Contact Information

Benjamin N. Levy (born 29th of May, 1985 in Paris, France)
PhD in Computer Science applied to Music (UPMC, IRCAM, Paris, France)
MSc in Acoustics, Signal Processing and Computer Science applied to Music (UPMC, IRCAM, Paris, France)
MEng in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Telecommunications (ENSEA, Cergy, France)
Graduate in Cello (Regional Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Cergy, France)

Brief Bio

After being graduated from the Engineering School of Electronics, Computer Science and Telecomunication, at ENSEA and playing the cello for 20 years in private lessons, music schools and Cergy's Regional Conservatoire of Music, I combined 2008-09 my technical and artistic studies with a masters degree in Acoustics, Computer Science and Signal processing Applied to Music at IRCAM.

Along my studies I accumulated experiences in computer assisted music with internships and projects. Using mostly Max/MSP, I had the opportunity to work with motion capture systems (electromagnetic and optical) and dancers. I also worked on augmented instruments and tools for computer enhanced music education. My main focus nowadays revolves around computer based improvising system.

Following my Master's internship, I worked one year [2009-2010] at IRCAM in the Musical Representation research team as a R&D engineer. At the same time I was involved in the production department as a computer music designer with musicians and composers on a computer based improviser project.

I carried on this project with a PhD [2010-2013] in the same research team of IRCAM under the supervision of G. Assayag. I finished my thesis by the end of 2013 and defended my PhD on the 16th of December 2013. While pursuing this research around OMax, I continued working as a computer musician (or computer music designer) in improvisation and contemporary music sessions & concerts and various projects including musical theatre, pedagogical projects, master classes, workshops….

Now doctor in Computer Science, I work both as an R&D engineer for audio/music software used in various contexts and as a computer musician with a predilection for creations involving generativity and/or improvisation. I continue playing the cello as well, in amateur orchestras and chamber music groups.


Research & Developments

PhD [2010-2013]

Following my work on OMax & co I have been granted a scholarship from University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6, Jussieu) for a three years PhD program. The subject of this work revolves around OMax principles and tries to extend the possibilities of such an interactive and agnostic improvisation software towards a better and deeper real-time analysis. I aimed to create a more flexible generative instrument with numerous possibilities. My thesis deals mainly with software architectures for such a system. I successfully defended this PhD on the 16th of December 2013 in front of a very international jury constituted of MM. C. Agon, T. Blackwell, C. Canonne, S. Dubnov, R. Rowe, D. Wessel.

OMax, MoMax, WoMax [2009-10]

OMax and its new modular (MoMax) and interactive version (WoMax) is a computer based improviser which analyses and recombines an instrumental sequence to play in real time as a new musical partner. It started before 2004 in the Musical Representation team at IRCAM with automatic style modelling attempts based on compression and repetition detection algorithms.

The last version, WoMax, now displays an interactive visualisation of the internal knowledge of the system and allows to drive responsively two computer based improvisations. It also include incremental clustering features.

Augmented Acoustic Cello [2008]

Augmented Acoustic Cello’s project is to provide the cello with additional possibilities to allow new expressions with technology. The approach is focused on the player’s sonic control. It uses features extracted from the audio to control the digital effects.
The system was developed in ICSRIM for Max/MSP programming environment and it can be used for both live improvisation or compositional contexts.

MoCaRT [2007]

MoCaRT is a collection of externals and patches developed for Max/MSP during an internship in CIANT. It aims to use the motion capture system Liberty Latus in the programming environment Max/MSP to enable a communication between movement and music for interactive performances.

EMux [2006]

EMux is an emulation of the dedicaced synthesizer E-Mu 6400 Emulator IV in the programming environment Max/MSP. It is an add-on for the 2PIM project developed around the Meta-Instrument (MI) in Puce Muse (et al.). EMux allows the MI player using the 2PIM platform to perform existing pieces for MI without owning the dedicaced synthesizer.


Bordeaux [2013]

CMMR, Marseille [2013]

Festival "Les [rencontres] inttendues", Tournai, Belgium [2013]

36e Hestejada de las arts, Festival Uzeste Musical, Gascogne [2013]

Marseille-Provence [2013]

Ma mère musicienne, Festival Mettre en scène, Rennes [2012]

35e Hestejada de las arts, Festival Uzeste Musical, Gascogne [2012]

Jazz Festivals, South of France [2012]

Comprovisations, Montréal [2012]

ImproTech, New York [2012]

Journées de l'Improvisation, Viry-Chatillon [2012]

Ma mère musicienne, Quimper [2012]

Marseille [2011]

Festival "Sons Neufs", Paris [2011]

34e Hestejada de las arts, Festival Uzeste Musical, Gascogne [2011]

Festival "Musiques au présent", Narbonne [2011]

Trash, Église Saint-Merri, Paris [2011]

Villa Medici, Rome [2010]

IRCAM, Paris [2009-10]



B. Lévy, G. Bloch, G. Assayag, OMaxist Dialectics, Capturing, Visualizing and Expanding Improvisations, in Proceedings of the 2012 NIME Conference, pp. 137-140, Ann Arbor, 2012.

B. Lévy, Visualising OMax, (ATIAM) Master Thesis, IRCAM/UPMC, 2009. Supervisors : G. Assayag, G. Bloch

B. Lévy, K. Ng, Audio-driven Augmentations for the Cello, in Proceedings of the 4th i-Maestro Workshop on Technology-Enhanced Music Education, pp. 49-51, University of Leeds - ICSRiM, 2008, ISBN 978 0 85316 269 8


Academy of Music, Kraków, Poland [2012]

Invited speaker in the conference Around acoustics and synthetic sound of the Academy of Music in Karkow. Presentation and demo of the OMax project.

Columbia University, NYC [2010]

Invited speaker with Steve Lehman (saxophone) in Brad Garton's class Computer Music II. Presentation and demo of the OMax project.

EHESS, Paris [2010]

Invited speaker with Gerard Assayag and Raphael Imbert (saxophone) in Marc Chemillier's seminar. Presentation and Demo of the OMax project.

ENSEA (Graduate School of Engineering), Cergy [2008-10]

1st year students, practical: Implementing Ford-Fulkerson algorithm in C
3rd year students, project supervison: Porting GSM standard from Matlab to C using the Mex API
2nd year students, Musical and Electro Acoustics: An overview of digital synthesis methods and audio effects.
2nd year students, Musical and Electro Acoustics: Practical on Matlab: Karplus-Strong algorithm.


Curriculum vitae

Curriculum vitae (English)
updated January 21, 2014
Curriculum vitae (French)
updated January 21, 2014

PhD & Masters thesis

Principles and Architectures for an Interactive and Agnostic Music Improvisation System at IRCAM [2010-2013] (English)
Visualizing OMax at IRCAM [2009] (English)

Internships reports

Augmented Acoustic Cello at ICSRiM [2008] (English)
MoCaRT at CIANT [2007] (English)
EMux at Puce Muse [2006] (French)

Externals for Max/MSP [outdated]

Through object (MacIntel)
XCode project of Through object

Scripts for Max/MSP [outdated]

Scripts to handle bpatchers name and size