Student Lands Scholarship to Attend Stanford Computer Music Workshop

September 21, 2017

Fiona Sullivan ’19

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ­– Middlebury junior Fiona Sullivan was selected to attend a computer music workshop at Stanford University in August on a full scholarship awarded to just two women nationally. The Denver, Colorado native, who is a joint major in music and computer science, attended the session at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.

“This workshop really built on what I have learned in my music composition, electronic music software, and computer science classes at Middlebury,” said Sullivan. “It allowed me to further see that there are many possibilities for how music and computer science can truly relate to and interact with one another to explore, create, and discover new ideas and projects.”

The weeklong course, titled “Formalized Score Control: Using Python and Abjad in Music Composition” helped Sullivan develop new technological skills that she could apply to her music composition. Python is a is a widely used high-level programming language, while Abjad helps composers use Python for notation and building complex musical scores.

“The workshop taught me how to code and compose simultaneously—it introduced me to a way I could truly connect and practice my studies within my joint major,” said Sullivan. “It also allowed me to continue to discover more of an interactive collaboration between music and computer science. 

Sullivan says the workshop made her begin to think about her music composition from an algorithmic point of view, “dreaming to incorporate randomness with patterns of specific musical motifs and phrases.”

This fall, Sullivan will continue to build on her work during a semester abroad in Goldsmiths University of London’s Music, Music Computing, and Computer Science departments.