Taurin Barrera is an electronic musician and sound artist whose work explores the interactive connections between technology and perception. His work incorporates technology to augment our synesthetic experiences of sound and visual art.
He integrates spatial audio, visual music, and electroacoustic composition techniques to program custom software instruments, performance systems, and environments. His recent works have been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (D.C.), National Gallery of Modern Art (Bangalore), CERN (Geneva), Maker Faire (Shenzhen), and Luminaria Festival (San Antonio). He holds an MFA in Electronic Music from Mills College.
Barrera also leads the Sony Project at SFCM, a one-of-a-kind partnership where students work directly with visiting artists from Sony Interactive Entertainment, and compose scores for a fictional video game.
Most recently, he collaborated with Swissnex and Seeed Studio to launch the Data Canvas project. Barrera frequently performs and exhibits works in and around the San Francisco Bay Area where he and his wife are based.
- Applied lessons
- Theory of Musical Synthesis
- Electronic Music Performance
- MFA, Mills College
- BA, The College of William and Mary
What is your hometown?
What is your favorite recording?
In no particular order: Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced?; Aphex Twin: Drukqs; Terry Riley: A Rainbow in Curved Air; Zapp: Zapp
What are you passionate about outside of music?
Creative coding, interactive multimedia arts, travel, coffee, and hiking in the Bay Area sunshine.
Who were your major teachers?
Sophia Serghi, Maggi Payne, and Pauline Oliveros.
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
“Why am I doing this?”
What was a turning point in your career?
During undergrad, a professor showed me how to generate and transform sounds on a computer with Cycling 74's MaxMSP — I was hooked. I've been falling down the rabbit hole of music technology ever since.
If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
Working as a creative technologist at an interactive design agency, or maybe running a solar-powered bitcoin mining operation.
What is your daily practice routine?
I constantly listen to records throughout the day to practice listening.
If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?
Claude Debussy, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Brian Eno.
From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?
A tie between the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s for its experimental electronic scene, and Detroit at the same time during the start of Motown.
What are your most important collaborations?
The Living Room with Bill Baird at The Museum of Human Achievement, DataCanvas with swissnex San Francisco, Gray Area, Seeed Studio, and B+S Electroacoustic Duo with Tara Sreekrishnan.