; Dr. Marco Buongiorno Nardelli

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 www.materialssoundmusic.com, www.musicntwrk.com and ermes.unt.edu