Artists and Technology Working Together
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Presents

Artists and Technology Working Together

Evolution of the Arts in a Digital World
February 10, 2021 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM MST

Artists and Technology Working Together  

  Free Event • Register Now!  

Wednesday February 10 • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM MST
Via Zoom

Presented by:
Scott Smallwood | Director, Sound Studies Institute, University of Alberta
Paola Prestini  | Composer; Founder of National Sawdust

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About the Presentation

There are many considerations when it comes to successfully blending art and technology to create new, exciting, and immersive experiences. Thankfully, we have two incredible artists that work with technology in their everyday activities who can speak to the artistic side of technology and the ways in which they utilize technology in their art forms.

Join Scott Smallwood, sound artist and professor at the University of Alberta, and Paola Prestini, composer and founder of National Sawdust, as they explore the convergence of artists and technology. From using VR to experience an orchestra to creating sound art exhibits within physical and digital spaces, Scott and Paola have a world of experience to share with us. They will discuss accessibility within venues, sound as a medium, the infrastructure required to create immersive sound experiences, and the interdisciplinary work that engages artists and technology to create amazing new artistic experiences.

About the Presenters

Scott Smallwood
Director, Sound Studies Institute, University of Alberta

Scott Smallwood is a sound artist, composer, and sound performer who creates works inspired by discovered textures and forms, through a practice of listening, field recording, and sonic improvisation. He designs experimental electronic instruments and software, as well as sound installations and site-specific performance scenarios. Important to his process is exploring the subtleties of sonic texture through gradual transformations of timbre, particularly with sounds that may have originated from specific recordings of objects or spaces. His compositional and improvisational work makes use of space explicitly, and often involves multiple channel environments, found sounds, and non-conventional instrumentation. He works in a variety of sound and music genres, including instrumental concert and chamber music, electroacoustic music, sound art and installation, improvisatory performance, and more recently, audio game development. His work has been presented worldwide, including recent presentations at the Issue Project Room in NYC, the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, the The Hong Kong Arts Centre, and Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, NY. His recorded work has been released on Autumn Records, Deep Listening, Wowcool, Simple Logic, Static Caravan, and Dead Definition Records.

In addition to his artistic work and research, Smallwood has been an educator in music composition and technology in the US and Canada for over 25 years. He holds music degrees from Seattle Pacific University, Miami University, Peabody Conservatory, and Princeton University, where he also held postdoctoral research associate position, working with the legendary Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk). From 1997 until 2003, he worked as a studio engineer, faculty member, and technical director in the electronic arts program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he developed a continuing interest in collaboration with artists in other media. He is currently the director of the Sound Studies Institute at the University of Alberta, where he serves as an associate professor of music composition and technology.

Paola Prestini
Composer; Founder of National Sawdust

Paola Prestini has collaborated with poets, filmmakers, and scientists in large-scale multimedia works that chart her interest in extra-musical themes ranging from the cosmos to the environment. Her compositions have been commissioned by and performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Barbican Centre, Cannes Film Festival, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Roomful of Teeth, Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and Young People’s Chorus of New York City, among others. 

Upcoming projects include the opera Edward Tulane (Minnesota Opera), the chamber opera Sensorium Ex (Atlanta Opera and Beth Morrison Projects Prototype Festival), the foley chamber opera Silent Light (Banff’s Opera in the 21st Century), a piano concerto for Awadagin Pratt and A Far Cry, a piano concerto for Lara Downes and the Louisville Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, and music for The Amazon, a documentary and arts event (recently screened at the Margaret Mead Film Festival at the Museum of Natural History). Her project Con Alma: An Operatic Tableau on Isolation, co-created with singer and composer Magos Herrera, will be released as an album on December 4 followed by a live digital experience on December 13.

She is the co-founder and artistic director of the Brooklyn-based arts institution and incubator, National Sawdust, and as part of her commitment to the next generation and equity, she started the Hildegard Competition for emerging female, trans, and non-binary composers and the Blueprint Fellowship for emerging composers with the Juilliard School. She was a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow and a Sundance Fellow, and is a graduate of the Juilliard School.

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The ways we can interact with the world around us are infinite, and today’s technologies are powerful engines for digital participation. On Wednesday mornings from 10 AM – 11:30 AM MT beginning January 6th, 2021, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) is hosting a webinar-series symposium featuring presenters with expertise in specific digital technology fields. Our presenter list includes leads from arts organizations that have experienced a recent digital transformation, as well as digital experts from around the world. The symposium's goal is to educate, inspire, and guide local arts organizations and orchestras across Canada through their exploration of and introduction to relevant digital technology.

Evolution of the Arts in a Digital World will provide organizations with the tools they need to determine how and when to implement technology and identify how technology can be used as a tool to help tell a story. In addition, the symposium will act as a guide to implementing specific technologies such as immersive and digital interactives in budget-friendly and thoughtful ways. Through example-driven, hands-on approaches, our symposium will give participants an introduction to integrating technology in their organizations with confidence.

The Evolution of the Arts in a Digital World Symposium is proud to be featuring experts from the following organizations:

We encourage arts organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and orchestras to join us in national conversation about the ways in which digital technology can be included in everyday organizational functions with creativity and ease. Our symposium is aimed towards a variety of participants, including:

  • CEOs who want to understand how to introduce digital initiatives to their organizations in ways that will connect patrons to their organizational purpose and story.
  • General Managers who want to understand how to create teams for digital operations, who needs to be involved in decisions regarding digital initiatives, and what the end benefits are of going digital.
  • Educators who want to expand their outreach activities to include imaginative and curriculum-focused digital learning experiences.
  • Audience Engagement Teams who want to find new ways to share their stories with patrons in meaningful, memorable ways.
  • Everyone who wants to understand the power that creatively used technology can have on a patron’s experience at, memory of, and affection for an organization.

Any questions about the symposium should be directed to Kyra Droog at or 780-401-2593.

This Symposium is made possible through the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts.