Composer Integrates Music and Science in New UC San Diego Residency

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Lei Liang in front of “Hearing Seascapes.” Photo by Alex Matthews for the Qualcomm Institute

World renowned composer Lei Liang will focus on integrating art, science and technology as the first research artist in residence at UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute.

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Appointed for three years, the music department professor will expand his research on the sonification of coral reefs, highlighted in his “Hearing Seascapes” interdisciplinary courses.

“My partnership with Qualcomm Institute has been barrier-breaking,” Liang said. “It is the main reason I regard UC San Diego as a unique place to reinvent and re-envision our disciplines, and I hope to find completely new ways — both technically and artistically — to explore the expanding relationship between music, science and technology.”

Liang said he will continue his research that used coral reef images and audio to highlight the dangers facing reefs around the world.

He has led a seminar in which graduate and undergraduate students use data collected by Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers to compose interactive, multimedia performances that meld sound, images and movement.

“Lei is truly remarkable and brings a fresh, open perspective to integrating music, science and technology,” said Qualcomm Institute Director Ramesh Rao, adding that the composer “is also committed to training the next generation of students — artists, musicians, technologists — to develop a deeper understanding of what is possible.”

Born in Tianjin, China, Liang came to the Unites States as a high school student. He earned degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and Harvard University, and joined the UC San Diego music department in 2007.

The Qualcomm Institute coordinates interdisciplinary research at the university in four areas of benefit to society: culture, energy, the environment, and health.

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