New graduate program at UC Irvine

    Nov 12 2007 | 4:28 pm
    The Department of Music at the University of California, Irvine invites applications to a new Master of Fine Arts program in Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT). The program is taught by a core faculty whose work embraces diverse forms of music making, challenging conventional distinctions between classical composition, computer music, improvisation, and jazz. Students will receive close personal attention from faculty, and are encouraged to work on interdisciplinary projects. We seek students with a strong foundation who wish to develop new creative work integrating a wide range of contemporary music and ideas.
    ICIT merges two existing UCI programs: 1) Composition and Technology and 2) Jazz Studies.* This is an innovative program seeking to break down traditional limitations of academic programs, focusing on contemporary modes of creative music making and the critical discourses surrounding them. In addition to the existing core faculty (see bio paragraphs below) we will be hiring two new faculty specifically for ICIT within the next two years.
    The Music faculty also includes performers, musicologists, theorists and historians, making for a rich environment in which to develop critical skills that are essential for the 21st-century musician. The Claire Trevor School of the Arts is home to cutting-edge graduate programs in Dance, Theatre and Studio Art, as well as an interdisciplinary Master's program in Arts Computation Engineering (ACE). UCI is a quickly growing campus within one of the nation's leading research university systems. Located near the coast in Orange County, Irvine is an hour south of Los Angeles, a major art world center with vibrant contemporary music scenes.
    The MFA program is generally completed in two years. Many students receive tuition waivers and stipends in return for working as teaching assistants. Applicants should possess an undergraduate degree in music or an equivalent level of training, and should demonstrate potential for creative and innovative work.
    If you have questions or are interested in applying, please contact one of our core faculty (Akagi, Dobrian, or Dessen), whose bios and email addresses are listed below. We welcome your inquiries and proposals.
    * ICIT is a proposed MFA degree program, which we have every expectation will be officially approved by spring 2008 for implentation in Fall 2008. In the unlikely event that the new ICIT program is not fully in place by Fall 2008, new students would begin in one of the existing programs, with the option to transfer into ICIT as soon as it is finalized. (ICIT will also soon be expanded into a Ph.D. program.)
    Applications for admission to graduate study at UCI should be submitted on-line by January 15. ( All required supporting materials, such as writing samples, musical scores, and recordings must be received by February 1. Applicants should also arrange for an on-campus audition/interview to be held by February 1.
    In addition to the UCI campuswide requirements, ICIT requires: 1) A cover letter describing the applicant's interests in ICIT 2) A representative sample of original creative work in the form of scores, recordings, video documentation, etc. 3) A writing sample in English, preferably on a musical topic; this requirement may be fulfilled by the submission of an undergraduate paper or an example of similar size and scope 4) An audition and interview with the relevant faculty, to be scheduled with the Music Department
    For more information about specifics of the ICIT program and application process, please contact a member of the core ICIT faculty (listed below). General questions about UCI graduate admission are best directed to the UCI Office of Graduate Studies. (
    KEI AKAGI, pianist and composer, has been a mainstay of the international jazz world for over two decades. Perhaps best known for his work as a member of the Miles Davis band in the late 1980's, his career also includes extended associations with major figures such as Stanley Turrentine, James Newton, Joe Farrell, Al DiMeola, and Airto Moreira. In addition, he has performed or recorded with Art Pepper, Blue Mitchell, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Charnett Moffett, Tom Harrell, Bobby Shew, Eddie Harris, Slide Hampton, Steve Turre, Robin Eubanks, Jean-Luc Ponty, Jeff Watts, Allan Holdsworth, and others. Akagi has recorded 12 CDs as a solo artist and leader. As a sideman and accompanist, he has appeared on over 40 CDs worldwide, including Miles Davis's last recorded works. He has also written numerous original works for his own and others' recordings, with over 30 compositions currently in publication. Email: Web:
    CHRISTOPHER DOBRIAN is the director of the Gassmann Electronic Music Studio and the Realtime Experimental Audio Laboratory (REALab), and is producer/director of the Gassmann Electronic Music Series. Previously he was acting director of the iEAR Studios and the graduate MFA program at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, and executive producer of the Electronic Arts Performance Series. He holds a Ph.D. in Composition from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied composition with Joji Yuasa, Robert Erickson, Morton Feldman, and Bernard Rands, and computer music with F. Richard Moore and George Lewis. He is vice-president-at-large of the Electronic Music Foundation, a non-profit organization for the preservation and distribution of electronic music, and is the author of the original technical documentation and tutorials for the Max and MSP programming environments by Cycling '74. His work in computer music focuses on the development of "artificially intelligent" interactive systems for composition, improvisation, and cognition. Recent works include Microepiphanies: A Digital Opera (2000), a completely computer-controlled performance; Invisible Walls (2001) for dancers, motion tracking system, and computer-controlled synthesizer; Distance Duo (2001) for two computer pianos in remote locations connected via internet; In Tongues (2002) for flute and interactive computer system, premiered by virtuoso James Newton in Havana; Mannam (2003) for Korean flute (daegeum) and interactive computer system, premiered at the Seoul International Computer Music Festival; JazzBot (2005) for Yamaha Disklavier piano and computer-controlled musical robots, premiered by Kei Akagi at the Beall Center for Art + Technology. Email: Web:
    MICHAEL DESSEN is a composer-improviser who performs on the slide trombone and computer. Drawing on a wide range of experience across jazz, classical, improvised, and popular forms, he creates his own unique blend of music and collaborates with some of today's most exciting innovators. Dessen has recorded or performed with Yusef Lateef, Mark Dresser, Susie Ibarra, Vijay Iyer, Terry Jenoure, Anthony Davis, Adam Rudolph, Cosmologic, Dana Reason, Shahrokh Yadegari and many others. Current bands include his electro-acoustic trio, featuring Tyshawn Sorey and Christopher Tordini, and the collaborative Cosmologic quartet. Dessen has also contributed articles to publications such as The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation and Communities in Dialogue (Wesleyan University Press), the online journal Critical Studies in Improvisation / Etudes Critique en Improvisation, and Musicworks magazine. His scholarship focuses especially on the role of African American traditions within late-twentieth century experimental music worlds. He received a Ph.D. from the Critical Studies/Experimental Practices division of the Music Department at the University of California, San Diego, where he studied with George Lewis and Anthony Davis. He also holds degrees from the the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he studied with Yusef Lateef and Salvatore Macchia. Equally important, Dessen has been schooled by numerous musicians outside of academia, while free-lancing in diverse contexts. Email: Web:
    Composition: MICHAEL HOOKER, Professor of Drama, sound design and composition for theater VINCENT OLIVIERI, Assistant Professor of Drama, sound design and composition for theater ALAN TERRICCIANO, Professor of Dance, music for dance
    Jazz studies: CHARLES OWENS, saxophone, director of the UCI Jazz Orchestra BOBBY RODRIGUEZ, trumpet GEORGE McMULLEN, trombone DAREK OLES, bass JASON HARNELL, drums
    Musicology and Theory: AMY BAUER, contemporary music, critical theory RAE LINDA BROWN, African-American composers, jazz history DAVID BRODBECK, Central European music, rock history MARGARET MURATA, history of improvisation
    For a complete list of UCI Music faculty, please visit