Center for Jazz Studies & Computer Music Center Win Mellon Foundation Grant for "J-Disc" Project

J-DISC: The Technology of Discovering Jazz

Digital technology and the Web are bringing treasures, both new and newly discovered, to music lovers every day. Using and enjoying these vast riches is a different story: the prospect overwhelms listeners and even stumps experts. Nowhere is this dilemma perhaps more exquisite than in jazz, which has a ninety-five year legacy of recordings and a persistent drive to innovate through recording technology.

The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, is leading an interdisciplinary team to find better ways to access, organize, and evaluate information about jazz on record and on the Web.

Jazz studies experts at the Center and specialists in information management and engineering at Columbia and other institutions are working together to build J-DISC, an Internet database application. The site went live in June of 2012 ( and will continue to grow in scope and functions during the next two years. J-DISC will provide rich information on jazz recordings with demographic and cultural information free of charge to the public. Yet, as it gathers more data, J-DISC will eventually offer a depth of knowledge on jazz not achieved by more familiar online resources such as iTunes, MusicBrainz, or Pandora. Researchers, educators, and students can mine this data for insights on improvisation, artists' careers, changes in jazz styles, the recording industry, and various other topics.

Prof. John Szwed, Director of the Center for Jazz Studies, believes that "because much of it is improvised, it's difficult to imagine telling the history of jazz without reference to what gets recorded. Yet a wealth of data about jazz recordings is in danger of being lost, due to changes in the industry and the shift away from print media. We need to transform discography to deal with a new world without discs."

Behzadi, Ashkan

Ashkan Behzadi
DMA Student in Composition
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Toscano, Roberto

Roberto Toscano
DMA Student in Composition
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Bird, David

David Bird
DMA Student in Composition
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Prof. David Sulzer and Computer Music Center Featured in Columbia News!

Columbia University News features an article on Prof. David Sulzer (Depts. of Psychiatry, Neurology and Pharmacology), a neuroscientist at Columbia who has been working with Prof. Brad Garton at Columbia's Computer Music Center on a project to create music from brain waves. The piece is by Adam Piore, and is entitled: Neuroscientist David Sulzer Turns Brain Waves Into Music

Fall 2012 Courses in Music

The attached poster describes many of our featured and new courses in Music for Fall 2012!  Download (Featured Courses or All Courses) as PDFs  or click the thumbnails below for full size images.


2012 Commencement: Congratulations to All Our Grads!

The Department of Music at Columbia University warmly congratulates all of our graduating majors, concentrators, and graduate students and their families on the occasion of the 2012 Columbia University Commencement.

Alumnus Profile: Graduating Music Major Matthew Star Wins Louis Sudler Prize!

Above photo: Matthew Star (CC '12) and Sarah Dooley (BC '11) in the recording studio. Click to enlarge.

Graduating Music Major Matthew Star wins Louis Sudler Prize

The Department of Music congratulates graduating senior and music major Matthew Star, who has been awarded Columbia's prestigious Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts.  The Sudler Prize is awarded annually to a graduating Columbia College senior who, in the opinion of the Faculty, has demonstrated excellence of the highest standards of proficiency in performance or execution or in the field of composition in one of the following general areas of performing and creative arts: music, theatre, painting, sculpture, design, architecture, or film.

Mr. Star was awarded the Sudler Prize for his senior honors thesis, which entailed producing a new album of music by Sarah Dooley's (herself a Barnard College alumna, 2011). This project grew out of conversations Mr. Star had with the Computer Music Center's Terry Pender about what it means to be a 21st century music producer, especially with the advances in recording technology.   Star writes that "after [these] discussions, I read as much as I could about record producing and recording techniques to learn how to use all of the Computer Music Center's recording equipment and microphones. Sarah had always wanted to record an album of her original songs; she's an amazing songwriter but she's always been a solo artist, meaning each song only has vocals and piano parts. In producing her album, I arranged and recorded instrumental parts, and then mixed them all together."  He also worked extensively with Prof. Brad Garton, Director of the Computer Music Center.

Two of the completed songs produced by Mr. Star for Ms. Dooley's album may be heard at Ms. Dooley's website:

Mr. Star is spending the summer in New York City, recording, building up his music library and doing freelance jobs, as well as scoring a web series and a video game, and recording as much music as he can. He plans to continue his career in music and media production.

Mr. Star is also bassist for the band Capital, which features fellow Columbia graduating seniors and Jazz Performance Program students Jesse Chevan and Evan Johnston.

Matthew Star Biography:
Mr. Star got his first taste of music with piano lessons when he was 6 years old.

Columbia DMA Alumni Alex Mincek, Kate Soper, & Huck Hodge Win 2012 Guggenheim Fellowships

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded Fellowships to Columbia Composition (DMA) alumni Kate Soper, Alex Mincek, and Huck Hodge.  Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the 181 successful candidates for 2012 Guggenheim Fellowships were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants.

World Music Ensembles for Fall 2012 -- Bluegrass, Gagaku, Hogaku, Middle Eastern, Klezmer, Latin! (MUSI V1625)

Course Information

Course Title: 
World Music Ensembles (ALL)
CU Directory Course Number: 
MUSI V1625
Varies by ensemble

For Fall 2012, the Department of Music and the Music Performance Program are pleased to offer six "World Music" ensembles, including Bluegrass, Klezmer, Japanese Gagaku/Hogaku (separate ensembles), Middle Eastern, and Latin groups.  All four are offfered as 1 or 2 credit ensembles under the course number MUSI V1625. (Click on each section number to go to the associated Directory of Classes listing.)

NB: For most participants, these ensembles expect a year-long commitment (fall and spring semester registration) and hold auditions for new members ONLY in the Fall.

For more information on these ensembles, contact:
The CU Music Performance Program (Becky Lu, Program Coordinator)
Office Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 12:00 to 5:00PM in 618 Dodge
Email:         Phone: (212) 854-1257

Section 001

Call Number: 64457 Points: 1-2 
Instructor: Jordan Shapiro