Kurt James Werner
    Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 5488

    For media contact email comms.office@qub.ac.uk
    or call +44(0)2890 973091.

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    Dr. Kurt James Werner has been a Lecturer in Audio at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) of Queen's University Belfast since early 2017. Just before then, he earned a Ph.D. in Computer-Based Music Theory and Acoustics (CBMTA) at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). Even earlier (2011), he completed dual undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.) in Music Theory and Composition and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

    Research Interests

    Dr. Werner is active as a researcher of digital audio signal processing, electronic circuit theory, and music history. He is a specialist on Wave Digital Filters and other topics in physical modeling and virtual analog. Beyond modeling vintage musical instruments and audio effects, his research enables computer modeling of circuit-bent instruments and the creation of new instruments and audio effects based on circuit-theoretic principles. His historical study of music technology interrogates the circuitry of classic instruments such as the Roland TR-808 through the lens of organology, popular music studies, and circuit theory, reclaiming a holistic story through deep investigations of hobbyist communications, commercial and home-made electronic instruments, and advances in electronics practice. His doctoral dissertation “Virtual Analog Modeling of Audio Circuitry Using Wave Digital Filters” greatly expanded the class of circuits that can be modeled using the Wave Digital Filter approach.


    As a composer, Dr. Werner's music references elements of chiptunes, musique concrète, circuit bending, algorithmic/generative composition, and breakbeat. An album of his music (schism method, 2012) is available online at https://kurtjameswerner.bandcamp.com/album/schism-method

    Achievements and Distinctions

    Dr. Werner's work has been published as journal articles in the IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers and Applied Sciences and as a book chapter in Aural Architecture in Byzantium: Music, Acoustics, and Ritual (ed. Bissera Pentcheva, 2017).

    He is a regular contributor to conferences including the International Conference on Digital Audio Effects (DAFx), conventions of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), the IEEE Workshop on Applications of Signal Processing to Audio and Acoustics (WASPAA), the European Signal Processing Conference (EUSIPCO), meetings of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and the Acoustical Society of Japan (ASJ), the Sound and Music Computing (SMC) conference, the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) conference, and the IEEE International Symposium on Signals, Circuits, and Systems (ISSCS).

    Dr. Werner has been the recipient of several awards for his research. As first author, he was awarded the WASPAA Best Student Paper Award at the IEEE Workshop on Applications of Signal Processing to Audio and Acoustics (New Paltz, 2015) for his paper "A General and Explicit Formulation for Wave Digital Filters with Multiple/Multiport Nonlinearities and Complicated Topologies," co-authored with V. Nangia, J. O. Smith, and J. S. Abel. As co-author, he won DAFx Best Paper at the 21st International Conference on Digital Audio Effects (Porto, 2018) for the paper "Modelling Time-Varying Reactances Using Wave Digital Filters," by Ó. Bogason and K. J. Werner. He won the AES Best Student Paper Award at the 142nd Convention of the Audio Engineering Society (Berlin, 2017) for the paper "Joint Parameter Optimization of Differentiated Discretization Scheme for Audio Circuits," by F. G. Germain and K. J. Werner. He won DAFx Best Paper Number Three at the 19th International Conference on Digital Audio Effects (Brno, 2016) for the paper "The Fender Bassman 5F6-A Family of Preamplifier Circuits—A Wave Digital Filter Case Study" by W. Ross Dunkel, M. Rest, K. J. Werner, M. J. Olsen, and J. O. Smith. He received a DAFx Best Paper Honorable Mention at the 18th International Conference on Digital Audio Effects (Trodheim, 2015) for the paper "Digitizing the Ibanez Weeping Demon Wah Pedal" by C. Gnegy and K. J. Werner.

    Alongside his published work, Dr. Werner has given several invited keynote and plenary talks including "Recent Progress in Wave Digital Audio Effects" (DAFx 2015, Trondheim) and "Recent Developments in Signal Processing for Audio and Music" (RTSP 2015, Cluj-Napoca). He has also contributed as a speaker to symposia including Les Lutheries Électroniques (Philharmonie de Paris, 2018), Music and Hacking: Instruments, Communities, Values (Musée du quai Branly—Jacques Chirac/IRCAM, 2017), Resonance and Remembrance: An Interdisciplinary Bell Studies Symposium (University of Michigan, 2017), the NI Science Festival (Belfast, 2017), Triple CCRMAlite 40, 50, 80 (Stanford University, 2014), Bone Flute to Auto-Tune: A Conference on Music & Technology in History, Theory and Practice (University of California—Berkeley, 2014), and the Circuit Benders' Ball (Nashville, 2014).


    Dr. Werner primarily lectures on the BSc Audio Engineering pathway and currently teaches on the following modules:
    —MUS 2080: Audio Programming (convenor)
    —MUS 2004: Sonic Arts (convenor)
    —MTE 3000: Portfolio (supervisor: sound design)
    —MUS 3084: Dissertation (supervisor)
    —MUS 3076: Special Project (supervisor)

    Previously, he has been involved in teaching:
    —MTE 2005/2001/2002: Acoustics and Perception (convenor)

    At Stanford University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he acted as teaching assistant for modules on:
    —Introduction to Digital Audio Signal Processing
    —Signal Processing Models in Musical Acoustics
    —Contemporary Composition Techniques (Max/MSP)
    —Composition, Coding, and Performance (Stanford Laptop Orchestra: SLOrk)
    —Introduction to Music Theory
    —Introduction to Tonal Harmony
    —Introduction to Chromatic Harmony
    —Continuation of Chromatic Harmony

    Willingness to take PhD students


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