Ajay Kapur

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For other people with similar names, see Ajay Kapoor.
Ajay Kapur
Citizenship United States of America, Canada, New Zealand
Nationality Indian
Fields Computer science, music
Institutions California Institute of the Arts, New Zealand School of Music, Kadenze
Alma mater Princeton University, University of Victoria
Doctoral advisor Dr George Tzanetakis
Known for Musical Robotics, Online Arts and Music Education

Ajay Kapur (born 1980) is a computer scientist, musician, and educator known for his pioneering work in musical robotics and electronic instrument design. He has toured internationally with his custom electronic sitar and mobile robotic drummer, the MahaDeviBot[1] and currently serves as professor at California Institute of the Arts and the New Zealand School of Music. Ajay is also co-founder, president and CEO of Kadenze, the MOOC for arts, music and creative technology.[2]


In June 2002, Ajay Kapur received his undergraduate degree in computer science from Princeton University. For his senior thesis, he conceived the Electronic Tabla MIDI Controller. After his undergraduate degree, he engaged in graduate studies at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia under Dr. George Tzanetakis. Kapur received his PhD in interdisciplinary studies combining electrical and computer engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, music, and psychology in November 2007. His dissertation, "Digitizing North Indian Performance: Extension and Preservation Using Multimodal Sensor Systems, Machine Learning & Robotics," was published in 2008 by VDM Verlag Dr. Müller. While studying at the University of Victoria, he learned electromechanical construction techniques from sound sculptor and MacArthur Fellow Trimpin.[3][better source needed]


Ajay Kapur currently serves as the program director for the Music Technology: Interaction, Intelligence, and Design (MTIID) program and at California Institute of the Arts and additionally holds the title of Associate Dean for Research and Development in Digital Arts. As head of MTIID since 2008, he has increased the program's focus on electromechanical design for musical robotics, DSP, computer science, and world music.[4]

Since 2009 he has also served as PhD adviser and senior lecturer in the Sonic Arts program at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, New Zealand.[5] He remains an active researcher, focusing on the field of musical interface design and musical robotics. As a musician, Kapur focuses on creating electronic interfaces for traditional Indian instruments, including robotic instruments and electronic additions to classical instruments.

In 2013, Kapur co-authored a book on introductory programming in the ChucK audio programming language to support a new MOOC on the Coursera platform, Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists.

Ajay went on to co-create Kadenze, a MOOC for arts and creative technology.


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