I am Professor of Interactive Music Composition at University of Manchester, UK, where I started NOVARS in 2007 and served as director since then. I moved to Manchester from SARC, the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queens University, Belfast, where I was music staff for five years. My experience working at these two state-of-the-art Computer Music Centres in UK placed me in a privileged position to understand the complexities of working at the intersections of Music, Science and Engineering. As a result, I have created and promoted research synergies across areas of Interactive Media, Live Game-audio, Analogue Synthesizers, Audification (Sonification) and Machine Learning for Music. All these contributed to enriching existing areas of research on Spatial Audio and Electroacoustic Music Composition. It also facilitated routes to market for the creation of three spin-outs; two on locativeaudio and one social venture using game-audio technology at the University of Manchester.
In 2020, I embarked on ASPECT UK SUCCESS/ARC accelerator programme, to spin-out my academic research via "Keep•It•Human", a Digital Game Ecosystem for Collaborative Altruism. This social venture looks at novel ways of engagement between people and the ownership of opportunities to ignite local and global change. It also highlights the potential of what academic research in the Arts, Social Sciences and the Humanities is capable of, when compared to STEM subjects.
My research is placed at the intersections of Physical and Digital creativity where I design immersive musical experiences with game engines. It focuses on the understanding of the relationships between digital technologies and the Self. Ultimately, I build interactive worlds for people to see something new about themselves through, placing sound and music at the core of the experience. Throughout my practice, I unlock new forms of storytelling around concepts of Co-presence, Corporeality, Spatiality and Interactivity with technology, to perceiving and experiencing our mutual belonging. I explore how to escape the power of rationality, as in Dali's paintings, to experience the human condition and the uncanny. In my works, I create digital twins linked to their real counterparts, who morph as the music story progresses. I apply Japanese Noh Theatre techniques to my creative practice, in particular, the way ‘time’ is mastered during (game) play and how the Noh Mask can transcend the perception of the Self to reveal new aspects of human identity.
As an educator, students often give greater value to the fact that I push them to take risks in their artistic practices, and that I do so leading by example. I learn a lot by talking to my students. Especially from those whose creative spirit is generous and who want to change the world for the better.
NOVARS Research Centre is specialised on digital audio across music, science and engineering. Since I joined University of Manchester, I have supervised cross-disciplinary Portfolios in musical composition and molecular chemistry, DNA/RNA, state-space physical models, biometrics, visual anthropology and IoT, to mention a few. My dual background in music and economic sciences has clearly paid off to lead PhD journeys to a good port and to identify and seduce the right scientific co-supervisors to become involved.
At NOVARS, I built a culture of return-and-collaborate after postgraduates leave. This prevents our collective research to lead to unfulfilled cycles. In 2007, we started with research on Spatial Audio, to embark on new ecosystems focused on Interactive game-audio in 2008, audification in 2009, locative-audio in 2011, analogue synthesis in 2016 and social entrepreneurship in 2018. Do you want to be part of our new chapter?
RICARDO WAS COMMISSIONED BY
Amores Grup de Percussio, Spanish Brass Luur i Metalls, Joven Orquesta de la Generalitat Valenciana, Pedro Carneiro, Xelo Giner - Kazuhisa Ogawa, Ensamble Las Rosas, Esther Lamneck- Elizabeth McNutt, Carlos Gil, Kontakte Group de Percussio, Darragh Morgan, Miquel Bernat, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid (for Horacio Franco)
Listening area: Click here
Hobbies: I like cycling and meeting friends in Berlin (to play ping-pong, buy DDR stuff or eat Vietnamese food). I used to jump hurdles (athletics), run cross-country and practice windsurfing. I enjoy encrypting things. In 2011 I joined the 'cycle to work' scheme and deeply regret not having done this before!