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Professor Craig Vear

Job: Professor of Digital Performance (Music)

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities and Performing Arts

Research group(s): Music Technology and Innovation; Performance and Digital Media

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 207 8131



Personal profile

For more than two decades Professor Craig Vear has established himself as an internationally recognised composer of experimental music with technology, and recently as a scholar of digital performance and music. He is currently running two research projects: The Living Score which investigates the changes in musicianship and creativity afforded by digital technology and its transformation of "the score". This ranges from images of paper-scores shown on iPad's through to robotics and A.I. embedded in software generating scores. And Embodied Intelligence in Music that investigates the meeting point of embodied cognition, artificial intelligence, music composition and performance, game and software philosophy, and R&D for the entertainment industry.

His research is practice-Based and operates on a dual thematic axis of 1) digital creativity in music performance, and 2) innovation in the use of digital music in performance. Peer reviews of his contribution to this field have commented on how his research is ‘a major point of reference in computer music interactivity, live composition and improvisation’; ‘enhance practice by creators and researchers in interactive composition’ … ‘particularly in the case of ensembles involving human and computer performers’; ‘will enhance thinking and practice by creators and researchers’.

Vear has performed his monograph compositions widely throughout the world. His entire collection of software scores (2008-16) are published through Composers Edition (CE) a music publishing company specializing in living composers of international significance. International organizations have commissioned his monograph compositions as exemplars of innovation. 2003 Stretch music and sound installation, commissioned by Chicago Humanities Festival (the largest annual festival for arts and humanities, since 1990 has become the largest organization of its kind in the world). 2005 Falklands Project large-scale composition for musicians and digital technology, commissioned by Falkland Islands Government. 2009 Superfield Mumbai electroacoustic composition, commissioned by Mumbai Festival, India (largest 10-day festival of International Culture and art in Maharashtra). 2012 Like a Fish out of Water soundtrack for iPad app performance, commissioned by 2012 Cultural Olympiad/ English National Ballet. 2012 Poetry Parnassus solo sound installation, by 2012 Cultural Olympiad /South Bank Centre (SBC est. 1.5 million audience). 2012 Three Last Letters large-scale composition for 9 musicians, commissioned by Vale of Glamorgan International Festival (festival of contemporary music since 1969, known for its engagement with significant international living composers). 2011 A Sentimental Journey a Digital Opera commissioned by Arts Council England, Laurence Sterne Trust and published by Composers Edition, was cited in the Cambridge Companion to Opera Studies (Till, N ed. 2014) as an exemplar of how ‘the future may involve very different concepts of the performance space of opera, and of what constitutes an operatic audience or an operatic event’.

He has published his scholarly texts exclusively in leading international peer-reviewed journals such as Digital Creativity and International Journal of Performance Art and Digital Media. He is a member of the editorial board for the International Journal of Performance and Digital Media, and guest reviewer for International Journal of Creative Computing; Research in Drama Education; PeerJ and Organised Sound. In 2012 he was guest editor of a special Digital Opera edition of IJPADM. From 2016 he is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.

He has a successful funding portfolio in excess of £400k. In 2014 he was awarded £105,000 as PI on a Digital R&D for the Arts research project that developed an innovative mixed reality system that enabled children and young people to engage in creative digital play for enhanced learning and communication skill development. The funding was granted through a consortium of AHRC, National Endowment for Science and the Arts, and Arts Council England

Research group affiliations

Research interests/expertise

Intermedia composition, digital opera, sound theatre, experimental composition, interdisciplinary music.

Areas of teaching

Intermediality, digital performance, human-computer interaction, AI and performance


1992 BA (Hons) Performing Arts (Music) – De Montfort University (nee Leicester Polytechnic)

2006 PGCE – University of Huddersfield

2011 Ph. D. – composition portfolio – University of Salford

Courses taught

  • Performing Arts BA (Hons) 

Honours and awards

2011    Winner OLIVIER Award Best Entertainment (as core design team for Railway Children)

2011    Nomination OLIVIER Award Best Sound Design

2011    Nomination Canadian DORA Award for Best sound design and composition (with Christopher Madin)

2009    Finalist VII CONFLUENCIAS – electroacoustic competition 2009

2008    Longlist: PRSF New Music Award 2008

2007    Leverhulme Artist in Residence – Centre for Environmental and Marine Sciences (University of Hull) 

Membership of external committees

Member of AHRC Peer Review College

Membership of professional associations and societies

PRS/MCPS; Jan 2002, Full membership


Forthcoming events

2012 Three Last Letters (composition for live sextet, voices and diffused soundscape)
Commissioned by Vale of Glamorgan Festival
Premiere: Barry Arts Depot (7th May 2012)
Duration: 35’

2012 Like A Fish Out of Water
Commissioned by English National Ballet, Cultural Olympiad 2012, in association with Seven Sisters Group
Premiere: Brockwell Lido, July 23rd 2012
Duration: 35’

Conference attendance

Symposium co-organiser (with Dr Áine Sheil Department of Music, University of York) Digital Opera: New Means and New Meanings 9-10 May 2011, University of York Music Research Centre

‘Exploring a Theatre of Sounds and Memory’ + performance of Superfield [Mumbai] TaPRA, University of Plymouth, 8 September 2009

‘Superfield [Mumbai] - the see-hearing dimension of sound art’ I Hear Too (Improving Heritage Experience through Acoustic Reality and Audio Research) conference at the British Library 18 May 2009

‘The acoustic DNA of Mumbai and Antarctica’ Theatre Noise conference, Central School of Speech and Drama, 25 April 2009

‘Staging Sounds: The Intersection of Music and Theatre’ RMA research Students Conference, Kings College, London, 9 January 2009

Popular Music Research Centre Colloquium, University of Salford, 30 October 2008

Externally funded research grants information

2012 Three Last Letters commission PI

2012 A Sentimental Journey premiere PI (including York Theatre Royal funding  

2011 Found Voices Tipping Point Commission, R&D (PI with Joe Duddell)  

2011 Found Voices BBC Philharmonic commitment (PI with Joe Duddell)  

2010 A Sentimental Journey R&D – ACE Grants for the Arts:  

2009 Superfield [Mumbai] commission, Bradford City Council:  

2008 Research Bursary University of Salford:

Case studies

2010-12 The Railway Children (as core production member: Sound Designer/ multi speaker diffusion)

  • Simultaneous performances London (2010, 11), Toronto (2011)
  • Audience numbers IRO 500,000
  • Olivier award for Best Entertainment 2011 LINK
  • Olivier nomination for Best Sound Design 2011 LINK
  • Canadian DORA Award nomination for best sound design/ composition 2011 LINK

Publication on CD

2012 Esk (Album). Craig Vear 3Leaves. Reviews at

2011 Antarctica (Album). Craig Vear, Gruenrekorder Digital Download. Reviews at 

2010 Summer Houses. (Album). Craig Vear, Mille Plateuax MPCLU01. Reviews at  Total sales IRO 600

2010 Aud Raplh Roas’le (Album). Craig Vear, Gruenrekorder. Reviews at  Limited Edition Sold Out

Additionally, from 2010 Earth Ear are the distributor for Antarctica DVD/Book/CD in North America and Asia , and from 2012 Gruenrekorder will distribute to Europe and Africa. Total 

2012 Raghu Dixit unplugged in York - Producer of live album. Release spring 2012 estimated sales IRO 20,000+

2010 Big Meeting by David Lumsdaine (as mastering producer). Reviews at LINK sales IRO 700

Craig Vear