Cristyn Magnus composer

News & Events


  • Ph.D. in Music, University of California, San Diego. 2010.
    topic:  Evolutionary Sound: a Non-Symbolic Approach to Creating Sonic Art with Genetic Algorithms
    committee:  Miller Puckette (chair), Charles Curtis, Shlomo Dubnov, Adriene Jenik, Shahrokh Yadegari

  • M.A. in Music, University of California, San Diego. 2003.
    thesis:  "Evolving Waveforms with Genetic Algorithms."
    committee:  Miller Puckette (chair), F. Richard Moore, Rand Steiger

  • B.S. in Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego. 2000.

Employment, Fellowships, and Commissions

  • Instructor:  UAlbany Computer Science & Informatics Departments (2013-present)
  • Sound Designer:  UCSD Visual Arts Department (2011)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow:  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2011)
  • Visiting Researcher:  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2008-2010)
  • Instructor:  UCSD Music Department (2007)
  • Teaching Assistant:  UCSD Music Department (2001-2007)
  • Commission:  Snapshots for Adriene Jenik, SPECFLIC (2005)
  • Research Assistant:  developed course materials for Musical Acoustics course (2003)
  • Research Fellowship funded by California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology:  musical neural networks (Summer 2001)
  • Research Assistant:  programmed audio spatialization tools (2000-2001)


  • with P.D. Magnus and Christy Mag Uidhir. "Judging Covers." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. 71(4): 361-370. Fall 2013.
  • "Aesthetics, Score Generation, and Sonification in a Game Piece." Proceedings of the 2006 International Computer Music Conference. pp. 262-265. 2006.
  • "Evolutionary Musique Concrète." Applications of Evolutionary Computing: EvoWorkshops 2006, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp. 688-695. 2006.
  • "Evolving electroacoustic music: the application of genetic algorithms to time-domain waveforms." Proceedings of the 2004 International Computer Music Conference, pp. 173-176. 2004.

Selected Presentations

  • "Evolutionary Sound." Invited talk at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Jan 2010).
  • "Evolutionary Electroacoustic Music." Invited talk at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Dec 2008).
  • "Genes, Games, & Sound." Invited talk at Smith College (March 2007).
  • "Aesthetics, Score Generation, and Sonificaiton in a Game Piece." Presented at International Computer Music Conference (November 2006).
  • "vs. computer: an interactive performance game." Presented at UC Digital Arts Research Network Graduate Research Exchange (April 2006).
  • "Evolutionary Musique Concrète." Presented at EvoWorkshops (April 2006).
  • "Evolving electroacoustic music: the application of genetic algorithms to time-domain waveforms." Presented at International Computer Music Conference (November 2004).

Selected Original Works

  • "Pitch vs. Computer" (2014-2015) percussion and interactive electronics
    • September 2015: performed by Jeremy Muller at ICMC (Denton, TX)
  • "Toy Piano vs. Computer" (2011-2012) toy piano and interactive electronics
    • August 30, 2012: performed by Cristyn Magnus at Upstate Artists Guild (Albany, NY)
  • "percussion vs. percussion" (2011-2012) percussion and interactive electronics
    • March 24, 2012: performed by Robert Esler & Lisa Tolentino at Play! Festival (Tempe, AZ)
  • "Eartude 2" (2010-2011) video score for audience
    • September 29, 2016: Portugese translation by Fabio Oliveira for Dada Spring Festival ( Goiânia, Brazil)
    • March 23-24, 2012: Play! Festival (Tempe, AZ)
    • January 21-22, 2011: Sonic Diasporas Festival (San Diego, CA)
  • "Eartude 1" (2006-2007) video score for audience
    • September 29, 2016: Portugese translation by Fabio Oliveira for Dada Spring Festival ( Goiânia, Brazil)
    • March 23-24, 2012: Play! Festival (Tempe, AZ)
    • September 30, 2011: Wired Kingdom (Troy, NY)
    • January 21-22, 2011: Sonic Diasporas Festival (San Diego, CA)
    • February 29, 2008: SPARK Festival of Electronic Music and Arts (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
    • February 13, 2007: New Music Forum (UCSD)
  • "Combat Music" (2005-2006) game-mediated strategic improvisation, in collaboration with P.D. Magnus
    • March 23-24, 2012: Play! Festival (Tempe, AZ)
    • April 30, 2009: performed by the Tinntinabulate ensemble (EMPAC, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
    • May 11, 2007: vocal improvisation with Jeffery Treviño (UCSD)
  • "vs. computer" (2005-2006) for percussion and interactive electronics, in collaboration with Robert Esler
    • May 12, 2006: Spring Festival of New Music (UCSD)
    • April 21, 2006: California Exchange Concert (UC Santa Barbara)
  • "Snapshots" (2005) for stereo tape
    • April 10-12, 2006: Process Revealed, Artpool P60 (Budapest, Hungary)
    • October 28, 2005: music for Adriene Jenik’s SPECFLIC installation (UCSD)
  • "Mirror" (2004) for chorus and found instruments
    • May 22, 2011: performed by Aperiodic at Elastic Arts Foundation (Chicago, IL)
    • May 23, 2004: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito (Solana Beach)
  • "Run Φ" (2003-2004)
    • "run16" for stereo tape and tenor saxophone, in collaboration with Tracy McMullen
      • January 31, 2004: Powering Up/Powering Down festival (UCSD)
    • "run12" for 4-channel tape
      • November 10, 2003: Critical Studies and Experimental Practices Forum (UCSD)
    • "run5" for stereo tape
      • April 13, 2006: California Exchange Concert of Electronic Media (Mills College)
      • November 6, 2003: New Music Forum (UCSD)
  • "Lamination" (2003) for solo flute
    • May 4, 2003: Spring Festival of New Music (San Diego)
  • "Pantomime Grasshopper" (2002) for percussion and two voices, in collaboration with Sarah Hennies & Anne-Marie Dicce
    • April 27, 2003: Spring Festival of New Music (San Diego)
  • "At Once by Other Ones" (2002) for contrabass & live electronics, in collaboration with Christopher Williams
    • September 5, 2005: Listening Room, International Computer Music Conference (Barcelona, Spain)
    • April 25, 2002: Southern California Computer Music Exchange Concert (Stanford University)
    • April 7, 2002: Southern California Computer Music Exchange Concert (California Institute of the Arts)
  • with Hilary Rowan, “An Inherent Desire to Attain Balance” (2000) performance piece for dancers and balloonists
    • April 27, 2003: Spring Festival of New Music (San Diego)
    • November 17, 2000: Sweetooth Theatre—Benefit for Revitalization (San Diego)
  • "Evidence from the Frog Story" (2000) 6 channel electroacoustic tape
    • November 4, 2004: New Music Forum (UCSD)
    • November 5, 2000: Sonic Circuits 2000 Student Perspectives (University of Minnesota)
    • June 14, 2000: Best of ICAM concert (UCSD)
  • "No Food or Drinks in the Lab" (1998) stereo electroacoustic tape
    • May 1, 2000: New Music Forum (UCSD)



  • Process Revealed (2006), excerpt of algorithmic tape composition "Snapshots" (DVD released as part of the 4th European Workshop on Evolutionary Music and Art, in conjunction with EuroGP2006, EvoCOP2006, & EvoWorkshops2006).
  • Sound check one (2005), curated by Charles Curtis. "run12" algorithmic tape composition by Cristyn Magnus (UCSD Music Department).

computer implementations

  • Imposition and Consequences (2007), by Derek Keller. implemented real-time, interactive electronics for "Attitudes...self-reflection" by Derek Keller (Tzadik).
  • Solos and Duos for Guitar (2004), by Colin McAllister and Derek Keller. implemented real-time, interactive electronics for "Attitudes...self-reflection" by Derek Keller (Old King Cole Productions).
  • Volume 1: Electronic Works (2001), by Morton Subotnick. audio spatialization software with Peter Otto, CD & DVD (Mode).

Selected Performances & Implementations

  • "Discotrope" by Amy Alexander and Annina Rüst (2011), sound design.
    • September 2012: ISEA2012 Downtown Block Party, Albuquerque, NM
    • September 2012: Zero1 Biennial (e)MERGE Street Festival, San Jose, CA
    • June 2012: HM157, Los Angeles, CA
    • June 2012: Hollywood Fringe opening party, Los Angeles, CA
    • March 2012: Cal-IT2 Gallery, Cal-IT2, La Jolla, CA
  • "Uuq" by N F Chase (2010), voice, percussion, & electronics
    • April 17, 2010: Orchestra and Choir Concert (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
  • "Memetic Orchestra #2" by Doug Van Nort (2009), melodica
    • November 8, 2009: Music With A View (The Flea Theater, NYC)
  • Improvisation with Net vs. Net Collective, voice, percussion, electronics
    • June 3, 2009: Net vs. Net Collective (Networked performance: CCRMA, Banff, RPI, SARC, Santiago)
  • "Tension Study III-Music for Liars" by Sean Griffin (2009), built hardware interface and implemented interactive electronics
    • January 17, 2009: Hitting Things, Saying Things (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
  • "Now ...and then?" by Kristin Norderval (2008), laptop
    • April 27, 2008: Telemergence: Deep Listeners Composers (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, UCSD, and Stanford University)
  • "SVEN (Surveillance Video Entertainment Network) - aka AI to the People" by Amy Alexander, Wo jciech Kosma, Vincent Rabaud with Nikhil Rasiwasia and Jesse Gilbert (2007), programming consultant
    • June - September 2007: Whitney Museum (New York)
  • "Clocker" by Alvin Lucier (1978), implemented digital version for percussionist Greg Stuart
    • May 4, 2005: Greg Stuart, DMA Recital (UCSD)
  • "Sketchbook IV for violin, violoncello and live electronics" by Kueiju Lin (2004), implemented real-time interactive electronics
    • July 2004: Acanthes Festival (Metz, France)
  • "Cobra" by John Zorn (conducted ensemble),
    • May 11, 2004: Spring Festival of New Music (UCSD)
  • "Attitudes...self-reflection" (2003) by Derek Keller, implemented and performed real-time, interactive electronics
    • November 12, 2004: Butterfly Effect III (Athens, Georgia)
    • November 12, 2004: Digital Media, ART 2800 Transmedia/Intermediate Computer: "The Use of Computer Interactivity in Syncretic/Hybrid Music," UGA Lamar Dodd School of Art (Athens, Georgia)
    • November 10, 2004: 1st Annual Electric Music Concert, UGA School of Music (Athens, Georgia)
  • "Before the Butterfly" (2001) by Morton Subotnick, digital version, developed software implementation for digital version world premiere
    • October 14, 2001: National Conference on Technology and the Orchestra (Carnegie Hall, NY)

Teaching Experience


Mobile Computing.   Mobile Computing is a hands-on seminar course in which teams of students spend the term developing video games using the platform of their choice (Android, iOS, or multiple platforms) over the course of the semester.

Video Game Development.   Video Game Development is a hands-on seminar course in which teams of students spend the term developing video games using the platform of their choice (Unity, Unreal, pygame, InteliJ, etc.) over the course of the semester.

Data Structures.   Data Structures introduces Computer Science students to Object Oriented Design, Recursion, Linked Lists, Stacks, Queues, and Trees.

Programming for Informatics.   A project oriented programming class.

Computing and Information.   Computing and Information is introductory survey course in Computer Science. It covers basic Web Design (HTML/CSS), programming (Python), and Data Analysis.

Computer Music I.   Computer Music I introduces students to programming in PD or Max/MSP, various sampling and synthesis techniques.

Course Design

Musical Acoustics.   I co-designed a musical acoustics course to be taught by Miller Puckette. We decided together on the topics the course should cover and on a timeline in which to cover them. We would assign a weekly problem sets, weekly interactive labs, and a final project. I contributed questions to the weekly problem sets and worked out the problems clearly with step-by-step explanations for TAs whose physics background might be rusty. I designed and programmed weekly interactive labs to give students hands-on understanding of principles such as the Nyquist frequency, equal-loudness curves, and just noticeable differences. Since the class was intended primarily for music and art students, I came up with the final project of building and playing a musical instrument. This would require them to figure out how to use what they'd learned in the course to produce a physical product and would prepare them to go on to do sound art far better than an abstract final exam.

Teaching Assistant

Music History and Appreciation.   For Contemporary Music, Symphony, and Introduction to Western Music, I taught two sections of 20–50 students for each course. I held office hours, graded assignments, and provided the instructor with feedback on the course. I gave a lecture on contemporary symphonic music for the Symphony course. For Introduction to Western Music, I maintained the course web page and interactive message board.

Theory and Composition.   For Musical Literacy, I taught sections of 20–30 students that met several times a week for two terms. Topics included theory, ear training, and introductory composition. I also graded assignments and provided exercises.

Music Technology.   For Musical Acoustics, Computer Music I & II, Musical Psychoacoustics, and Recording Studio Techniques, nine terms in all, I held extensive office hours for one-on-one and small-group tutoring and mentoring. I interfaced with Academic Computing Service and helped maintain the instructional studios and computer labs. I provided instructors with feedback on the courses, designed and graded labs and assignments, and gave several lectures.

General Teaching.   At The Charter School of San Diego, developed Computer Literacy course, taught workshops in writing, computing, and math. Tutored all subjects grade 8–12, with a focus on math (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus).

Other Experience

Radio and TV.   I worked at KSDT, UCSD's student run radio station, from 1993 to 1998. I also worked at UCSD's student run TV station from its inception in 1995 to 1998. I held several positions, culminating in general manager of both stations. I designed and maintained the radio station's web page and was instrumental in branching out to internet radio. I produced and directed Noisebox, a simulcast TV/radio show that showcased local artists. I trained DJs in audio production and broadcast.

Live sound Reinforcement.   I worked at the Che Cafe, a concert venue, from 1993 to 1999. My duties included concert programming, stage management, and live sound reinforcement. I have worked with artists such as Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Jimmy Eat World, Black Heart Procession, Pinback, The Promise Ring, The Locust, Cat Power, and Blonde Redhead.

Academic Service

  • Deep Listening Art/Science Conference Technical Coordinator (2013)
  • California Exchange Concert organizer (2006)
  • Technology Committee Graduate Representative (2001-2002, 2004-2005)
  • Teknika Radica: Webmaster & co-author of successful UCIRA grant application (2003)
  • Spring Festival of New Music Committee (2002-2003)
  • New Music Forum Committee (2001-2003)


References available on request.