“The State of Game Audio in Academia, with a focus on Univ. of Michigan”


Media & Studio Arts Symposium

Time-Based Arts & Technology

The State of Game Audio in Academia, with a focus on University of Michigan

February 15, 2019 | 8:45 PM – 9:45 PM

Matthew Thompson & Anil Çamci

Description:  Where in the country is teaching with game audio, and how is it being used as a teaching tool? How have academic publications bloomed in recent years, and what is the focus of these? How is game audio being used as a teaching tool at U-M and what resources make this a perfect place to explore this topic? These questions and more will be addressed in this presentation by U-M faculty member Matthew Thompson.

Presenter Bios:

Matthew Thompson, DMA— collaborative piano, is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Michigan. There his duties include teaching courses as varied as “Introduction to Lyric Diction and IPA” to groundbreaking and massively popular classes like “Video Game Music.” In addition to his classroom duties, Thompson serves as a vocal coach for graduate voice students.

Thompson’s 2018-2019 year is an exciting and varied one showcasing his many interests. He began with three performances with U-M colleagues at the International Double Reed Society in Granada, Spain in late August. After starting his seventh semester of teaching at U-M, Dr. Thompson headed to LA where he served as ludomusicology/sound studies chair for the first ever academic track at GameSoundCon. Thompson presented “The State of Game Audio Studies in Academia” with MSU colleague Ryan Thompson as well. Once back in Ann Arbor, Thompson collaborated with Bill, Lucia, and Jim Campbell on the Ann Arbor Symphony Chamber Music Series in a concert entitled “Music of Faith.” He will join SMTD colleague and longtime collaborator, Freda Herseth, in December for the George Shirley Scholarship Fundraising Concert. Also in December, Thompson will have a new recording, Japonica, a disc of oboe/piano duos, release on the Equilibrium label; his partner in this recording is U-M alumnus Dr. Alex Hayashi.

In January, Thompson will curate and accompany current voice students in the Bloomfield Township Public Library concert series. He and his experimental studio of piano students studying video game piano transcriptions will perform the first of their studio concerts at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in late January. On this concert, Thompson will premiere a piano piece by Marty O’Donnell, composer for the Halo series as well as Destiny and many other games. February will include more performances with U-M colleagues and longtime collaborators, Carmen Pelton and Amy Porter. In March, Thompson will coordinate and serve as pianist for the 14th annual Flint Festival of Choirs, with Dr. Ryan Beeken from Indiana University Pennsylvania visiting as guest clinician. Also in March, Thompson will host Video Game Pianist Martin Leung at U-M’s SMTD for a number of events: working with his piano students, giving guest lectures, and will join Dr. Leung in a concert free and open to the public. In April, Thompson’s piano studio will present a concert showcasing their work during the year collaborating with students from U-M’s Screen Arts and Culture and Stamps School of Art and Design. His summer will include returning to teach at SMTD’s summer program, MPulse, for the second annual solo vocal institute.

As a pianist, Dr. Thompson has performed with operatic celebrities like Thomas Hampson, rising international stars like Vince Yi, and even musical theater gurus like Tony Award winner Gavin Creel. A sought after vocal coach, he’s prepared singers from beginners to seasoned artists for recitals, recordings, competitions, young artist programs, auditions, and performances, both local and in major venues around the world. Equally comfortable collaborating with instrumentalists, Thompson has recently performed on the Ann Arbor Symphony Chamber Music Series, the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings Series, and the Great Lakes Chamber Music Vignette Series. He regularly plays with the U-M Wind and Brass faculty, and with large ensembles like the Flint Symphony and the Michigan Philharmonic, and is currently pianist and associate conductor of the Carolyn Mawby Chorale based in Flint, MI, and recently featured in the Netflix original series, Flint Town. Numerous live performances can be streamed from Thompson’s YouTube channel and he can be heard in recording with David Ammer, trumpet, on La trompette a renouvelé.

Thompson’s summer training included prestigious young artist programs like Song Fest, the Merola Opera Program, and Wolf Trap Opera. Summers are now typically spent teaching music to students of all levels. In recent years, Thompson has been a faculty coach/pianist at the Torggler Summer Vocal Institute and was a faculty member of U-M’s inaugural Living Arts Summer Residential Lab. He taught at SMTD’s MPulse inaugural Solo Vocal Institute in July 2018.

Dr. Thompson has won numerous grants to support his research, continuing education, and teaching, including a U-M-Center for Research on Learning and Teaching Faculty Development Fund to support “Teaching Private Piano Lessons using Video Game Piano Transcriptions,” a UMOR Small Grant to Support Major Conferences to help fund “Hosting the 5th annual North American Conference on Video Game Music at U-M in 2018,” a U-M Center for Japanese Studies Faculty Research Grant to support “Recording of Recently Composed Japanese Oboe/Piano Duos,” an SMTD Faculty Block Grant to support “Translation of Japanese Video Game Piano Collections,” and multiple Arts at Michigan Course Connection grants that have allowed integration of live performances into his classroom teaching. His research interests vary from female composers to American Popular Song accompanying; game audio, a particular fascination, has sparked Thompson’s urge to write. He maintains a blog which has attracted both scholarly and industry attention at videogamemusicnerd.blogspot.com and has written proactively commissioned book reviews published in the American Journal of Play.

Thompson received masters and doctoral degrees from The University of Michigan in collaborative piano, studying with his long time mentor, Martin Katz. His undergraduate degree, with highest honors and highest distinction, is from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Anil Çamci is an Assistant Professor of Performing Arts Technology at the University of Michigan. His work investigates new tools and theories for multimodal worldmaking using a variety of media ranging from electronic music to virtual reality. Previously, he worked at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he led research projects on human-computer interaction and immersive audio in virtual reality contexts, and Istanbul Technical University, where he founded the Sonic Arts Program. He completed his PhD at Leiden University in affiliation with the Institute of Sonology in The Hague, and the Industrial Design Department at Delft University of Technology. Çamc?’s research and artistic work has been featured in leading journals including Organised Sound, Soundscape, and IEEE CG&A, and conferences, such as ACM UIST, ACM CHI, IEEE VR, NIME, ICMC and ISEA. He has been granted several awards, including the Audio Engineering Society Fellowship, and the ACM CHI Artist Grant. [http://anilcamci.com]