University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Kevin Schlei

Lecturer, Composition and Music Technology
Music 270B

Kevin Schlei is a composer, performer, and software developer based in Milwaukee. His work pulls expression from technology, using custom-built instruments, sensors, and performance systems to drive his music. Recently he collaborated with Lynn Tomaszewski to create Drams, Whits, and Scintillas, a set of pieces paired with a sculpture by Tony Smith and Tomaszewski's own generative drawings. The work projected multi-channel synthesized sound around the outdoor sculpture to create "thrums and hums" and "subtle sensations" in the garden (Shepherd Express, 04-28-2011). Other recent works include Languid Flow of Imaginary Vapors, where saxophones melt with wispy synthesized tones, and Close Up Distance, an ambisonic surround sound piece that pushes the illusion of multi-space shifting. Schlei is a founding member of the Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra (MiLO) and has exhibited installation works and multimedia throughout Milwaukee. He has also collaborated with dance and theater organizations such as the Milwaukee Ballet, Danceworks, and Milwaukee Shakespeare Company, and presented his work in the Spark, BEAF and NIME festivals.

In 2010 he founded Bit Shape Software to develop musical instruments for the iPhone and iPad that take advantage of their unique interface and sensor technologies. He continues his research into multi-touch instruments, having recently presented his work at the New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference in Sydney, Australia. Schlei teaches computer music at the UWM Peck School of the Arts where he is the Electro-Acoustic Music Center Technical Director.