Music has played an important role in all my life. During my childhood in Germany I began my music career very modestly: in elementary school I joined the school choir, as anyone with any voice was "requested" to do. From age 8 I got lessons in playing the "Melodica", a kind of flute with a piano keyboard. When I was 10, I decided to learn playing Cello. My grandfather bought me a Cello, and I was then a cellist in the high-school string orchestra for several years. At age 11 I began taking piano lessons. Very interesting: my piano teacher regularly gave me 4 different pieces to work on: one from each major musical epoch (baroque, classic, romantic, modern), and I could observe how my personal taste migrated from the baroque times towards the modern in a very chronological way. I became also somewhat interested in writing my own composition, and I wrote a brief piano piece at age 13 in a very 18th century classical style. But I was quite impatient: the process of writing notes on paper, playing them on the piano, then revising them on paper again seemed like a very tedious process, and I gave this up soon, only to resume it later when computer sequencers became available. I did NOT study music but instead decided on a career as scientist: studied physics, then switched to computer engineering. I worked on a system for autonomous driving (a road vehicle driving by itself with cameras a sensors) and developed Augmented Reality prototypes, and in 1996 I moved to the US for working in a research center. My work with computer systems had introduced me to the possibilities of computers for the music production process: very first attempts with an Atari 600XL (1984) led to a few 4-voice recordings of Christmas Carols. In 1993 I bought a stand-alone Yamaha SQ16 synthesizer work station for sequencing, and I created my first MIDI versions of classical orchestral music: The first movement of Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances", and Smetana's "Moldau". I was very intrigued by the full control over the music creation process through many control variables, and I began to use a MIDI sequencer on a proper Windows PC for creating more MIDI files. Since these were "General MIDI" compatible, the could be shared with others. The ban of MIDI sharing by Compuserve put a slight damper on these distribution activities, but the evolving internet allowed me to share my recordings with the world. For a while my MIDI version of "The Moldau" was used by the web site of the Czech foreign ministry. The establishment of MP3.COM finally created a platform for sharing music recordings, and I created several renditions of classical orchestral music from the late-romantic period. From 1997 on I used the name "Virtual Philharmonic Orchestra" as a brand for my music renditions. In 1996 I also began to write a few compositions of my own. In 2003 a creative break set in, lasting for several years, as my energy was consumed by participating in the US DARPA Grand Challenge, and by a subsequent move from the US to the UK where I accepted a professorship in Creative Technology. At the end of 2009 I updated my music hardware and software setup and began to revisit some of my earlier music recordings.
No way I am going to play live! That is why I choose to use the computer in the first place, so I could program music instead of live performing.
Gustav Mahler, Anton Dvorak, Leos Janacek, Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly, Igor Stravinsky, Isao Tomita, Wendy Carlos
PC with Windows 7, 64bit, and 12 GB memory. Cakewalk Sonar 8.52. Garritan Personal Orchestra 4. M-Audio Keystation Pro 88. Roland keyboard A-30. Emu Launchpad. M-Audio MidiSport 4x4.