rama gottfried in ircam's espace de projection composing for the WFS/HOA system




Rama Gottfried's recent works aim to increase our sensitivity to the web of relations that connect humans and the other animate and inanimate entities that surround us. His pieces are conceived as scenographic worlds — bodies with voices that move and interact in physical and immaterial environments, constructed from the medias of acoustic and electronic instrumental performance, puppet-, object-, material-theater, live-cinema, and the site-specific performance context. Brought to life through the collaborative actions of human and nonhuman performers, the works attempt to absorb the audience and physical space, subtly expanding our awareness of detail.

Born in New York in 1977, Rama grew up in Burlington, Vermont, where he began instrumental and electronic music training at an early age, and pursued visual art studies before shifting focus to music performance and composition. After moving to New York City in 2001, he joined Ensemble Pamplemousse, collaborating with the group from 2003-2013 on developing approaches to the merging of sound, installation, and performance arts.

Rama's works have been featured at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, MaerzMusik, SPOR, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, MATA, Klangwerkstatt, rainy days, and Ultima festivals, among others, and he has created sound installations for the Berliner Congress Center, Complice, Mino Washi Paper Museum, Stadtbad-Wedding, and the Pacific Basin Building.

His first composition teachers were Ernest Stires, Justin Dello Joio, and Nils Vigeland, while studying at the University of Vermont, New York University, and the Manhattan School of Music. In 2009 he completed a Meisterschüler at the Universität der Künste Berlin, where he studied composition with Walter Zimmermann, and in 2015 he received his PhD in Music Composition and New Media from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied composition with Franck Bedrossian, and interactive computer music with David Wessel, Edmund Campion and Adrian Freed at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT).

In 2012, Rama was awarded the UC Berkeley George Ladd Composition Prize, and was selected for the musical-research residency at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) studying instrumental approaches to spatial audio technologies. In 2017, he was in residence at IRCAM and Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) working on notation and audio/visual performance systems for spatial movement.

From 2018-2022, Rama worked at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg as a Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer in the Department of Multimedia Composition, and from 2021-2022 he worked the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber Dresden's Hybrid Musik Lab, developing courses in audio/visual media performance practices.

In 2022, Rama was appointed Professor of Contemporary Computer Music Practice at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK), where he teaches and pursues interdisciplinary art and technology research at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technologies (ICST).


(Photo of Rama working in IRCAM's Espace de Projection by Melanie Challe, 2012)