Current Members


Prof. Stephen McAdams (Principal Investigator), PhD, DSc (HDR)

Canada Research Chair in Music Perception and Cognition 2004-2025
Killam Research Fellow 2016-2019
Project Director, ACTOR Partnership (Analysis, Creation and Teaching of Orchestration) 2018-2025
Professor, Department of Music Research, Schulich School of Music

stephen [dot] mcadams [at] mcgill [dot] ca


Bennett Smith (Technical Manager), Dipl.Phys.

Bennett Smith studied psychoacoustics with Manfred Schroeder at the University of Göttingen. He did various things at Ircam. In his spare time, he procrastinates. Other hobbys: The Gaping Fools.

bennett [dot] smith [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Visiting Professor

Jina Xin Wang, PhD, Communication University of China

I am an Associate Professor in the Recording Department of the Communication University of China. My research interests include music perception and analysis, sound auralization and critical listening, and 3D-surround recording technology. As a visiting researcher at McGill University, I have a collaborative research project with Prof. Stephen McAdams, entitled ‘Analysis of the influence of arrangement on preference and emotion perception for Western and Chinese classical music.’ The project aims to propose feature sets and emotional perception evaluation models for Chinese and Western music.

metero [underscore] wx [at] cuc [dot] edu [dot] cn

Project Coordinator, ACTOR Project (Analysis, Creation, and Teaching of Orchestration)

Juanita Marchand Knight, DMA

I am a graduate of Vanier College’s Audio Recording Technology program and hold a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Pedagogy from University of Miami, as well as a Master’s of Music in Opera Performance and a B.Mus in Early Music from McGill University. Currently, I am interested in applying technology to the creation of new and more inclusive vocal pedagogies for gender-nonconforming students. In addition to working as Project Coordinator for ACTOR, I freelance in sound design and composition, and as a singer. I enjoy working in multi-media art and combining music of varied genres with non-musical sounds.

actor [dash] project [dot] music [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Post-doctoral fellows

Aurélien Antoine, PhD

Post-doctoral fellow in the Makimono project. My main research focuses on modeling of orchestration effects and techniques from machine-readable symbolic score information and audio signals through data mining and machine learning techniques. This work benefits from the resources available in the Orchard database and aims to expand it. Its outcomes will also contribute to the understanding and use of the different orchestration effects and techniques. This research project is co-supervised by Stephen McAdams and Philippe Depalle.

aurelien [dot] antoine [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Jason Noble, PhD

Post-doctoral fellow in the ACTOR project. My research in music perception and cognition is motivated by my creative activities as a composer. Because I believe music is fundamentally a meaningful activity, I want to better understand the way meaning is created, transmitted, and perceived in compositions. Having studied the theory, philosophy, and semiotics of music for many years, I am now interested in complementing the abstract principles of those disciplines with empirical research. Specific areas of interest include sound mass perception, topic theory, temporal semiotic units, auditory scene analysis, and cognitive dynamics of music listening.

jason [dot] noble [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Julie Delisle, PhD

Post-doctoral fellow in the ACTOR project. My research consists of developing methodological and computational tools for the analysis of instrumental timbre with acoustical descriptors, in search of features that could explain sound phenomena on which orchestration techniques are based, such as blend or acoustical reinforcement between instruments. I am also interested in the use of live electronics and extended techniques in orchestration and in contemporary musical practices. In addition to working on the ACTOR project, I am active as a flute player, transdisciplinary performer, and improviser.

julie [dot] delisle [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Graduate Students

Moe Touizrar

Moe Touizrar, PhD Candidate (Music Composition)

In addition to composing music, I am currently exploring the role of orchestration in emotional response to dramatic works such as film noir and opera. My work is co-supervised by John Rea and Stephen McAdams.

moe [dot] touizrar [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Eddy Kazazis, PhD Candidaate (Music Technology)
My main research topic focuses on timbre representations. I am examining the perceptual reality of various audio features that are used in music informatics and the constraints under which multiple acoustical dimensions collapse to single perceptual dimensions. For creating the stimuli used in such psychoacoustical experiments I am developing sound synthesis algorithms using optimization techniques, which allow independent control of the higher-level audio features. My current projects that demonstrate practical applications of timbre representations are related to audio morphing strategies, and the development of music theory tools that can be used for analyzing complex sonorities such those found in spectral music. My research is co-supervised by Stephen McAdams and Philippe Depalle.

savvas [dot] kazazis [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca  

Kit Soden, PhD Student (Music Composition)
I work as part of the Orchestration and Perception Project, which investigates how composers implicitly employ auditory grouping processes.The research includes analysis and annotation of musical scores, identifying instances of auditory groupings appearing as orchestral effects. I am also collaborating on a large-scale perceptual study investigating the representation of basic emotional categories in dramatic music. In this study we are working towards a functional theory to describe the interaction of both visual and auditory components in film noir and opera. As a composer, I am inspired by the interaction and relationship between timbre and perceived emotion in music, and particularly in the use of orchestration to enhance the expressive dramaturgy of a composition.  My research creation project(s) will identify and explore the acoustic phenomena created through the combination of voice and orchestra, highlighting how composers can exploit our innate perceptual mapping of vocal and instrumental timbres to build dramatic and expressive qualities into their music. These topics represent some of the compositional and research considerations that fuel my passion for learning and for exploring composition at an advanced level. My work is co-supervised by John Rea and Stephen McAdams.

kit [dot] soden [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Tanor Bonin, PhD Candidate (Music Technology)

I study the brain's ability to process music, what this can tell us about sound and time perception, and the ways in which we can use this information to develop audio technologies.  My research interests include sound source recognition, the human emotional response to music, the relation between sound and time perception, and the similarities and differences between the structures of the world's various musical cultures.

tanor [dot] bonin [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Behrad Madahi, PhD Student (Music Technology)

My field of research combines three rather different yet complementary approaches – neuroscientific, psychological, and computational – to timbre perception. By investigating the neural correlates that contribute to timbre perception, I am attempting to reach a computational model that helps improve our understanding of the perceptual dimensions of timbre. This research is supervised by Stephen McAdams.

behrad [dot] madahi [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Lena Heng, PhD Student (Interdisciplinary)

I graduated with a degree in Psychology from the National University of Singapore and a B.A. in Music from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. Back in Singapore, I am a musician with the contemporary Chinese chamber music ensemble, Ding Yi Music Company and a part-time lecturer at my alma mater, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. My research interests are in timbre perception and cultural (learned) differences in music cognition.
Conference presentation: A Study of the Proliferation and Practice of Chinese Orchestral Music in Singapore from the 1950s to the mid-1980s - paper presented at ICTM 2015
Book chapter: "The Negotiation Process of a Contemporary Chinese Chamber Music Ensemble” in “Tracking Creative Developments in Huayue"

lena [dot] heng [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Iza Korsmit, PhD Student (Interdisciplinary)

After obtaining my bachelor degrees (Musicology & Psychology) and my masters degree (Brain and Cognitive Sciences) at the University of Amsterdam, I am delighted to now continue my journey in the field of music cognition research during my PhD studies here at MPCL, under supervision of Stephen McAdams. My interest in music cognition is driven by my conviction that how music makes us feel, is what makes music so important to so many people, in any culture. I want to know why and how music has such a strong influence on our feelings, and here at MPCL aim to further investigate the role of timbre in this effect.

iza [dot] korsmit [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Yuval Adler, PhD Student (Music Technology)

During my Bachelor's in Music Composition at Tel-Aviv University I began my path in Music Technology when I was frustrated by the available amount and quality of software tools aimed at contemporary music composers. Though my interests have broadened beyond that aspect of Music Technology, especially during my Master's in Music, Science and Technology at Stanford's CCRMA, I hope to return to that initial motivation with the work I undertake at MPCL. I intend to help bridge the gap between composers and researchers by making knowledge and tools more accessible to those musicians who wish to explore topics of perception and orchestration.

yuval [dot] adler [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Erica Huynh, Master's Student (Music Technology)

Combining my passion for music with my growing interest in psychology, I completed a B.Sc degree in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour under the Music Cognition Specialization at McMaster University. I have always been interested in understanding how humans perceive music, and what makes us enjoy music so much. Specifically, I am enthused by the intricacies of timbres elicited by musical instruments. At the MPCL, my Master’s research project investigates how the mechanical properties of musical instruments influence timbre perception. The two mechanical properties of interest to my research are the excitation methods (e.g., bowing, blowing, plucking, striking a musical instrument) and the resonance structures (e.g., string, air column, bar, plate). My Master’s thesis is supervised by Stephen McAdams, and we are collaborating with Joël Bensoam from IRCAM.

erica [dot] huynh [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Rachel Hottle, Master's student (Music Theory)

I received my B.A. from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where I studied music and biology. From my earliest music theory classes, I've been interested in listener reactions as a means for understanding musical emotion. This interest, combined with my empirical research training, led me to the field of music cognition, which in turn led me to McGill. At the MPCL, I will be assisting on the ACTOR project and developing my thesis, which will investigate semantic descriptions of vocal timbre under the guidance of Profs. Robert Hasegawa and Stephen McAdams.

rachel [dot] hottle [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Undergraduate Students

Beatrice Lopez, Undergraduate Student (Computer Science)

4th year computer science major at McGill with interest in software and web development. Web database developer of the Orchard database for the Orchestration and Perception project under the guidance of Prof. Stephen McAdams.

beatrice [dot] lopez [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca