Peabody’s Electronic Music Studios were founded in 1967 by Dr. Jean Eichelberger Ivey. Summer Workshops for school music teachers were offered first, and public electronic music programs took place from the beginning. In the fall of 1969, Peabody opened its year-round studio with regular courses for conservatory students. It was the first such studio in Maryland, and was one of the first anywhere to be located in a conservatory.
In that first full season, electronic works composed in the new studio by Dr. Ivey and her students were heard in public concerts here at Peabody, at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall, and on radio and television. Annual concerts have continued since that time, often featuring collaborations with performing musicians, dance, film, and special visuals. Works from other studios and by many distinguished guest composers have also been presented.
Frequent public lectures and demonstrations have extended the studio’s educational role beyond its immediate students to a wider audience. A burgeoning expansion of musical resources came with the addition of computers. The affiliation of Peabody with the Johns Hopkins University in 1977 made extension into this field possible, initially utilizing computers, advanced technology, and expertise available throughout the university.
The Computer Music Studio was established by Geoff Wright in 1982. In the same year he and McGregor Boyle founded the Computer Music Consort as a professional performance group in residence at Peabody, to expand the already established tradition of presenting high-level musical performances including electronics and multimedia collaborations with diverse artists.
In 1989 the Electronic and Computer Music Studios joined into a single department and inaugurated a new Master of Music degree in Computer Music with specialized tracks in composition, performance/concert production, and research/technology.
The Prix d’Été competition, established by Walter Summer in 1994 and continuing to be hosted annually by the Computer Music Department, encourages Peabody graduate and undergraduate composition students to create chamber music that explores new instrumental, vocal, computer and multimedia horizons.
The Computer Music program continues to expand its offerings, now hosting two student ensembles, the Laptop Ensemble and Hip Ensemble, and offering courses in music production, hip hop, analog and digital synthesis, computer music programming, and much more. The studios house dedicated recording, performing, and mixing spaces, offer a broad range of controllers from advanced midi controllers to turntables, and host both a vintage Moog 900 synthesizer and a modern Eurorack modular synth. The department presents over 10 concerts of electronic music each year, from the club-style VVaves Concert Series to Department Recitals featuring renowned guest artists.