Dr Simon Atkinson

Job: Principal Lecturer

Faculty: Computing, Engineering and Media

School/department: Leicester Media School

Research group(s): Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre (MTIRC), Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT)

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

T: +44 (0)116 250 6035

E: satkinson@dmu.ac.uk

W: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/mtirc


Personal profile

Simon is Principal Lecturer in Music, Technology and Innovation and has worked at De Montfort University since 2000.  He is a member of the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre, and 2004-2012 was Subject Leader for the area.  His work is primarily in musical composition made possible through digital technologies, however he has worked in a diverse and eclectic range of musical projects, mediums and contexts over the years.  He is also committed to making a contribution to the wider understanding and appreciation of contemporary music, particularly electroacoustic and experimental electronic musics.  This influences the thrust of his scholarly work, as well as forming the impetus behind past work in concert production and promotion, cross-art form collaboration, and community arts projects.  He was a founding member of the Scottish group invisibEARts and he co-directs the AHRC and UNESCO-funded Electroacoustic Resource Site (EARS) project (www.ears.dmu.ac.uk) which is hosted at De Montfort.

Simon studied for his first degree in Music at the University of East Anglia, graduating in 1990.  During this time his interest in music and technology developed whilst a composition student of Denis Smalley.  He was also an active clarinettist, studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  In 1994 has was awarded the University of Edinburgh Faculties of Arts, Divinity and Music Scholarship, which assisted in his completing a PhD in the Faculty of Music in 2000, studying with Peter Nelson and Nigel Osborne.  He has received several funding awards, from the AHRB / AHRC, Scottish Arts Council, The Arts Trust of Scotland, Hope Scott Trust, IUA/Phonos Foundation, Barcelona, and East Midlands Development Agency.  He has enjoyed extended periods as a visiting composer at Pompeu Fabra Univerisity in Barcelona and Stiftelsen Elektro-akustik Musik I Sverige (EMS), Stockholm.  More recently, in 2011, he was a Visiting Erasmus Scholar at the Ionian University, Corfu.  He is currently completing a cycle of digital compositions created from analogue feedback sounds, interiorities, is starting a new collaboration with De Montfort colleague Kerry Franksen, dance and intermedia artist, and is working on a commission from INA-GRM due to be premiered at Radio France in Paris in October 2013.

Research group affiliations

  • Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre
  • Institute of Creative Technologies

Publications and outputs

  • Undertone
    dc.title: Undertone dc.contributor.author: Atkinson, Simon; Patel, Amit D. dc.description: Commissioned for the final event of AHRC-funded Aural Diversity Network (auraldiversity.org) series of research workshops, this work offers an intervention and exploration of issues of access, engagement and participation within the workshop theme of public presentation and concert-making. The work, for vibrating panel, loudspeakers and low frequency sub-woofer was installed and presented at the Attenborough Centre, Leicester, January 2023 (https://attenborougharts.com/).
  • Meditation
    dc.title: Meditation dc.contributor.author: Atkinson, Simon dc.description: An original artistic work and musical performance, premiered Cultural Exchanges Festival, Leicester, February 2020. This new musical work marked the first public presentation of a new duo collaboration with Dushume (Amit D Patel). Dushume is an experimental electronic music artist influenced by Asian underground music and DJ culture and whose work focuses on performing and improvising with purpose built do-it-yourself instruments, and recording these instruments incorporating looping, remixing and re-editing techniques.
  • Nocturne (2020)
    dc.title: Nocturne (2020) dc.contributor.author: Atkinson, Simon dc.description: Original music for the the dance-film, L McGregor and K Francksen Presented at Screen.Dance festival 2020
  • interiorities viii
    dc.title: interiorities viii dc.contributor.author: Atkinson, Simon
  • Embodied Interiorities: Symbiosis and intimacy in 'live-digital' dance and augmented sound performance
    dc.title: Embodied Interiorities: Symbiosis and intimacy in 'live-digital' dance and augmented sound performance dc.contributor.author: Francksen, Kerry; Atkinson, Simon
  • Nocturne aquatique (musical composition)
    dc.title: Nocturne aquatique (musical composition) dc.contributor.author: Atkinson, Simon dc.description.abstract: A musical composition, commissioned by Radio France/INA-GRM, world premiere given at Auditorium Saint-Germain, Paris, 24th January 2015 as part of the Akousma Festival programme. dc.description: 19 minutes duration; original performance version two stereo stems. Performance materials available from the composer.
  • Ultra-sensing: moving beyond 'work' and 'venue' in intermedia art
    dc.title: Ultra-sensing: moving beyond 'work' and 'venue' in intermedia art dc.contributor.author: Atkinson, Simon; Francksen, Kerry dc.description.abstract: Drawing upon Vivian Sobchack’s notions of “ultra-hearing” and “ultra-seeing” (a re- interpretation of Bachelard’s sensory hierarchy), this paper explores the possibility and nature of moving from the ‘work’ (in electroacoustic musical and contemporary choreographical senses respectively) to an intermedial conception of a multisensory and ‘live-digital’ ‘event’ which moves from, through and beyond the ‘concrete’, towards a rhythmical space that is, in the words of Don Ihde ‘a deliberate decentering of (the) dominant tradition(s) in order to discover what may be missing’. The authors’ investigation into the taxonomies between sonic worlds, image generation and movement making, in a recent and on-going collaboration, therefore engages in the imaginative potential of an ‘event’ (in Massumi’s terms) where the modulation of acousmatic sound, image and movement becomes enlivened beyond the fixed dimensions of each respective discipline. Moreover, besides exploring the potential connections between sound, image and the body, the authors have been searching for a way to create environments that stimulate poetic relationships beyond the normal compositional opportunities afforded by each of their respective areas. This has encouraged a situation were technological and technical processes leads one to respond to the qualities of things, which in turn has encouraged an epistemology of materiality – not fixed in form – but open to the nuances that flow between them. Indeed, in terms of the integral nature of ‘fixing’ movement and image qualities in determining the nature of the ‘live’ or ‘performative’, there have emerged some interesting connections with post-Schaefferian musical practice. As Hansen describes, “At the heart of this endeavor is a conviction that today’s microtemporal digital technologies do not simply impact human sensory experience from the outside, but rather materialize a potentiality that characterizes sensory experience from its very origin...”. In consequence, a central concern has been how each of the constituent parts of the unfolding ‘event’ can then remain in flux, or better said remain un-fixed (the term ‘event’ and not ‘work’ is used purposefully here to avoid the idea that what is created is a fixed piece of work) in order to tap into sensory experience proper. Parallels relating to affect, interpretation and meaningfulness between electrocoustic and live-digital dance practices and audience experiences will be drawn. Notions of intimacy, central to this ongoing work, will be explored in relation to the conference theme; that is to say, between ‘live’ and digital, between eye and ear, between movement and digital image, and between performance and intermedia ‘environment’ and audience. Given the centrality of space as well as temporality in this endeavor, the authors continue to explore where such practice should happen; it seems already not in the concert hall or traditional dance venue...
  • Three Modulations for Mute Synth II No. 3 (musical composition)
    dc.title: Three Modulations for Mute Synth II No. 3 (musical composition) dc.contributor.author: Atkinson, Simon
  • About the Electroacoustic Resource Site (EARS) Project
    dc.title: About the Electroacoustic Resource Site (EARS) Project dc.contributor.author: Landy, Leigh; Atkinson, Simon dc.description.abstract: A brief description of the EARS project
  • Three Modulations for Mute Synth II (cycle of electroacoustic musical compositions) (2013)
    dc.title: Three Modulations for Mute Synth II (cycle of electroacoustic musical compositions) (2013) dc.contributor.author: Atkinson, Simon


Click here for a full listing of Simon Atkinson's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Recent compositions

Interiorities a cycle of digital musical compositions created from analogue feedback sounds, commissioned by Society for Electroacoustic Music in Sweden.

Voices of Leicester: sound and mixed media installation, Phoenix Square Digital Arts Centre, Leicester (January 6th-31st 2010)

Selected writings

The Electroacoustic Resource Site (EARS) project: www.ears.dmu.ac.uk.

Organised Sound, Volume 15, Issue 01: Sonic Imagery, December 2009, Cambridge University Press (Editor).

Abstraction, reality and the loudspeaker. Elektroakustische Musik – Technologie, Ästhetik Und Theorie Als Herausforderung An Die Musikwissenschaft. (eds. Böhme-Mehner, T., Mehner, K., Wolf, M.) pp83-92. Verlag Die Blaue Eule, Essen. ISBN 978-3-89924-230-0.

Interpretation and musical signification in acousmatic listening. Organised Sound, Volume 12, Issue 02, 2007, pp 113-122. Cambridge University Press.

'The ElectroAcoustic Resource Site (EARS): philosophy, foundation and aspirations¹. (w/ L Landy) Organised Sound, Volume 9, Issue 01, 2004, pp79-85. Cambridge University Press.

About the Electroacoustic Resource Site (EARS) Project. (w/ L Landy) Sonic Arts Network Diffusion. November 2003, 4.

Introducing the ElectroAcoustic Resource Site (EARS). International Computer Music Conference 2003 Proceedings. Singapore pp115-118.

Research interests/expertise

Musical composition; electroacoustic music, acousmatic music and experimental electronic music; C20th & contemporary musics; music and technology; sound spatialisation.

Areas of teaching

Composition and creative projects, aesthetics, theory, history, sound and image.


  • PhD (University of Edinburgh) 2000
  • BA (Hons) Music (University of East Anglia) 1990

Courses taught

Simon currently leads the following modules within the Music, Technology and Innovation BA (Hons) and Music, Technology and Performance BA (Hons) undergraduate programmes: 

  • MUST2005 Sound and Image; 
  • MUST2008 Composing with Technology; 
  • MUST3021 Advanced Creative Projects.  

He supervises final year Dissertations and Final Projects and contributes to first year modules MUST1008 Creating with Technology and MUST1009 Digital Cultures. He has also contributed to a range of other modules beyond music e.g. Media, Film, Dance, Live Art, Performing Arts, as well as the MA/MSc in Creative Technologies.

Honours and awards

  • Faculties of Arts, Divinity and Music Scholarship, University of Edinburgh
  • Musical composition Nocturne selected at 4e Rencontres Internationale de Compositeurs de Musique Acousmatique, Paris (2001), with subsequent performance, Salle du cinema, UNESCO, Paris.

Membership of external committees

  • Founding member of invisblEARts (Scotland)
  • Member of peer review committee for eOREMA, an online journal dedicated to the analysis of electroacoustic music

Forthcoming events

World premiere of commission from INA-GRM, Paris October 2013.


Conference attendance

Visiting Erasmus Scholar, Ionian University, May/June 2011.

International Computer Music Conference, August 2011.

Invited talked at University of Edinburgh Music Research Seminar Series, February 2010.

‘Sense, signs and subjectivity: the search for a coherent theoretical account of signification in acousmatic music.’ Keynote lecture, University of Birmingham, Department of Music, Musicology Research Seminar Series & Centre for Composition and Associated Studies, March 2009.

Invited talk at University of East Anglia School of Music Research Seminar Series, February 2009.

'Abstraction, reality and the loudspeaker'.  Paper given at Institut für Musikwissenschaft, University of Leipzig, at Electroacoustic Music: Technologies, Aesthetics, and Theories - a Musicological Challenge, September 2007.

'Inscribing Instabilities'.  At the invitation of Elektroakustik Musik i Sverige (EMS), Stockholm, February 2007.

'Musical semiotics and electroacoustic music studies’.  Electroacoustic Music Studies Network Conference 2006, Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, October 2006.

'The Electroacoustic Resource Site (EARS): philosophy, foundation and aspirations'.  A century of innovation involving sound and technology: resources, discourse, analytical tools.  Conference organised and hosted by IRCAM, Paris, in collaboration with Sorbonne, INA/GRM, the Musée de la musique (Paris), and Electronic Music Foundation, October 2003.

Current research students

Motje Wolf, David Holland, Ruibo Zhang


Externally funded research grants information

  • Being Heard, East Midlands Development Agency (linguistic and cultural diversity/citizenship/artistic creative writing and sonic arts project) with John Richards (De Montfort), Phoenix Arts, BBC Radio Leicester and several Leicester City Secondary Schools (2005).
  • Electroacoustic Resource Site Project (EARS), co-director: UNESCO 2005; AHRC Resource Enhancement Scheme 2003; AHRB Small Grant Award 2001.

Internally funded research project information

  • RIT2: Interactive learning of foundational concepts related to electroacoustic music using the EARS site as its frame of reference w/ Leigh Landy, Rob Weale, John Anderson, 2008.


Professional esteem indicators

Simon has acted as reviewer for several ICMC (International Computer Music Conference) and EMS (Electroacoustic Music Studies Network) international conferences, and frequently reviews for the CUP journal, Organised Sound.  In the past he acted as a reviewer the UK Sonic Arts Network, and last year (2011) was committee member for the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology.  He is a member of the peer review committee for the new online journal eOREMA (analysis of electroacoustic music).

He has acted as external examiner for undergraduate (BA Music, BA Creative Music Technology, ARU) and taught postgraduate (MA Music for Media, ARU and MMus, University of East Anglia) courses, as well as examining research students and providing external consultancy and review for programme review and validation.

Selected International Performances

Musica Acoustica Festival, Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing; Hilltown New Music Festival, Ireland; International Computer Music Conference 2011; Ionian Academy/Ionian University, Corfu (solo curated concert); Royal College of Music, Stockholm; Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia / CEMAT, Rome; International Digital Arts Week 2010, Xi’an Academy of Music and Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts, China; Sibelius-Akatemia, Helsinki; El Centro Mexicano para la Musica/CMMAS, Mexico City; Fylkingen, Stockholm; Paine Concert Hall, Harvard University; Logos Foundation, Ghent; Ninth Annual Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival; EuCue, Salle de Concert Oscar Peterson, Montreal; CIMESP/FASM, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Elektronischer Fruhling Festival, Vienna; International Symposium on Musical Acoustics; International Computer Music Conference, Berlin; Brazilian Symposium on Computer Music, Canela; Elektroplex Festival, Vienna; International Festival of Electroacoustic Music, Santa Fe; Musica Verticale, Museum of Modern Art, Rome.

Simon Atkinson