Interview with Ben Thigpen, Composer
Live laptop performance and the Audio Spotlight
Interview from 25 November 2011 following the SOUNDPlay Festival’s “Fast-Forward” concert, in the Artscape Wychwood Barns’ Christie Studio. The Toronto stop on the CEC’s 25th Anniversary Tour was held over the final weekend of the 10th Annual SOUNDPlay Festival (Toronto, 25–27 November 2011), and was a collaboration between the Canadian Electroacoustic Community, New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA) and the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD).
Benjamin Thigpen, nomad, American by birth, French by naturalization, currently migrates among France, Belgium, Sweden, Italy and Canada. He holds degrees in Literature (Oberlin College and UCLA) and in “Esthetics, Technologies and Artistic Creations” (University of Paris 8). He has taught computer music at Ircam (Paris) and at the Conservatory of Cuneo (Italy), and now teaches computer music, acoustics and psychoacoustics at Arts2 (Belgium), also working as a freelance programmer and musician. He creates music for loudspeakers: purely electroacoustic, live computer performance, interactive music for acoustic instruments and computer. He composes in various studios (GRM, EMS, VICC, STEIM, Espace Totem), in his apartment and on the train, and performs in duos with instrument inventor and composer Jean-François Laporte (Rust), cellist Benjamin Carat (Fluid Identities) and percussionist Seijiro Murayama. His music is concerned with issues of energy, density, complexity, impermanence, non-identity and violence. He believes that music is a lived visceral experience rather than a language, and considers that music is not the art of sound but the art of the transcendence of sound.