Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Music Theory and Composition (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Dennis Kam

Second Committee Member

Charles N. Mason

Third Committee Member

Lansing McLoskey

Fourth Committee Member

Colby Leider


Blue Skies is a site-specific interactive soundscape composition that integrates live musicians and algorithmic improvisation into a sound installation that reacts to changing environmental conditions. The composition provides a template for multiple instances of the piece to be composed in the future for different sites. It includes an improvising software and hardware system called the Motivator that generates music based on parameters established as part of the composition, reacting in specified ways to changes in wind speed, light level, and other factors at the installation site. It also suggests a model for producing instructional, graphic scores that can be interpreted by live musicians as well as being translated into a format the computer system can understand. Included is a version of the composition composed specifically for presentation at the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables, using live musicians and field recordings made in and around the campus. An accompanying paper contains a discussion of the components of the piece and the composer’s intentions from several perspectives, including issues of interactivity between a musical composition and its performers, audience, and location; and issues of composition for spaces outside of traditional performance venues. The paper also presents brief considerations of work by several influential composers whose work is related to Blue Skies, including John Cage, Max Neuhaus, and John Luther Adams.


soundscape composition; interactive composition; algorithmic composition; improvisation; acoustic ecology