Christine Southworth (b. 1978), through her work with robots and automated music systems as co-founder and Director of Ensemble Robot, is making groundbreaking music based on the interaction between science, technology and creativity. Employing sounds from man and nature, from Van de Graaff Generator to honeybees, Balinese gamelan to seismic data from volcanos, Southworth is introducing a brand new genre of music to Boston, born out of the area’s complex community of scientists and artists.
Her 2005 & 2007 performances of Zap! overfilled the Boston Museum of Science’s Theater of Electricity with energized crowds of students, professors, artists, children, and adults. The Boston Phoenix called the show “truly electrifying,” describing that “Ever since Bob Dylan, ‘going electric’ has had many connotations, but this was something different: though Zap! utilized the talents of a flutist, two keyboardists, a cellist, a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, a vocalist, a double-helix-shaped robotic xylophone, sound engineers, and computer programmers, the centerpiece of Southworth’s performance was electricity itself, as millions of volts buzzed, fizzled, and sparked in deafening cracks that punctuated her music.” (Will Spitz, Boston Phoenix)
Southworth received a B.S. from MIT in 2002 in mathematics and music and M.A. in Computer Music & Multimedia Composition from Brown University in 2006. She composes for Western ensembles, Balinese gamelan, and mixed ensembles of gamelan, western instruments, electronics, and robots. Her compositions draw from her interests in modern American and European music, jazz, Balinese music, and rock and roll, and have received awards and recognition from the LEF Foundation, American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer, New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), the MIT Eloranta Fellowship, and Bang on a Can. Her music has been played throughout the U.S., Europe, and Indonesia by ensembles including Kronos Quartet, Gamelan Galak Tika, Calder Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Gamelan Semara Ratih, California EAR Unit, Andrew W.K., and Ensemble Robot. Her music is available on Airplane Ears recordings Zap! (2008) and Gamelan Galak Tika: Bronze Age Space Age (2009)
Southworth is currently producing a record of her string quartets, performed by The Calder Quartet, Kronos Quartet, Gamelan Galak Tika, and Face the Music, with support from the American Music Center CAP Recording Grant.