Ramin Akhavijou “Dark Violin”

My name is Ramin Akhavijou. I establish main binary sounds that interact with each other to simulate supernovae. My music takes its form from the shape of their explosion, which takes 20 days to reach their peak brightness and then another couple of months to fade exponentially. I demonstrate this shape by illustrating the density and velocity of sound in a ratio in a given time. This form is not unusual in music science, and it resembles ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, release). Since music is abstract and cannot convey this type of scientific information in a scientific manner (unless another form of information such as words, visuals, statistics, etc. is used in conjunction with sounds), presenting an overall structure and shape would be more tangible than defining particular details. Moreover, after the explosion and its exponential decay, I progressively reduce my sounds to silence, creating a new atmosphere that corresponds to astronomical concepts such as dark energy, black holes, etc. To accomplish the section on dark energy, I also direct the audience’s attention to a visual element in which I use a violin with very long strings connected and a very tiny speaker placed within to generate sounds. Normally, we would expect to hear a violin being played by a person, but this time, it emerges on its own terms.

I am a PhD student in music composition and theory at the University of Pittsburgh, where my research focuses on music perception and its relationship to my compositions. My primary incentive for my creative work has been the dialectic relationship between sounds. I conduct scientific research on this relationship through a variety of multidisciplinary projects. My interest in science and technology has led me down a variety of compositional pathways that are represented in my vast body of work. The Pittsburgh Opera Company and the Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble performed my opera “languagemachine” in April 2019, and the JACK quartet recorded my second miniature opera “censorship” in 2021. My compositions have been performed in a variety of nations by a variety of soloists, ensembles, and orchestras, and I have been the recipient of several awards, prizes, and commissions. I am currently working on my third opera.

Faculty researcher: Michael Wood-Vasey
Artistic Advisor: Eric Moe

Listen to Dark Violin Below

Intro / Akhavijou / Voss / Eschmann Trevino / Rossetti / Tsvetkova