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Generative & Electronic

My work lies at the intersection of music and technology, with a focus on designing generative music algorithms for live performances. Many of my pieces explore how the randomness and automation of an algorithm can be useful to a musician's creative process as they improvise. I aim to create generative and algorithmic music frameworks that are intuitive for musicians to make music with.

In the Fall of 2022, I collaborated with researcher's at McGill CIRMMT and visual artist Angus MacMinn to create an interactive audiovisual installation in the Satosphere at the Société des arts technologiques (SAT) in Montreal, Quebec. I composed the generative music for the installation in SuperCollider, creating three interactive patches that morph from natural ambient sounds to distorted electronics. I used Libmapper software to design the user interaction and the SATIE engine for ambisonic rendering. Participants were able to interact with the visual and audio parameters in real time using several open source digital musical instruments called T-Sticks. Check out the recording below:

In June 2022, I led a workshop hosted by Music Hackspace in London to teach composers and producers how they can incorporate machine learning and AI into their creative practice. The talk was geared to creatives with no prior background in programming or ML. We started with a light introduction to RNN and VAE architectures, then I walked participants through freely available VSTs, web apps and Max externals that utilize these models for melody generation and timbre transfer. Check out the full workship recording below!

When I first moved to London in September 2021, I attended a SuperCollider Live Coding Music workshop led by Shelly Knotts. I became inspired by this new way of making music, and loved the concept of projecting the music's source code as a visual during performance. Live coding seemed like a perfect interface for incorporating AI music algorithms, as much of the melody generation is done using pattern generators and other algorithmic composition techniques. I decided to use live coding as a framework for my Masters thesis, and am currently working on a model for generating loopable phrases for algorave performances. Aside from my thesis work, I've worked on my own SuperCollider sets and have performed at Electronic Music Open Mic Nights around London. A recording of a set I did at The Crypt in Camberwell is included below.

For electronic composition, generative or not, I use SuperCollider, Max MSP, PureData, Logic Pro X and Ableton Live. Below are some selected tracks from my electronic composition projects. My algorithmic piece "Machine Cycle" was premiered in 2018 by the Carnegie Mellon Exploded Ensemble. My generative composition "Color Bursts", created with Julian Koreniowsky, ran as sound installation in the Phipps Botanical butterfly garden for 4 months. For the technical breakdown of the generative pieces, check out my software portfolio page.

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Guitar Performance

I graduated from the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music in Pittsburgh PA, where I studied classical guitar with professor James Ferla. During my time in Pittsburgh, I was featured as a concerto soloist with the CMU Classical Guitar Ensemble and performed with chamber group partners ranging from renaissance vocalists, to string quartets, to banjo players. I performed as a freelancer throughout the city, playing in locations such as the Phipps Botanical Gardens, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Kresge Theater, and the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. Prior to my time in Pittsburgh, I studied guitar at the Peabody Preparatory School in Baltimore MD, where I performed with the guitar orchestra and participated in a master class with Julian Gray.

Now residing in Boston, I perform as a freelance guitarist for wedding ceremonies, receptions and other events. With my unique background in performance, audio engineering and sound design, I am well equipped to provide a thoughtful and cohesive musical experience tailored to suit any event. From intimate wedding ceremonies to loud cocktail parties, I can set up a professional sound system and select music that will create the perfect atmosphere for the event at hand. A previous client praised my work in a review stating "Sara's professionalism was top notch, her music selection was amazing and her artistic gift is beyond comparison, her music in the castle was amazing."

To book me as a musician for your next event, please send an email to booking@saraadkins.com. You can also visit my profile on GigMasters to request a quote. I can put together a program of music from my extensive repertoire list tailored to your event and musical preferences, and am also happy to take song requests. Below are some recordings of me playing my favorite classical pieces:

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Audio Engineering

During my undergraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon, I worked as a sound engineer in the Vladmir Recording Studio. I was responsible for running recording sessions and mixing tracks for local Pittsburgh artists. Below are several samples of my mixing and mastering work from a variety of genres. All tracks were recorded and edited using Pro Tools.

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