Cassiopeia Sturm (b. 1992) is a composer and musician who builds absurd, speculative instruments. Her work explores how instrument design can not only convey unique creative use but also be a platform for social critique and self-exploration. Many of her creations make use of unconventional interfaces that challenge cultural norms and ask participants to confront their expectations about design and musicianship. Sturm uses algorithmic processes, chaotic acoustics, and cybernetic circuitry to imbue her inventions with a sort of autonomy that blurs the line between creator, performer, and instrument. Through these methods, she plays with the expectations of what an instrument is and its relationship to both performer and composer.
Her recent projects include a series of capacitive touch controllers, an augmented alto saxophone, and an artificial mouth. She has performed and presented these inventions with a variety of organizations, including ISIM, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, M.A.R.S. Festival, and High Desert Soundings. Alongside her work, Sturm is a curator at Coaxial Arts, where she organizes events spanning a wide variety of mediums and genres including concerts, installations, workshops, and lectures.
Sturm holds an MFA in Experimental Sound Practices from CalArts and a BM in Composition and Theory from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Her past teachers include Ulrich Krieger, Sara Roberts, Laura Steenberge, Tom Leeser, and Kurt Stallmann.