A Marriage of Music and Motion

Marcin Pączkowski performing one of his compositions
Marcin Pączkowski performing one of his compositions

Marcin Pączkowski (MM, Composition, 2011) stands on stage facing the audience, his gloved hands tracing graceful circles in the air as music flows from nearby speakers. Suddenly his left hand shakes with an exaggerated tremor, causing the music to flutter.  His right hand punches the air and a deep tone sounds, as if by magic. But Pączkowski is not a magician. He is a composer and conductor who uses technology to explore musical possibilities.

In his current work, Pączkowski uses wireless sensors, attached to his palms, to alter sounds. Individual gestures trigger specific musical changes, such as adding a layer of instrumentation or creating a “scratch” effect similar to a DJ scratching a record on a turntable. Using dozens of gestures that generate programmed...

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