Technology and the Arts

Thousands of singers from all over the globe perform together in cyberspace. A glove allows a violin to communicate with a piano. The general public helps create a symphony by submitting bits of sound to a composer.

Technological innovation in the arts is almost as old as art itself. But in recent years it seems as if the pace of change has accelerated exponentially, with new options for everything from how work can be composed (any number of computer programs), funded (crowd-sourcing) and rehearsed and performed (in-person, remotely), to how it is preserved (YouTube).

This special alumni-focused issue of The Journal looks at some of the many facets of the connection between technology and the arts—and their relationship to the Juilliard community. Faculty member/alum Ed Bilous discusses the role of the conservatory in nurturing innovation. Directing alums Joanna Settle and Sam Gold as well as students weigh in on the pros and cons of technology in performance. Historical Performance alum Brandon Labadie discusses using electronics to compose an 18th-century dance; he composed the piece for a festival run by alumna faculty member Mari Kimura. We peek behind the scenes at Juilliard’s technology hub. And there are interviews with alums Tod Machover, a faculty member in M.I.T.’s Media Lab; Eric Whitacre, whose virtual choruses have become a global phenomenon; Joan Karlen, who’s been experimenting with interactive choreography; faculty and staff composers; and more. (This Behind the Machine photo featuring Arianna Warsaw-Fan, who got her bachelor's in 2009 and her master's in 2011 and who is performing Michelle DiBucci's Helikopter, is by Hiroyuki Ito.)

We hope this small cross-section of what’s out there today whets your appetite for more. If you have an opinion about performance and technology and whether they’re moving in the right direction, or if you have an interesting technology-related experience with your art, let us know at

—Susan Jackson

Edward Bilous

Many performers don’t get to explore the tools of technology until they graduate.More
Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers

Evan Fein

M.I.T.’s Tod Machover chatted about his Juilliard days, his multifaceted career, and his vision for music’s relationship with ...More
The Music Technology Center

Doug Bierend

The Music Technology Center's name was changed to the Center for Innovation in the Arts in 2012 in ...More
Joanna Settle

Kathryn Shattuck

Some directors teeter on a fine line between too much technology in productions and not enough.More
Joan Karlen

Susan Jackson

Dance alumna Joan Karlen’s work in video and interaction design informs her choreography.More
Eric Whitacre

Evan Fein

Composer and conductor Eric Whitacre is undoubtedly one of the most successful and prominent figures in classical music ...More
Mari Kimura

Doug Bierend

Mari Kimura hopes to keep the violin ripe for invention throughout the 21st century.More
Michiyo Kigawa, Taka Kigawa