Educational Technologist and Digital Media Specialist Ben Salzman ’14 and Jon Bellona ’03 opened the Kyma International Sound Symposium (KISS) with a presentation about the work of their mentor, Professor of Music Sam Pellman. Salzman and Professor of Art Ella Gant presented a live virtual reality performance in Pellman’s honor. The symposium took place at the University of California-Santa Cruz Sept. 6th to 9th.
Salzman and Bellona discussed Pellman’s vision for the Flight 93 National Memorial Tower of Voices and how Kyma, a sound design software, was used to generate the audio simulation for the National Park Service commission. Pellman died in a bicycle accident shortly after completing the pitch design for the tower’s chimes.
Pellman, an integral member of the Kyma community, presented at KISS five times from 2010 to 2017. Through his years of working with the software, Pellman developed an expertise that was highly regarded within the field, Salzman said.
Kyma is used heavily within academia and for sound design in mainstream films such as WALL•E, The Dark Knight, and Finding Nemo.
Kyma creator Carla Scaletti, commented on Pellman’s involvement with KISS. “Every year, at the Kyma International Sound Symposium, I always looked forward to seeing Sam — he always looked like he had a secret that was making him happy. I think that secret may have been how much fun he was having trying to capture the structure of DNA and the astounding vastness of our highly structured universe so he could share it with us through his music,” Scaletti said.
Salzman added, “The memory of Pellman’s work is not only memorialized in the field of electronic music, but also in his impact as a teacher, mentor, and collaborator with his Hamilton students.”
Tesla Circles the Moon, an interdisciplinary performance work performed by Salzman and Gant, premiered at the opening of the symposium. Combining live virtual reality and live sound design, they simultaneously celebrated their collaborator and friend.