Hello World, I'm Sara.
Sara Adkins is a music technologist, guitarist and software engineer passionate about promoting the use of machine learning and AI in the creative arts. She is a Fulbright grant recipient currently pursuing her Master of Science in Sound and Music Computing at Queen Mary University of London. Prior to moving to London she spent three years in Boston, working as a machine learning engineer at Bose and performing as a freelance classical guitarist for local weddings. While at Bose Sara worked in the applied research group in the Health division, developing deep learning models for speech enhancement and adaptive audio content for sleep.
Sara graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2018 with an interdisciplinary bachelor's degree in music technology and computer science. While in Pittsburgh, she studied classical guitar with professor James Ferla. Sara was featured as a concerto soloist with the CMU Classical Guitar Ensemble and performed with chamber group pairings ranging from renaissance vocalists, to string quartets, to banjo players. Sara’s senior capstone project, “Creating with the Machine,” was a set of compositions combining algorithmic and traditional methods of composition into live performances to explore how interactive generative algorithms can influence creativity in musical improvisation. “Creating with the Machine” was premiered by the Carnegie Mellon Exploded Ensemble in the spring of 2018, and was awarded the Henry Armero Memorial Award for Inclusive Creativity. Sara also presented the project at the 2019 Hackaday Superconference in LA. She plans to continue this line of research in her master's thesis at Queen Mary's Center for Digital Music, developing software systems that generate music alongside musicians in real time to create artificially-intelligent performance partners. She is excited to work with local musicians in London, designing new interfaces that make algorithmic composition and generative music more approachable.
Sara prides herself on having performed not only in concert halls, but also in an underground limestone mine and a giant inflatable dream temple. As guitarist, violist and composer for the Carnegie Mellon Exploded Ensemble, she collaborated with other artists and musicians to put on a literal underground electronic music festival at Brady’s Bend Limestone Mine. The ensemble also performed an 8 hour overnight concert of ambient music, where audience members were invited to drift in and out of sleep in an artist-created inflatable environment to experience the subconscious effects of the music. Needless to say, Sara embraces abnormal and experimental performances. She is inspired by musical ideas that are new, different and weird, and is dedicated to making these types of performances accessible and enjoyable for all audiences.
In addition to her making weird sounds with her laptop, Sara also enjoys knitting, playing Dungeons and Dragons and thrift shopping. Her favorite TV show is Avatar the Last Airbender, her favorite podcast is The Adventure Zone, her favorite band is Jukebox the Ghost, and her favorite classical guitarist is Ana Vidovic.