Max V. Mathews papers, 1953-2011

Mathews, Max V.


20.5. linear feet (16 boxes).
269.2. gigabytes.
The collection includes correspondence, articles, lab notebooks, musical scores, audio recordings, computer files, and other materials related to the professional work of computer music pioneer Max V. Mathews. Correspondents of note include Jean-Claude Risset and Pierre Boulez. Also included are several films by Lillian Schwartz with music by Mathews.
Max V. Mathews, often cited as "the father of computer music, " was born in Columbus, NE on November 13, 1926. After training as a radio technician in the Navy, he attended the California Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1950. He received a Ph. D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1954. Mathews joined the Bell Labs acoustical and behavioral research department in 1955. While there, he developed a computer program that allowed an IBM mainframe to compose and play a 17 second composition. Subsequent versions of this program, called Music, led to the development of popular computer music software such as CSounds and CMix, as well as MAX, a programming language for music named in his honor. Mathews was also the inventor of the Radio Baton, an electronic device for control of music in MIDI format, and several electric violins. His collaborators included composers John Cage and Pierre Boulez. In the 1970s, he assisted Boulez in establishing the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique in Paris. Mathews directed the acoustical and behavioral research center at Bell Labs from 1962 to 1985, at which time he accepted the position of Professor of Music (Research) at Stanford University. While at Stanford, he was affiliated with the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. Following his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 2005, he remained active in the electronic music field until his death on April 21, 2011.
Computer files are closed pending processing; otherwise the materials are open for research. Materials must be requested at least 48 hours in advance of intended use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

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