Thomas Sturm is a Los Angeles based composer who works in a wide variety of mediums including chamber music, sound installation, free improvisation, and computer music. His work explores playing with and critiquing emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, social media, and surveillance. He also experiments with data sonification and pataphysics, and has explored end of life issues through his art. As an improviser, Sturm works with creative coding and no-input mixing.
Sturm has performed and received numerous commissions with organizations such as M.A.R.S. Festival, The American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, The American Festival for the Arts, the International Society of Improvised Music, Friends of Flutes Foundation, and Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt. His music has been performed by groups including The Boston New Music Initiative, the Enso String Quartet, the Prism Saxophone Quartet, and Little Giant Chinese Orchestra. He has collaborated and performed alongside a variety of artists such as Ethan Marks, Ulrich Krieger, Erin Demastes, Iris Sidikman, Joshua Westerman, Cody Putman, Louis Coy, Sam Friedland, Anthony Storniolo, and Brandon Bell.
Alongside working as a composer and musician, Sturm is an installation artist. In these works he primarily collaborates with visual artist, Samantha Calvetti. Their work has been shown in the M.A.R.S. Festival’s Testing Site Salons at Art Share, California Institute of the Art’s Digital Arts Expo, and the Center for Integrated Media at CalArts.
Professionally, Sturm works as an educator and teaching assistant at institutions including California Institute for the Arts and previously did so at Rice University. His teaching focus is in composition, music theory, and creative coding. He also works as a copyist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Sturm holds an MFA in Experimental Sound Practices and Integrated Media from the California Institute of the Arts under and a BM in Composition and Theory from Rice University. His past teachers include Ulrich Krieger, Tom Leeser, Kurt Stallmann, Sara Roberts, Laura Steenberge, Scott Cazan, Shih-hui Chen, Richard Lavenda, Aaron Alon, and Anthony Brandt.
I realize imaginary spaces that explore our relationship to technology. These spaces spoof and deconstruct the various mythologies that surround artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and social media. Drawing heavily from satire, I use humor to challenge our assumptions of the technologies that now watch and control our world. However, I do not reject technology. From social media memorials to AI improvisers and conversation etiquette enforcers, my art exposes the inadequacies of our current use of technology and explores alternatives that emphasize human agency and progress.