Reilly Spitzfaden

Composer in Residence


Reilly Spitzfaden (they/them) is a composer who likes noise, code, electronics, and nostalgia. They build handmade electronic instruments, design interactive software interfaces, and repurpose audio and telecommunications equipment as instruments.

Reilly’s recordings appear on How Things Are Made, S3E02; in the Media Sandbox and Michigan State University Department of Theatre film (313) Choices; and on the recording Statements with the Michigan State University composition studio. Reilly’s compositions have been performed at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse, and by the Eastman BroadBand, members of ensemble mise-en, the Amaranth Quartet, OSSIA New Music, and How things are made.

Reilly is currently a lecturer in music technology at SUNY Geneseo. They hold a PhD in composition from the Eastman School of Music where they studied with Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, David Liptak, and Oliver Schneller; an MA in composition from Eastman, where they studied with Robert Morris and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez; and a BM in composition from Michigan State University.

Reilly Spitzfaden

Reach Through

Performers: Alex Fraga, Louis Pino, Jonny Smith, Jasmine Tsui

In Reach Through, the performers use a custom web app on their smartphones to send motion data to Max/MSP, as well as using microphones and small amplifiers as instruments to create feedback and other noises. In response to the performers’ gestures, the Max patch manipulates recordings of “cheesy” retro synthesizers in a way that imitates broken CDs and tapes, and plays back “databending” sounds (non-audio data treated as audio, which creates a detailed, crackling mixture of digital noise and pitch). These sounds of audio playback and/or storage media failing, and of retro 80s/90s synthesizers make me think about memory, nostalgia, and loss in a way I find aesthetically pleasing.