Studio History

The Harvard Electronic Music Studio (HEMS) was founded in 1968 by Leon Kirchner in consultation with Morton Subotnick. This studio offered undergraduate courses to the Harvard community and became a workshop for independent student research projects in composition, computer music programming, and psychoacoustics. The principal area of interest at HEMS was live electronic processing in performance with acoustic instruments. Ivan Tcherepnin became the Director of HEMS in 1972 and remained at this post until his passing in 1998. HUSEAC Studio 22, lovingly nicknamed "Sergeland" by his students, is dedicated to Tcherepnin's memory, vision and open spirit.Historical Photo 1

In 1994 Mario Davidovsky joined HEMS and the Harvard Music Dept. as Professor of Music. Davidovsky established an affiliate studio to encourage non-technical composers to approach computer music. With the construction of the Harvard Computer Music Center (HCMC) by Davidovsky and Sean Varah the focus shifted towards the teaching of analog studio techniques within the computer realm. In both cases, the primary mission of the studio was the service of technology for use by composers. This is still the guiding principle for the studio today.

The Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition (HUSEAC) was established in 1999 when composer, and then Assistant Professor of Music, Kurt Stallman bridged together the Harvard Electronic Music Studio (HEMS) and the Harvard Computer Music Studio (HCMC). In 2004 composer Hans Tutschku joined the Music Dept. as Fanny P. Mason Professor of Music and HUSEAC Director. That year Architect Chin Lin and Acoustician Alex Case designed and built four isolated suites into the Paine Hall wing. Our professional facilities are multi-use and function as classrooms, workspaces, and intimate recording environments.

In 2005 Tutschku debuted the HYDRA Loudspeaker Diffusion System, a 40-channel playback system concieved for performance and the spatial diffusion of electroacoustic works in concert. HYDRA, although mobile, is primarily deployed in the John Knowles Paine Concert Hall. HUSEAC and the Harvard Music Dept. typically host at least one HYDRA concert per calendar year. All HYDRA concerts are free and open to the public. Invitations to HUSEAC events are sent electronically through our low-traffic mailing list. Join us and share a sonic moment in our studio's history.