All posts by D. Andrew Stewart

Digital music instrumentalist

My performance career as a digital musical instrumentalist began in 2000 and has included performances on commercially available and newly developed digital control surfaces such as the t-stick, karlax, méta-instrument, sonic jumper, wii remotes, kinect, hand sonic, rulers, among others. Most notably, I have made strides in the development of electronic music performance practices as the co-creator of the t-stick (Malloch and Stewart, 2006). My numerous compositions and concert performances are indicative of these practices. Performances that I am proud of – and in which I showed an aptitude for improvisation include concerts with Tim Brady (electric guitar), Salvador Torre (bass flute), Terri Hron (recorder), and Ensemble In Extensio (clarinet and percussion).


D. Andrew Stewart has been working in the field of music composition since 1994. Stewart is a composer, pianist and digital musical instrumentalist.

Since 2000, he has been pursuing a career in live electronics – gesture-controlled – performance, after developing his own sensor-suit while living in Paris.

His educational background includes his time at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague, Holland. While in The Netherlands, he completed postgraduate studies in composition with Louis Andriessen and Martijn Padding and also trained in electroacousitcs with Gilius van Bergeijk, Clarence Barlow and Paul Berg. Andrew also holds degrees in music from Wilfrid Laurier University (advisor: Glenn Buhr), The University of British Columbia (advisor: Keith Hamel) and McGill University (advisors: John Rea and Sean Ferguson). Following postdoctoral research at Concordia University (advisor: Sandeep Bhagwati), Stewart moved to Lethbridge, where he currently teaches music and digital audio arts at the University of Lethbridge.

D. Andrew Stewart’s practise centres around combining acoustic instrument and digital instrument composition, and establishing performance practises for digital instruments. To a large extent, Stewart’s work has been supported by major awards, grants and research funding from organisations such as: Canada Council for the Arts; SOCAN Foundation; Le Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture; NUFFIC Foreign Government Awards Program; Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music, Media and Technology; Community of Research Excellence Development Opportunities Program.

His music has been featured in countries such as: The UK, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, The United States, Germany, France, Mexico, Norway, Austria, Italy, Korea Republic and his home country of Canada. In addition, Stewart’s music has been performed by: the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Penderecki Quartet, Canadian Composers’ Orchestra, Toronto New Music Concerts, Continuum Contemporary Music, L’Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, Bradyworks, musikFabrik, orkest de ereprijs, Harmonie O&U Beek en Donk, het Malle Symen Quartet, Ensamble 3 and ROSA Ensemble, L’Orchestre National d’Harmonie des Jeunes (France). Stewart’s residencies include: the Centro Mexicano para la Música y Artes Sonoras, Morelia, Mexico; Casalmaggiore International Festival, Italy; the composers’ course in Radziejowicach, Poland (ISCM); Composer’s Kitchen of quatuor bozzini, Montreal; the Tanglewood Music Center’s summer session; R. Murray Schafer’s And Wolf Shall Inherit the Moon, in which he participated annually over a period of ten years.

Stewart has also contributed to the field of music research through his paper contributions, performances and demonstrations at: the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), International Computer Music Conference / International Computer Music Association (ICMC/ICMA), International Conference on Live Coding, Electroacoustic Music Studies Network, Electronic Music Foundation, ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Canadian University Music Society, Society for Music Theory, and the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition.


Immortal-machine is my first solo work for the méta-instrument digital musical instrument. The instrument features forty-six discrete pressure-sensing ‘keys’ or touch points, thumb sliders, pivoting hand grips (measuring hand rotation) and elbow ‘ball and socket’ joints (measuring the horizontal and vertical movements of the forearms over an angle of ninety degrees) – fifty-four channels of continuous control data, in total. In composing and performing my composition, I am interested in investigating whether the concept of an ‘immortal machine’ is an appropriate analogy for the human body. Important aspects of Immortal-machine are, on the one hand, a contextualisation of the human body as a hyper-body (‘hyper’ referring to the tradition of the hyperinstrument or metainstrument) and, on the other hand, the drawing out of possible ‘superhuman’ capabilities and higher-level corporeal models through a reinterpretation of the human body in relation to its surrounding environment. My work with the méta-instrument is aimed at furthering my ideas on concurrence and counteraction in digital musical instrument composition.

“Thank you Darryl, for your help re-soldering and calibrating.”