Unsung Stories: Women at Columbia's Computer Music Center

Unsung Stories: Women at Columbia's Computer Music Center is a three-part project, led by Professors Ellie Hisama and Zosha Di Castri--a symposium, a podcast series, and a concert that focuses on women who have studied and worked at the renowned Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (now named the Computer Music Center).

Unsung Stories will highlight work of women, including the work of BIPOC, LGBTQ+ composers and musicians at the Center, with a series of at least five podcasts to be released in Spring 2021 (March & April), a symposium in April 9-10, 2021, and a concert to follow in Fall 2021.

This project has received a public outreach grant from the Center for Science and Society, an anti-racism seed grant from the Office of the Provost, and a Diversity Matters grant from the Arts & Sciences' Committee on Equity and Diversity, and is cosponsored by the Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music, the Department of Music, The Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality (IRWGS), the Computer Music Center at Columbia University (CMC), the Sound Art Program at Columbia University, and the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW).

Special thanks to the Society of Fellows/Heyman Center for the Humanities for sponsoring and hosting the symposium portion of this project.


Detailed schedule coming soon.


Detailed speaker information coming soon.


Ellie M. Hisama

Professor Emerita of Music; Executive Committee, Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Dean, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto

Ellie M. Hisama, Professor Emerita of Music, taught at Columbia University from 2006 to 2021 in the Theory and Historical Musicology areas. In 2021, she became Dean of the Faculty of Music and Professor of Music at the University of Toronto. Her research and teaching have addressed issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and the social and political dimensions of music, with a focus on public engagement and university access for high school students.

more info...

Zosha Di Castri

Francis Goelet Associate Professor of Composition

Zosha Di Castri's website

Zosha Di Castri is a Canadian composer/pianist/sound artist, who joined Columbia University’s composition faculty in July 2014, as the Francis Goelet Associate Professor of Music. Her work (which has been performed in Canada, the US, South America, Asia, and Europe) extends beyond purely concert music, including projects with electronics, sound arts, and collaborations with video and dance.

more info...

Paola Cossermelli Messina

Project Coordinator, Podcasts

Paola Cossermelli Messina is a sound designer and audio engineer with research interests that fall in the intersections between music, politics and gender. As Project Manager of Sound Thinking NYC, a program of the CUNY-Creative Arts Team, she has recently gained interest in ties between her work in music and technology to initiatives in education. She holds a B.A. in Music and Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School, with a specialization in sound.

more info...

Cindy Liu

Project Coordinator, Symposium

Cindy Liu (CC '18, English and Sociology) currently works as General Manager and artist manager at Park Avenue Artists in New York.

more info...

David Adamcyk

Podcast Producer

David Adamcyk's website

Canadian composer David Adamcyk (b.1977) creates musical works for the concert hall as well as for the theatrical stage. He has recently completed a doctorate in composition McGill University in Montreal and has participated in Ircam’s composition cursus in Paris. His interest in technology has pushed him to explore various ways to combine electronic devices with acoustic instruments, and has also allowed him to assist or collaborate with composers such Martin Matalon, Philippe Leroux, and Denys Bouliane, in addition to working with various ensembles throughout north America.

more info...

Lauren Shepherd

Publicity & Social Media Coordinator

Lauren Shepherd recently completed her Master’s in Music Theory at the University of Arkansas where she studied with Lisa Margulis. Her thesis, Effects of Genre Tag Complexity on Popular Music Perception and Enjoyment, was completed in the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas under the direction of Dr. Margulis. Her research interests include music cognition, music theory pedagogy, emotion, timbre, embodiment, and rhythm perception, especially in post-tonal and popular music.

more info...


The Arts & Sciences (A&S) Equity and Diversity Events "Diversity Matters" Grant

The A&S Equity and Diversity events pilot program encourages and supports events and programs that highlight the benefits and value of diversity to academic excellence and that help create and sustain an inclusive community within A&S.

The Center for Science & Society (CSS) Public Outreach Grant

The Center has supported public outreach efforts in science and society across the University. The Center issues award funding for projects that develop public understanding of issues at the intersection of society and science, technology, and/or medicine; teach K-12 students about current issues in science and society; or work with communities to respond to issues that affect or are affected by science. Additionally the Center seeks to cultivate an interdisciplinary core group of students interested in leading projects around themes of science literacy, diversity, and accessibility.

The Office of the Provost: Addressing Racism Seed Grant

The Office of the Provost has provided seed grant funding for faculty within the Columbia community that engage with issues of structural racism. The goal of this initiative is to provide resources to enable collaborative dialogue, action, and insight for systemic change towards racial equity.

The Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music

The Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music, an administrative unit of Columbia University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is based within the Department of Music. The Center supports and encourages ensembles, organizations, and individuals devoted to making contemporary music, including the creation of music and music-related creative forms, concert presentation, scholarship, performer and composer residencies, recordings, conferences, archival and curatorial work, education, and other activities. The notion of contemporary music understood by the Center includes diversities of approach, style, methodology, gender, ethnicity, and cultural provenance. 

The Heyman Center for the Humanities / Society of Fellows in the Humanities

Built in 1980 to be a home for the nascent Society of Fellows, the Heyman Center provides the physical space for members of the entire Columbia community—in the humanities, social and natural sciences, law, medicine and public health, journalism, business, and the arts—to share thinking, debate ideas, and collectively consider methodological, conceptual, and ethical issues of common interest and concern. 

The Department of Music at Columbia University

The Department of Music's mission is to support and profess scholarly and scientific inquiry into music, and equally the creative activity of music composition, at the highest levels of rigor and innovation, for both graduate and undergraduate students, specialists and non-specialists in music, and a diverse constituency that spans both across and beyond Columbia University. The Department and its affiliated Centers support many scholarly events and performances for the Columbia and New York communities, whose diverse and rich musical legacies are represented across the full range of our commitments

The Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality (IRWGS) 

IRWGS is the locus of interdisciplinary feminist and queer scholarship and teaching at Columbia University. Offering an undergraduate degree program and graduate certification in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Institute draws its core and affiliated faculty from a diverse array of disciplines across Columbia University and Barnard College. IRWGS's scholarly mission is to promote deep scholarship of the highest intellectual standards, cultivate innovative thinking and approaches to key questions in the field, and foster institutional transformation.

Computer Music Center at Columbia University (CMC)

The Computer Music Center at Columbia University is an innovative and exciting music and arts technology facility with a long history of creative excellence. The primary mission of the CMC is to operate at the intersection of musical expression and technological development, and as a result the Center has become involved in a broad range of interesting projects. The CMC has also produced events aimed at reaching out to a wider community, both locally in New York and globally in a number of different international venues.

The Sound Art Program at Columbia University

The Sound Art program is the only graduate sound art program in New York City. The rich New York gallery scene, including long-established art institutions such as MoMA, the Guggenheim and others, as well as independent and outdoor public sites are in close proximity to Columbia. Students develop their practice in a multi- perspectival, interactive and supportive environment and learn to conceive and discuss their own work, articulate their artistic ideas and develop a self awareness of how their work is situated within the context of various histories, disciplines and practices.\

Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW)

The Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) brings scholars and activists together through its working groups, public events, publications, and multimedia projects to advance intersectional social justice feminist analyses and to promote social transformation. BCRW is committed to vibrant and engaged research, pedagogy, art, and activism, supporting the work of scholars and activists to create new knowledge and to challenge and refine how we understand the world around us.



This podcast series features the stories of some of the composers of marginalized identities, including women composers of color, who undertook significant work at the Columbia Computer Music Center at different points in time. In conversation with historical musicologists, musicologists, and fellow composers, they explore how their daily experiences at this particular institution were impacted by systemic racism and its intersections with gender and sexuality within the field of electronic music. 


  1. Alice Shields interviewed by Danielle Sofer (est. release March 10, 2021)
  2. Pril Smiley interviewed by Brigid Cohen (est. release March 17, 2021)
  3. Sondra Woodruff interviewed by Sky Macklay (est. release March 24, 2021)
  4. Yuriko Kojima interviewed by Cathy Cox
  5. Yvette Jackson interviewed by Amy Cimini

Further details to listen to each episode available soon.

This podcast is produced by Zosha Di Castri, Ellie Hisama, and Paola Cossermelli Messina, with editing by David Adamcyk. Our theme song was composed by Diana Marcela Rodriguez. You can learn more about her music and work at dmr.land. This project is made possible by the generous support of a public outreach grant from the Center for Science and Society, an anti-racism seed grant from the Office of the Provost, and a Diversity Matters grant from the Arts & Sciences' Committee on Equity and Diversity. It is cosponsored by the Society of Fellows/Heyman Center for the Humanities, the Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music, the Department of Music, The Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality (IRWGS), the Computer Music Center at Columbia University (CMC), the Sound Art Program at Columbia University, and the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW).

Concert 21-22

Detailed concert information coming soon.