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108th Faculty Research Lecture

A Fugue and a Waltz: Performance, Technology and [Post-] Postmodern Engagement

Robert S. Winter,
Professor of Music and
Presidential Chair in Music and Interactive Arts

April 13, 2010




Robert S. Winter, is internationally known for his pioneering work on the role of content and the arts in a digital world. In 1989, he authored the very first commercial interactive CD-ROM — an investigation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for the Voyager Company — which sold hundreds of thousands of copies and won accolades as a milestone in multimedia publishing. He’s since written a slew of other CDs on Stravinsky, Mozart, Dvorak and even ragtime music. In 2008, he released a DVD on Dvorak’s "New World Symphony." Incorporating several hours of music, tons of video and thousands of images, the DVD explores fundamental arts education issues.

The strange thing, then, is that Winter actually loathes technology. “I’m really in it because of the artistic things that it makes possible,” he said. “I may not be using it in the ‘correct’ way, or in the most imaginative way, but God knows, I’m using it.”

Winter is the author, co-author or editor of four major books on Beethoven, including the award-winning “The Beethoven Sketchbooks,” published in 1985. Currently, he is working on a new software platform called “Sophie,” designed to create and deliver author-friendly software for people in the humanities and the arts.

Noting that there has been precious little advancement in musical digital instruction, Winter is hoping that more products like his Dvorak "New World Symphony" DVD will start a new wave in integrating information across different disciplines.

“It’s a very small wave at the moment. There’s really nobody trying to imitate me because it really is too daunting,” Winter said. “I’m like a dog on the postman’s cuff — once I start, I’m not stopping. Or you could put it another way: I’m too stupid to give up.”

From Wendy Soderburg, UCLA Today


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