Remembering David Wessel

Friday, October 17th, 2014 | 10:13 am and filed in Friends.

It was deeply saddening to hear about the passing of David Wessel. Professor Wessel was one of the important pillars of the academic community for his contributions towards the advancement of computer music technology. During the 1970s and early 80s, he was involved with IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), and eventually took a position as Director of the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies and Professor of Music at UC Berkeley.

I had the pleasure of taking a summer course at CNMAT where I met Professor Wessel in 2001. This was about the time when Open Sound Control (OSC) was being developed, and I vividly recall his presentation on gestural control systems and the musical application of expressive real-time control of computer generated audio. At a time when most people were still working with traditional systems of sequencing, recording and synthesis in computers, CNMAT, under Wessel’s direction, was pioneering the future of electronic music technology.

Professor Wessel had a natural gift of explaining rather complex concepts of max/msp and his pedagogical technique inspired the methodology behind the many bits of content I’ve developed over the years. For this, I will be forever grateful. Thank you Professor Wessel for pushing the weirdness envelope, and showing us the way.

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