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The Denning Family Provostial Professor, Department of Music, Co-Director of Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SiCa), Co-Director of Stanford’s Art Initiative, William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball University Fellow in Undergraduate Education
Jonathan Berger integrates science and the human experience and explores effective ways of using sound to convey information—what does a cancer cell or a golf swing sound like? And why does a song make us cry?
Berger teaches composition and music theory and cognition at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He is a composer and researcher, with over 60 publications in a wide range of fields relating to music, science and technology. His research includes studies in music cognition, snal processing and statistical methods for automatic music recognition, classification and transcription, sonification and audio restoration.
Berger's recent research into auditory hallucinations has resulted in Visitations, a pair of one-act operas that premiered at Stanford's Bing Concert Hall in April 2013.
Berger compositions range from vocal and chamber to electroacoustic constructions. His works can be heard on the Sony Classical, Harmonia Mundi, Centaur, Neuma, CRI, and IMA labels and his scholarly work has been published by MIT Press, the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, the Journal of Music Theory, and Leonardo. Among his awards and commissions are three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, prizes from ASCAP, commissions from WDR, and prizes from the Bourges Festival. Berger’s millennium sound installation, Echoes of Light and Time, was heard by over 2 million visitors and received international praise. His current commissions include Tears in Your Hand for piano trio, a violin concerto and his fourth string quartet.
In addition to composition, he is actively involved in research on signal processing and music cognition. His work on denoising (together with CCRMA PhD Charles Nichols and Yale Professor Ronald Coifman) produced a transcription and reconstruction of the historic 1889 cylinder recording of Johannes Brahms playing the piano. This work was featured on NPR’s Performance Today and in the New York Times and will soon appear on a CD-ROM by Yamaha. He is also founding director of Yale University’s Center for Studies in Music Technology.
Berger has collaborated with a range of scientists, such as those in Stanford’s Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory, to investigate the effects of music on the brain. In addition, he has overseen the details for the annual SiCa Center for Arts, Science and Technology’s Symposium on Music, Rhythm, and the Brain since it was founded in 2006. His research interests also include neural net modeling of musical expectations, computational models of generative procedures, feature detection in digital audio using adapted local trigonometric bases and wavelet packets, development of a unified representation of sound and analytical structure in music.
Musical Expectations. MIT Press.
Miracles and Mud. American Masters Series. Naxos Records, 2007.
Tears in Your Hand. Commissioned by the Gryphon Trio, Premiered at Stanford University, January 7, 2007.
Jiyeh. Performed for A Concert of Music on Ecology and the Environment, organized by CCRMA, November 9, 2006 at the Imaging Environment conference, Stanford University
Prof. Berger in the News
This is Your Brain on Opera
The New York Times, April 15, 2013
Historic Edison recordings come back to life
San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 2012
Stanford Composer explores how memory affects music
Stanford Report, March 3, 2010
Networks and Network Analysis for the Humanities: An NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities
UCLA Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics, August 15-27, 2010
Audio Compression May Not Be So Bad
San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2010
Younger listeners have come to prefer lo-fi versions of rock songs to hi-fi ones
New York Times, December 14, 2009
Why Spotify may spell the end of ownership: A new music website with millions of songs has the potential to change how we will access our entertainment in future
Times of London, March 15, 2009
iPod Generation Prefers MP3 Fidelity, Study Says
PC World, March 5, 2009
Young Music Fans Deaf to iPod's Limitations
Times of London, March 5, 2009
Scholars speak on influence of Beatles
Stanford Daily, February 22, 2008
Denver Post, January 22, 2008
Professor decodes life note by note: He teams with scientists to use music to simplify information
San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2007
Stanford prof star of Gryphon Trio ensemble
Stanford Daily, January 10, 2007
A place for peace: Inspired by a quiet room and a wartime song, composer brings a new work to Stanford
Palo Alto Weekly, December 29, 2006
Digging up sound: Math—and an archaeologist’s touch—bring back Brahms
Stanford Magazine, July/August, 2005
Strings attached: Stanford’s resident ensemble, onstage and off
Stanford Magazine, September/October, 2004
Composer Jonathan Berger creates theme music for Clark Center
Stanford Report, October 22, 2003
Israeli, Palestinian music share turf in composer’s new work
Stanford Report, September 11, 2002
Audio and Video
[Broadcast] Today’s generation prefers sound of digital music, just as previous generations preferred the sounds of vinyl
ABC 7 News at 9 PM on KOFY-TV CH 20, March 5, 2009
The Sound of Cancer, and Golf
Weekend America on American Public Media, January 12, 2008
Adult Attention Deficit Disorder
Leading Matters, LearnOutLoud.com