Ajay Kapur is an entrepreneur, computer scientist, educator and musician. He is known for his work in musical robotics and digital musical instrument design, founding Kadenze, as well as his work on massive open online courses (MOOCs), education-related machine learning, and digital arts pedagogy. Kapur is currently a professor and associate Provost at California Institute of the Arts, an advisor at Victoria University of Wellington.
Kapur received a computer science undergraduate degree in 2002 from Princeton University, creating a MIDI-enabled tabla controller as a senior thesis project. Kapur completed PhD studies under Dr. George Tzanetakis at University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia. He received his PhD in 2007 in an interdisciplinary study program combining electronic and computer engineering, computer science, psychology, and music. During his PhD studies, Kapur worked with sound sculptor and MacArthur Fellow Trimpin to create MahaDeviBot, a musical robot that Kapur toured with extensively in following years.
Career and research work
Following the completion of his PhD, in 2008 Kapur became program director for the Music Technology program at California Institute of the Arts. Kapur additionally serves as California Institute of the Arts' Associate Dean for Research and Development in Digital Arts. Since 2009, Kapur has also served as a lecturer and PhD supervisor at Victoria University of Wellington's New Zealand School of Music and School of Engineering and Computer Science.
In addition to pursuing academic publication of advances in musical robotics, Kapur founded KarmetiK LLC in 2006. KarmetiK focused on the commercialization of musical robotics, creating mechatronic instruments such as NotomotoN intended for sale and popular use. Through his work at KarmetiK, Kapur created the KarmetiK Machine Orchestra, an ensemble of human and robotic musicians.
Kapur has produced research focusing on the use of music information retrieval approaches to analyse user input and query music libraries. These approaches were later expanded and commercialized in Kadenze, a company that he co-founded in 2013. Kadenze provides MOOC for creative technology (including art and music), using artificial intelligence algorithms to automatically grade music and multimedia coursework. Following his role at Kadenze, Kapur founded machine learning-focused Nirveda Corporation in 2018.
Kapur has been heavily involved in the use of the ChucK programming language as a tool to teach computer programming to musicians. In 2013, Kapur co-authored Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists, a book focusing on beginning ChucK programming that accompanied a Coursera MOOC.
- "Tiger of the Week: Ajay Kapur '02, Bringing Creative Arts to Online Education". Princeton University.
- "Robot orchestra jams with human players". Toronto Star. 13 May 2011.
- "This robot orchestra is ready to jam". Los Angeles Times. 24 April 2011.
- "Robots get their groove on in CA student orchestra". Phys.org.
- Singh, Manpreet K. "Sitar trek". India Today.
- "Ajay Kapur". CalArts School of Music.
- "Music Students Program A Robot Orchestra". NPR.org.
- "Ajay Kapur". New Zealand School of Music.
- Hart, Hugh (13 May 2010). "Machine Orchestra Features Hacked Guitar, Trampoline-Triggered Music Cues". Wired.
- "Ever heard of a sitar with a USB port?". Mid Day. 25 December 2010.
- "Music review: KarmetiK Machine Orchestra at REDCAT". LA Times. 13 April 2012.
- Kehe, Jason (17 April 2012). "Review: Samsara at REDCAT Los Angeles Magazine". Los Angeles Magazine.
- "Kadenze's March Toward Online Art Education, 1 Year Later". EdSurge. 20 October 2016.
- "Series looks at Kadenze, an arts platform bringing students the future of STEAM education". The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. 2 November 2018.
- "Multinational Singaporean company inks deal with Nirveda". The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. 1 October 2019.
- Moyer, Edward. "CalArts wins grant for arts-and-technology program". CNET.
- James, Mike. "Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists". I-programmer.
- Ajay Kapur publications indexed by Google Scholar
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