Electronic Music

The Bard Music Program offers students a wide range of courses in electronic music, all focused on the immense potential for circuits and computers to act as creative tools and musical partners.

The curriculum is designed to be open to a wide variety of aesthetic interests and interdisciplinary pursuits. Course topics include music composition, sound art, coding/programming, circuit design, recording/audio production, improvisation, and electronic music performance, among many others. The program includes two ensembles—electroacoustic and electric guitar—both of which workshop and perform works by Bard students.

Students enrolled in electronic music courses have access to the department recording studio facilities, which include a variety of industry-standard microphones, outboard gear, software, a Steinway piano, and an extensive analog synthesizer collection (ARP, Serge, and Moog). Students are also able to utilize the studio facilities to record their own albums and pursue independent creative projects.


The requirements for electronic music majors are:

Theory and History (12–16 credits)

  • Music Theory / Ear Training I and II (or) Jazz Harmony I and II (Students with prior proficiency may test out of Music Theory I or Jazz Harmony I at the discretion of the instructor.)
  • History of Electronic Music
  • Electroacoustic Composition Seminar

Sound and Technology (16 credits)

  • Introduction to Electronic Music
  • One course from each of the following topic areas: Topics in Music Software (e.g., Topics in Music Software: MAX/MSP); Topics in Sound Studies (e.g., Topics in Sound Studies: Critical Listening; a sound studies course under Experimental Humanities and/or in the ethnomusicology focus area may fulfill this requirement with approval of electronic music adviser); Topics in Music Production (e.g., Topics in Music Production: Sound Recording I)

Ensemble and Lessons (4 credits)

  • Two semesters of performance ensemble (Electroacoustic Ensemble or other)
  • Two semesters of private lessons or tutorials on an electronic music subject

Total credit hours: 32–36 credits

Moderation requirements: The following courses must be completed prior to Moderation: Introduction to Electronic Music; History of Electronic Music (or) Electroacoustic Composition Seminar.

It is strongly encouraged that students complete Music Theory I/II or Jazz Harmony I/II before Moderation.

Electronic Music Faculty

Matt Sargent

Matt Sargent is a composer, guitarist, and music technologist. He teaches a variety of courses at Bard on topics including music composition, experimental music, music technology, audio engineering, and contemporary music performance. Sargent has recently received commissions from the [Switch~] Ensemble, Ensemble Mise-En, and the Chesapeake Orchestra, among others. His music has recently been heard in concerts and installations at Constellation (Chicago), the Reykjavik Art Museum, the Wulf (Los Angeles), Mise-En_Place (Brooklyn), Spectrum (New York), Real Art Ways (Hartford), I-Park International Artist-in-Residence Program (East Haddam), the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, and the Center for New Music (San Francisco). He was the recipient of a 2017 NewMusicUSA Project grant for “Unwound Path,” a new chamber work premiered and recorded by the [Switch~] Ensemble in spring 2018. His music is included in Jennie Gottschalk’s Experimental Music since 1970, published by Bloomsbury in 2016. Ghost Music, a CD of Sargent’s music for solo percussion, performed by Bill Solomon, was released by Weighter Recordings in 2018.

Sarah Hennies

Sarah Hennies (b. 1979, Louisville, KY) is a composer based in upstate New York whose work is concerned with a variety of musical, sociopolitical, and psychological issues including queer & trans identity, love, intimacy, psychoacoustics, and percussion. She is primarily a composer of small chamber works, but is also active in improvisation, film, performance art, and dance. She presents her work internationally as both a composer and percussionist with notable performances at Le Guess Who (Utrecht), Festival Cable (Nantes), send + receive (Winnipeg), O’ Art Space (Milan), The OBEY Convention (Halifax), Cafe Oto (London), ALICE (Copenhagen), and the Edition Festival (Stockholm). As a composer, she has received commissions across a wide array of performers and ensembles including Bearthoven, Bent Duo, Cristian Alvear, Claire Chase, R. Andrew Lee (Denver), LIMINAR, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Two-Way Street, and Yarn/Wire.

Her ground breaking audio-visual work Contralto (2017) explores transfeminine identity through the elements of “voice feminization” therapy, featuring a cast of transgender women accompanied by a dense and varied musical score for string quartet and three percussionists. The work has been in high demand since its premiere, with numerous performances taking place around North America, Europe, and Australia and was one of four finalists for the 2019 Queer|Art Prize.

She is the recipient of a 2019 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award, a 2016 fellowship in music/sound from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and has received additional support from New Music USA, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County.

equipment in the electronic music studio
equipment in the electronic music studio