Originally from the San Francisco bay area in California, American composer and multimedia artist Cole D. Ingraham holds a B.M. in Music Composition from the University of the Pacific, an M.F.A. in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College, and a D.M.A. in Music Composition from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Currently Cole is living in Shanghai, China teaching music composition, theory, technology, and flute at FaceArt Institute of Music. He is an active performer, improviser, creative programmer, both as a soloist and a collaborator. His aesthetic involves experimentalism, noise, drone, programming as performance, and all things abstract.
Recently Ingraham has collaborated with German pianist, improviser, and composer Stefan Schultze. The two first met during Schultze’s residency at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in March 2014. After receiving an extremely positive reception from a performance at FaceArt Institute of Music, the two decided to continue to perform as a duo in the future. Since then, they have toured across Germany: performing in Berlin, Weimar, Cologne, Magdeburg, Einbeck, Hannover, and Leipzig, as well as Asia: Shanghai, Suzhou, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. The duo’s unique style mixes prepared piano, flute, live electronics, and visuals in a variety of aesthetics including experimental textures, contemporary jazz, purely improvised and through composed works.
Since 2008 Ingraham has performed around the world as part of the international network laptop quartet Glitch Lich. As a group they have developed a large amount of software to allow them to perform their unique brand of audio/visual art in real time, with our members distributed across the US, UK, and China. The quartet has been very active internationally with notable performances including the 2010 SuperCollider Symposium in Berlin Germany, the 2011 and 2013 Network Music Festivals in Birmingham UK, the 2012 International Computer Music Conference in Ljublana Slovenia, New Interfaces for Musical Expression in Seoul, Korea in 2013, and the first ever Algoraves in Tokyo, Japan in 2014.
In May 2013 Ingraham invited over forty international electronic musicians to Boulder, Colorado as the organizer of the International SuperCollider Symposium. The conference was a week long exhibition of performances, lectures, and installation art by men and women from South America, the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. Having had wonderful experiences performing at previous symposia, it had been a dream of his to host the event himself someday. Through the great generosity of the University of Colorado and various local businesses with their support and use of their spaces, the conference was able to showcase an amazing array of works and expose the Boulder community to a wide variety of styles and aesthetics they may otherwise never experience. The symposium not only featured artists from around the world but also showcased a wide variety of genres, styles, and approaches. Performances spanned the gamut from extremely contemplative multichannel soundscapes to algorithmic dance music, while lecture topics ranged from approaches, to coding, to augmented instruments, to uses in research, and much more.
One of his primary focuses for the past five years has been tuning systems other than the current standard in Western music. With a particular interest in just intonation (the harmonic relationship between frequencies found in nature) Ingraham’s music employs many “notes between the notes” in a very sonorous manner. These tunings however are impossible to achieve on many standard instruments with fixed intonation. Therefore he primarily works with instruments with some pitch flexibility. In addition to existing instruments, Ingraham has build a number of original instruments. These include the Pentachord: a 1.5m, bowed instrument with 5 piano strings, and the Overtone Bonang: a percussion instrument consisting of a series of tuned aluminum disks.
Beyond the realm of acoustic instruments, he regularly writes software instruments and systems to realize his musical ideas. These range from stand-alone programs, to custom synthesized instruments and effects, to novel analogue and/or digital interfaces for controlling the software. Particularly of note is a custom app for the iPad called Un:Limit. This is a multitouch interface with a variable number of “virtual strings” and visual guides to aid in locating various tunings. The app also responds to the amount of surface area the performer’s finger is covering, adding an extra level of expression control. Un:Limit has been used in a number of performances of works written both specifically for it and those originally for other instruments.
Creative coding, programming as a means of creating art, is a central part of Ingraham’s work. This is not only true for his live coding performances, but for all aspects of his creative output. This stems from the idea that code is the most direct way to interact with the computer itself (Ingraham’s instrument of choice). This allows a great deal of flexibility and creativity not always present with pre-made software. Because of this, most of his creative work is created entirely from code, with minimal reliance on commercial software.