.:Music Overview:.

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Music Overview

I began playing the guitar when I was 13 years old , and I've been performing on stages and in studios since around that time. The guitar is my primary instrument though I also sing, play keyboards, and perform technology-based instruments.

In 1995, I played in my first band Sunflowers . A few years later, I started a band with some friends called Clear Blue . During those years, I began singing and playing keyboards in addition to playing the guitar; we performed original music live and recorded several albums. At that time, I also began to compose and perform live for a few other original rock band projects , chamber and other ensembles, and solo classical guitar , and on a variety of recordings ; primarily playing guitar, and, later, singing, playing keyboards, and contributing to the engineering and production on recordings.

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V.J. performing 'Delayed to Rest' at a lecture-recital on Interactive Music (2017)

V.J. performing 'Between the Wheels' with Second Contact at a Rush Tribute night (2017)

In 2010, I began playing in a classic and prog-rock cover band called Second Contact , where I routinely alternate between playing a variety of instruments including a multiple keyboard-controller rig (which includes a keytar ), electric guitar, acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, and nylon string guitar. Second Contact, as a project, focuses on authentically recreating well-known 70s and 80s songs in a live context . It is different from other groups in which I've played; the rehearsals are more social and involve a great deal of critical listening, technical discussions about dividing parts, cooking/eating, quoting Seinfeld, and many rants about which songs we should incorporate into our set.

In addition to playing instruments like guitar and keyboard, I also develop and perform technology-based musical instruments and interactive music systems . Sometimes, I compose electroacoustic pieces where I perform a traditional instrument that interacts with some new technology that I've written. Sometimes, I compose algorithmic pieces where the technology is the only instrument performed.

Sometimes, my compositional ideas lead me to create or modify technology, which, then, presents an opportunity for further research . Some of these explorations lead to presentations where I can discuss some of the technical performance-related challenges that I face. Sometimes, it's just nice to strategize with other musicians about how to take complex and highly-produced studio recordings and translate those into real-time live performances . If I find that some approach I've taken to technology-facilitated performance is interesting to others, I'm always excited to talk or write about it .   In this "Live Performance Rig Video", I talk about the system I used to control multiple instruments and everything in this rack with these few pedals/controls and custom programming.

View more technology-based performances

V.J.'s live performance rig overview (2018)

V.J. performing Garcia Etude 12 on a Ken Parker archtop guitar (2021)

I love exploring ways to support creative ideas with technology. I am the founding director of two research labs: the Interactive Music Systems Lab (IMSLab) and the Electric Guitar Innovation Lab (EGIL); both of these labs afford me the opportunity to work with talented musicians, engineers, programmers, and researchers toward this end. While I am certainly focused on the tools that I prefer to use in my own compositions and performances, I also regularly work with artists and instrument-makers from the profession, which informs my sense of the tools and experience that are meaningful to my fellow musicians. As both a musician and a technologist, I am pleased to be part of the centuries-old tradition of exploring the convergence of music and technology.

As you'll hear and see in the playlists below, my compositions span a variety of genres including art music, alternative and progressive rock, works for theatre, film, and multimedia, and interactive & algorithmic electronic music.

a little bit of everything

"This playlist contains a little bit of everything: some art music, some popular music, some works used in larger productions, and some electronic music." ~ V.J.

art music: chamber & solo instrumental compositions

electroacoustic & algorithmic

"This playlist contains featured pieces I've written that involve electroacoustic techniques in some way or algorithms that I've written. The software and algorithms I've created for these compositions are available for free from the downloads section." ~ V.J.

View more electroacoustic & algorithmic works

theatre & film

"This playlist contains featured works I've composed for theatre and film. Notable works include stage adaptations of Hamlet and Othello, as well as original works by contemporary playwrights and filmmakers." ~V.J.

View more works for theatre & film

video games & multimedia

"This playlist contains featured compositions and sound design I've contributed to video games; primarily for games published by Knockout Media and my own company Clear Blue Media." ~V.J.

View more works for video games & multimedia

rock & pop

"This playlist contains featured select songs I've written in popular styles, particularly, rock, pop, alternative rock, and progressive rock. Featured bands I've written music & lyrics for include Clear Blue and Tone Poem" ~V.J.

View more popular music

Complete Composed

All works featuring V.J. as a composer

Electronic Music

Algorithmic compositions, electro-acoustic works, and interactive music

Theatre & Film

All works for musical theatre, film, and other dramatic arts

Video Games & Multimedia

Compositions and sound design for video games & multimedia

Rock & Pop

Rock, pop, alternative rock, and progressive rock works written for bands and other popular music ensembles

Complete Works

All works composed, performed, or produced by V.J.