People Collection


Scott Smallwood, BA (Seattle Pacific), MMus (Miami University), MMus (Peabody Conservatory), PhD (Princeton)

Associate Professor



About Me

Scott Smallwood was born in Dallas, Texas, and grew up at 10,000 feet in elevation in the Colorado Rockies. At the age of 10, his father gave him a cassette tape recorder, and ever since he has been fascinated by the possibilities of recorded sound. He listens and makes recordings and observations of places and objects, and draws the resulting sounds into compositions and performances. Ranging from sonic photographs, studio compositions, instrumental pieces, sound installations, and improvisations, the resulting pieces are often textural, always mindful of space and subtlety.

As a performing artist, Smallwood has performed as a percussionist, pianist, and electronic musician on laptops, synthesizers, noise generators, and handmade electronic instruments. He has performed with a variety of improvisors including Cor Fuhler, Joe McPhee, Phil Gelb, Todd Reynolds, John Butcher, Mark Dresser, and Pauline Oliveros. As a composer, he has written works for small and large ensembles, including recent works for Continuum Ensemble of Toronto, the Nash Ensemble of London, and the New York Virtuoso Singers.

His work has been presented worldwide, including recent presentations at the Stone in NYC, the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, the The Hong Kong Arts Centre, and the Seedspace Gallery in Nashville. His work has been released on Autumn Records, Deep Listening, Wowcool, Simple Logic, Static Caravan, and others.

From 1997 until 2003, he worked as a studio engineer, faculty member, and technical director in the electronic arts program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He holds music degrees from Seattle Pacific University, Miami University, Peabody Conservatory, and Princeton University, where he also held postdoctoral research associate position, working with the legendary Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk). He currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he is an associate professor of composition at the University of Alberta, and where he also serves as Director of the Humanities Computing MA program.

Representative Works

Evidence. Visuals (Digital Media). Contour Editions, 2013.

Hideout. Solo exhibition of interactive solarsonic sound art pieces. SeedSpace Gallery, Nashville, TN, USA. March 15 – April 29, 2013.

Moore, Stephan and Scott Smallwood. “The Soundscape of Burning Man.” Soundscape Journal. Vol. 11, Number 1, Fall/Winter 2011, pp. 47-51.

Smallwood, Scott. “Virtuosic Listening: Context in Soundscapes and Music.” In Anthology of Essays on Deep Listening. Kingston, NY: Deep Listening Publications, 2012, pp. 205-220.

Smallwood, Scott and Jared Bielby. “Solarsonics: Patterns of Ecological Praxis in Solar-powered Sound Art.” in Proceedings of the Symposium Musique et écologies du son / Music and ecologies of sound, Universite Paris 8, Paris, May 27-30, 2013.


Areas of Research & Interest:

Sound Art / Installation
Field Recording
Acoustic Ecology
Interactive Technologies


Areas of Instruction:

Music Technology
Electroacoustic Music
Sound Art
Acoustic Ecology

Ensemble Instruction:

XiMe (Experimental Improvisation Ensemble