Alumni (Fellow)

Christopher Luna-Mega

Edgar Shannon Fellow
Mexico City, Mexico
B.A. Universidad Iberoamericana (2002)
B.M. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (2010)
M.A. Mills College (2020)
Ph.D. University of Virginia (2020)
M.A. University of Virginia (2020)
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences


Chris is a composer whose work analyzes sounds from natural and urban environments and translates them into notated music for performers and electronics. His orchestral music has been performed by the Orquestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Montreal-Toronto Art Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, conducted by Tonino Battista, Ilan Volkov, Gregory Oh, and José Luis Castillo, respectively. Ensembles that have performed his instrumental works include the New Thread Quartet, Yarn|Wire, The William Winant Percussion Group, JACK Quartet, and The Arditti String Quartet. His music has been featured in festivals such as the New York Electroacoustic Music Festival, Seoul International Computer Music Festival (Gwangju), AgelicA (Bologna), Tectonics (Reykjavik), Tectonics (Glasgow), L’Off (Montreal), Avant X (Toronto), Mills Music Now (Oakland, CA), and the International Forum for New Music “Manuel Enriquez” (Mexico City). Chris is currently completing his dissertation, titled “Environmental Sound Model-Based Composition”, as well as working with the Coastal Futures Conservatory and the Environmental Resilience Institute, translating climate change research into electroacoustic music.

Thesis Description:

Environmental Sound Model-Based Composition
A sound model is a representation of any sound from the world whose features are extracted, analyzed and translated into music. Models are used in science as an abstract maquette that serves as a tool for understanding and predicting different phenomena. Similarly, the sound model functions as the maquette for the compositional process and resulting music, which shares acoustic and/or syntactical features of sound originated in geological, biological and anthropogenic environments.

Environmental Sound Model-Based Composition refers to music that has been specifically derived from motivic, timbral, and syntactical features of environmental sound, independently or as a whole. It is a translation of any given sound -musical or not, natural or human. Environmental Sound Model-Based Composition relies on recording technology and the resulting acoustic representations of sound, such as temporal representations -emphasizing the amplitude of a sound over time- and spectral representations -classifying the range of different shapes that waves can take, modeling sound through the superimposition of any number of waves of different frequencies with each individual wave taking the form of a “sinusoid”.

In the dissertation I explore the general field of Environmental Sound Model-Based Composition and propose various techniques and processes that I have developed for this compositional approach.

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