Curtis Roads: La légende de Xenakis

This lecture explains the impact of Xenakis on my life. It began in 1972 with Xenakis’s course on Formalized Music at Indiana University. This inspired me to dive deep into algorithmic composition and also led me to implement granular synthesis on a computer in 1974. In the 1980s I was a resident composer at Xenakis’s CEMAMu center outside of Paris, and in 1993 I became director of pedagogy at Les Ateliers UPIC in Paris, where I had the opportunity to interact with Xenakis on multiple occasions.


Curtis Roads is one of the most prominent computer music experts. He studied composition at the California Institute of the Arts and the University of California San Diego. He is former chair and current vice chair of the Media Arts and Technology Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  He has previously taught at the University of Naples "Federico II", Harvard University, Les Ateliers UPIC (now CCMIX, Center for the Composition of Music Iannis Xenakis), and the University of Paris VIII.

He co-founded the International Computer Music Association in 1980 and edited the Computer Music Journal from 1978–2000. He has created software including PulsarGenerator and the Creatovox, both with Alberto de Campo.

Since 2004, he has been researching a new method of sound analysis called atomic decompositions, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).