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Aurie Hsu


With Nashville and Southern California roots, Aurie Hsu is a performer-composer who creates instrumental and electroacoustic music, interactive systems, and collaborates with musical robots.  Integrating music, movement, and technology, themes in Aurie’s work include hybridized bodies between human and machines and “choreographing sound,” or incorporating the embodied experience of performance in composition.  Aurie performs with the Remote electroAcoustic Kinesthetic Sensing (RAKS) system, a wireless sensor interface for dance developed with composer Steven Kemper.  Her pieces have been presented at NIME, ICMC, MOCO, Art Basel Miami, SEAMUS, SIGCHI, Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, and internationally in Belgium, France, and The Netherlands.  Her research on gesture in sensor-based music and paradigms for mapping movement and sound has been published in conference proceedings including the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI), the International Workshop on Movement and Computing (MOCO), and the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC).  Aurie has received awards from the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology Commission and the International Computer Music Association (ICMA) and appears on Oberlin Records and as a pianist on Ravello Records.  Aurie holds degrees from the University of Virginia, Mills College, and Oberlin Conservatory, and is currently Assistant Professor of Computer Music and Digital Arts in Technology in Music and Related Arts (TIMARA) at the Oberlin Conservatory.

music box (2018) for prepared Wurlitzer student butterfly piano, sound exciters, and electronics

I have always been entranced by the mechanical systems of acoustic pianos – the hammers striking and damping the strings, the vibration of strings when actuated, and the pedal mechanisms. These actions serve as a backdrop for a guided improvisation that combines sound exciters on piano strings, amplified inside-piano sounds, recordings of mechanical sound sources, and live electronics.

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Why Should Our Bodies End at the Skin? (2018) for dancer, RAKS system, CADI robotic percussion, sound exciters, live electronics

A collaboration Steven Kemper, Why Should Our Bodies End at the Skin? explores fluidity between organism and machine as raised in Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto.” The piece realizes the capability of the hybrid body, sonically connecting mechanized human movement and humanized robotic action. The RAKS (Remote electroAcoustic Kinesthetic Sensing) system, a wireless wearable sensor interface, translates the dancer’s movement into activations of the robotic percussion instrument CADI (Configurable Automatic Percussion Instrument.

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breath across song (2016) for flute and fixed media

Breath across song is based on the poem, Wake, by Wayla Chambo as part of her TranScript Project. With its vibrating energy and shifting colors, wake evokes vivid imagery of changes in nature and states of being. I aimed to paint the text with subtle pitch inflection, timbral variation, and tone coloration in the flute part with complementary textures to augment the instrument in the fixed media part. I was also drawn to how subtle changes in air flow shape the different timbres. Performed by Margaret Lancaster.

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