Christopher Luna-Mega

Edgar Shannon Fellow
Mexico City, Mexico
B.A. Universidad Iberoamericana (2002)
B.M. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (2010)
M.A. Mills College (2013)
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences


Christopher Luna-Mega is pursuing a Ph.D. in composition and computer technologiesis through the Department of Music at the University of Virginia. He is a composer and improviser interested in focused listening, improvisation, contemplation, and silence. His work analyzes sounds from natural and urban environments and translates them into notated music for performers and electronics. His orchestral music has been performed by the Orquestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Montreal-Toronto Art Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, conducted by Tonino Battista, Ilan Volkov, Gregory Oh, and José Luis Castillo, respectively. Ensembles that have performed his instrumental works include the New Thread Quartet, Yarn|Wire, The William Winant Percussion Group, JACK Quartet, and The Arditti String Quartet. His music has been featured in festivals such as the New York Electronic Music Festival, Seoul International Computer Music Festival (Gwangju), AgelicA (Bologna), Tectonics (Reykjavik), Tectonics (Glasgow), L’Off (Montreal), Avant X (Toronto), Mills Music Now (Oakland, CA), and the International Forum for New Music “Manuel Enriquez” (Mexico City). Luna-Mega has taught composition, musicianship, theory, orchestration, and introduction to electronic music in the National School of Music in Mexico, Mills College, The Walden School and at the University of Virginia. He received his B.M. in composition at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México -UNAM and his M.A. in composition from Mills College, as well as a B.A. in film/communication theory at the Universidad Iberoamericana -UIA, Mexico City.

Thesis Description:

Sound Model-Based Instrumental Composition
A sound model is a representation of any sound from the world whose features are extracted, analyzed and translated into music. Models are used in science as an abstract maquette that serves as a tool for understanding and predicting different phenomena. Similarly, the sound model functions as the maquette for the compositional process and resulting music, which will share acoustic and/or syntactical features of the original sound. Sound Model-Based Instrumental Composition exclusively refers to the instrumental music that has been specifically derived from motivic, timbral, and syntactical features of a sound, independently or as a whole. It is a translation of any given sound -musical or not, natural or human. Sound Model-Based Instrumental Composition relies on recording technology and the resulting acoustic representations of sound, such as temporal representations -emphasizing the amplitude of a sound over time- and spectral representations -classifying the range of different shapes that waves can take, modelling sound through the superimposition of any number of waves of different frequencies with each individual wave taking the form of a “sinusoid”. In the dissertation I explore the general field of Sound Model-Based Instrumental Composition and propose various techniques and processes that I have developed for this compositional approach.

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