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)
M.A. University of Virginia (2018)
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences


Christopher Luna-Mega is a Ph.D. candidate in Composition and Computer Technologies in the Department of Music at the University of Virginia. He is a composer and improviser interested in focused listening, environmental sound and contemplation. 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 Electroacoustic 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 holds a B.M. in Composition from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México -UNAM, an M.A. in Composition from Mills College and the University of Virginia, as well as a B.A. in Film/Communication Theory from the Universidad Iberoamericana -UIA, Mexico City. Luna-Mega is currently completing his dissertation, titled Environmental Sound Model-Based Composition. He is also working with the Coastal Futures Conservatory and the Environmental Resilience Institute, translating climate change research into electroacoustic music.

Thesis Description:

Environmental Sound Model-Based 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 shares acoustic and/or syntactical features of sound originated in geological, biological and anthropogenic environments.

Environmental Sound Model-Based Composition refers to music that has been specifically derived from motivic, timbral, and syntactical features of environmental sound, independently or as a whole. It is a translation of any given sound -musical or not, natural or human. Environmental Sound Model-Based 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, modeling 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 Environmental Sound Model-Based Composition and propose various techniques and processes that I have developed for this compositional approach.

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