SAE Alumnus helps bring Music Tech Fest to Paris… and beyond.


During the weekend of 21-23 November, IRCAM – Centre Pompidou becomes a creative playground for experimentation with new music technologies and new ideas for music performance. It’s a free, weekend-long event that provides an experimental and improvisational space.

written by Dean McCarthy, MA

Adam John Williams and Steve Lawson Perform on stage at MTF Berlin

Adam John Williams and Steve Lawson Perform on stage at MTF Berlin

“This environment is fantastic for SAE students and alumni. It is a place for them to see new technological innovations, meet inventors and join in with hackathons. It is a chance to enter a space where ideas are showcased, performed, demonstrated and discussed. It’s a place where musicians and hackers come together to collaborate and try things out. It’s about sharing your idea with a community. It’s a place where industry and academics, artists and technologists come together to both celebrate and invent the future of music.”

ICCMR's brain-computer music interfacing with a string quartet at MTF London

ICCMR’s brain-computer music interfacing with a string quartet at MTF London

“Music Tech Fest has a mission to converge a vast range of tech enthusiasts into one conference space to present their work and find potential collaborations for future innovations. But it is much more than just a conference – it is a FESTIVAL! We are a community with a festival, not a festival with a community. It is a celebration! It is a community where wild ideas are embraced, where risk is encourage and friendships are forged”

Everything is allowed: hacking into existing controllers, collaborating with professional musicians, experimenting with new ideas in situ, impromptu jumping onto the stage. The Music Tech Fest “Gunk” (Geek Punk) ethos is all about being totally hands-on with technology, rough and ready with noise making, and experimental with the immediacy of self-expression. MTF does not encourage smoothing over cracks, fixing it in the mix, or autotuning. Nothing is a mistake and there are no rehearsals. But you can expect a few surprises…

As well as the main festival stage, the festival also runs a 24-hour hack camp where hackers are challenged to create new types of instruments, performance interfaces and musical experiences using components from RS Components, gestural interfaces from Leap Motion and with support from Sennheiser, Serato and more. The hacks are presented and performed on stage on Sunday evening. The festival also runs a ‘Women in Tech’ hands-on workshop.

Hew Jones and his “Concertronica” at MTF London

Hew Jones and his “Concertronica” at MTF London

MTF Paris is filmed and streamed live online to audiences in over 70 countries.


Dean McCarthy

Dean McCarthy is an Alumnus of SAE London and is also the Programme Coordinator for Audio Production and Music Business at SAE Oxford. He is now also the Technical Manager of the festival and wants to welcome all SAE students, staff and alumni to this travelling event.


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