Posted23 Oct 2014
Resident Technologist Youngmoo Kim - Guest Post
Why am I here?
It's an incredible privilege for me to serve as Resident Technologist this season at Opera Philadelphia during my sabbatical from teaching at Drexel University. I'd like to thank everyone at Opera Philadelphia and Drexel who enabled this unique collaborative opportunity for our institutions.
So, why am I here? Allow me to consider that question in a couple of ways...
Why am I here?
I'm here because I love opera. I studied Music and Engineering at Swarthmore College, where I had my first opportunity to experience live opera (The Barber of Seville at the Academy of Music), and I've been hooked ever since. I went on to Stanford to pursue an MA in Vocal Performance Practice (along with an MS in Electrical Engineering), focusing on vocal chamber music (and yes, at times dreaming of becoming an opera singer). During my PhD studies at the MIT Media Lab, I had the fortune of singing with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, performing in many great symphonic works and even the occasional fully-staged opera. In opera, I believe that music, stories, and voice can combine to convey the human condition in more compelling ways than any other medium.
WHY am I here?
Currently (even during my sabbatical), I direct the ExCITe Center, where we pursue activities at the intersection of technology and creative expression. At ExCITe, we believe that great technology inspires great art (and vice versa), and we develop projects to further explore and understand these connections, including music-playing robots, smart fabric wearables, and giant video games. Furthermore, we strive to make our activities part of the community of Philadelphia. This is a great city, but one that faces enormous challenges, and our unique approach to innovation extends to our education programs, civic partnerships, and community engagement efforts towards building a better Philadelphia.
Why am I HERE?
What better place to put my convictions into practice than Opera Philadelphia? This is an organization that firmly believes artistic and technological innovation go hand-in-hand. It's a group that isn't afraid to challenge conventional wisdom, armed with the conviction that opera is not an antiquated medium, but a tremendously vibrant and innovative source of creative expression. Opera Philadelphia has made an extraordinary commitment to producing not only new operatic works, but also to experiment with new venues and presentation formats to foster a vibrant community around this combination of music, stories, and voice.
So I'm here at Opera Philadelphia because I'm passionate about opera, but I'm also passionate about Philadelphia. And what an incredible privilege it is to be able to apply my limited, somewhat esoteric, technological expertise in pursuit of both passions. I look forward to sharing our efforts with you, the Opera Philadelphia community, throughout my residency.
Drexel's Youngmoo Kim taking sabbatical to work with Opera Philadelphia via Technical.ly Philly
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