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Performing 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 studio-recorded 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.

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

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

I love exploring new instruments, effects, and approaches to musicianship. 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.

Featured Music

Composition highlights from various music projects

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 Composed

All composed recorded works