Current Members

Stephen McAdams

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

Professor, Department of Music Research, Schulich School of Music
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

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

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

André Martins de Oliveira, MM MA

My main research focuses on finding ways to optimize flute practice through the application of exercise physiology training principles. I am particularly interested in how musicians can adapt musical exercises taking muscle development properties in consideration to improve their playing. I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in flute performance from the School of Music and Fine Arts of Parana and the University of Southern Mississippi, respectively, and a master’s degree in Music Education from McGill University. Now as the Project Coordinator in the Analysis, Creation and Teaching of Orchestration (ACTOR) Project, I plan on expanding my research to incorporate the study of timbre and apply that to help flutists improve their practice.                                                                                                                                                                                              

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

Post-doctoral fellows

Félix Baril, PhD

Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Music Research/Music Technology Area of the Schulich School of Music. My research focuses primarily on the design, supervision and development of the OrchView software platform for orchestration analysis. OrchView includes annotation tools built for the Orchestral grouping effects and Orchestration techniques taxonomies. It automatically collects data directly from users annotations which will be used for building a new version of the OrchARD database. When opened in OrchView, OrchARD search results will allow for a direct comparison between the various orchestration techniques used by composers and their resulting perceptual effects on the listener. This research project is supervised by Stephen McAdams.

felix [dot] baril [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Headshot of Andres Gutierrez Martinez
Image by Wolf Silveri.

Andrés Gutiérrez Martínez, PhD

Andrés Gutiérrez Martínez is a Mexican composer and electronic music performer. For Andrés, timbral exploration is an important element in the articulation of sonic events. The search for timbral similarities and “sonic analogies” across music instruments, and the use of extended instrumental techniques are important constituents of his musical language. As part of the ACTOR Innovation Output postdoc fellowship Andrés is focusing on the research of timbre and orchestration by exploring the role of individual instrumental timbre in voicing in an effort to incorporate variation and nuance in instrumental synthesis techniques.

andres [dot] gutierrezmartinez [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Headshot of Ben Duinker
Image by Alex Tran.

Ben Duinker, PhD

In 2020 I received a PhD in Music Theory from McGill, and recently held a SSHRC postdoc at the University of Toronto. My primary research addresses analytical topics such as rhythm and meter, tonality, timbre, and spatialization in hip-hop music.  I also undertake research that connects my dual backgrounds as a theorist and performer specializing in contemporary art music. This work uses analysis of recordings, ethnography, and pedagogical methods to explore topics such as interpretive difficulty, embodiment, and experiential learning. As a postdoctoral researcher at McGill’s ACTOR Project and a member of MPCL, my current research projects include perception of legato and accent expressivity in percussion performance, final chord voicing in renaissance polyphony, and timbre and spatialization in trap music. I’m also an active percussionist and member of the Montreal quartet Architek Percussion. 

benjamin [dot] duinker [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Graduate Students

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 Music Studies)

I am currently doing an interdisciplinary PhD in the Music Perception and Cognition Lab at McGill University Canada, under the supervision of Prof. Stephen McAdams. My research interests are in the area of timbre perception, music hermeneutics, cognitive representation, and emotion perception in music. As a member of Ding Yi Music Company and an adjunct lecturer in the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, I am particularly keen on integrating my research interests with performance, music understanding, and listening. My work on this aspect has earned me the Research Alive award from McGill Schulich School of Music in 2018/19.
Prior to my graduate studies, I obtained a B.Mus (Hons.) from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and a B.Soc.Sci (Hons.) in Psychology from the National University of Singapore. In 2016, I was awarded the NAC - Graduate Arts Scholarship, as well as the McGill University Graduate Excellence Fellowship and McGill University Student Excellence Award for my studies at McGill University.

Conference presentations: SMPC 2019; ICTM 2016.

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 Music Studies)

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, PhD Student (Interdisciplinary Music Studies)

I graduated with a B.Sc in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour with a specialization in Music Cognition at McMaster University, which led me to pursue a Master's degree in Music Technology at McGill University. Under the supervision of Stephen McAdams at the MPCL, I examined how listeners identify excitation methods and resonance structures when they are combined in ways that are typical (e.g., bowed string) or atypical (e.g., bowed air column) of acoustic musical instruments. This research project was conducted in collaboration with Joël Bensoam from IRCAM, who guided us through the process of synthesizing our strange stimuli in Modalys. I am now pursuing an Interdisciplinary PhD to continue the work I have started at the MPCL. I am particularly interested in how our mental models for musical instruments are shaped by previous exposure as well as the perception of mechanical plausibility. I am also curious about how these mental models help listeners categorize sounds as coming from specific musical instruments.

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

Jade Roth, PhD Student (Music Theory)

As a music theorist, I am fascinated by music's unique ability to shape our emotions, actions, and perception of time. In my Master's research, I examined the use of rubato as an expressive element of music and its influence on the performance and perception of musical silence. I combine aural and score-based analysis to better understand the audible features that draw us toward music in the first place. My doctoral research expands on this analytical model by examining timbre through the study of orchestration techniques. Through my research, I aim to better understand the role of timbre in musical structure. My research is co-supervised by Stephen McAdams and Robert Hasegawa.

jade [dot] roth [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Joshua Rosner, PhD Student (Music Composition)

Upon graduating from Oberlin College and Conservatory with degrees in Music Cognition and Perception (Individual Major) and Jazz Studies/Composition, I founded a contemporary music organization, The Syndicate for the New Arts, in Cleveland, Ohio. My time as executive director and ensemble guitarist not only allowed me to commission and perform new works, offer free educational programming, and present touring ensembles but also the opportunity to observe different audiences perceive and enjoy (or dislike) unfamiliar and complex music. My research is primarily concerned with how people structure sound over time and the role that attention plays in grouping and segmentation. More specifically, my doctoral research as a music theorist focuses on how listeners hear form in contemporary chamber music that focuses on non-default instrumental playing techniques. A major motivation behind my research is to expand the repertoire covered in music theory classes to include and highlight marginalized musical traditions and in turn develop curricula which help create musicians who are not bound by genre. My work draws from gestalt psychology, embodied cognition, and phenomenology, as well as my experiences as a composer and performer. My doctoral research is co-supervised by Robert Hasegawa and Stephen McAdams.

joshua [dot] rosner [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Linglan Zhu

Linglan Zhu, PhD Student (Music Technology)

During my master’s studies in MPCL, my research interests consolidated around composers’ timbral practice and the role of inner hearing in it. My general interests concern how timbre can be used as an important parameter in analysis of contemporary music, and how listeners’ perception can lever the process of analyzing and evaluating composers’ compositional plan. Prior to my graduate studies, I received a B.Sc. in chemistry from Fudan University.

linglan [dot] zhu [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Corinne Darche

Corinne Darche, Master's Student (Music Technology)

Towards the end of my studies in Computer Science and Music at McGill, I narrowed my interest to machine learning and its interdisciplinary applications. After studying its use in visual perception and natural language processing, I became interested in its applications in music cognition. I intend to develop different machine learning models that can be used to further the MPCL’s work on timbre perception.

corinne [dot] darche [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Yin Huang

Yifan Huang, Master's Student (Music Technology)

I am currently pursuing a Master's degree in Music Technology at McGill University. My research interests include timbre perception in emotion, cross-cultural studies, and cross-modal studies. I'm enthusiastic to investigate how timbre and orchestrations affect people's feelings and understanding of music, and how we can use this knowledge to enhance people's understanding of music from different cultural backgrounds. Before doing my graduate studies, I obtained a bachelor's degree in computer science from Zhejiang University in China, as well as a minor in archaeology and museum studies. During my undergraduate studies, I conducted research on machine learning music generation. I really enjoy my "timbre life" at MPCL!

yifan [dot] huang3 [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

Undergraduate Students


Bryana-Alexa Liberta

I am a second-year psychology undergraduate student currently completing my honours thesis project in the Music Perception and Cognition lab. I am currently working on a project alongside Behrad Madahi investigating short-term memory and different dimensions of timbre. I am excited to begin working with MPCL as it will give me a new perspective on music and psychological research.

bryana [dot] liberta [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

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