Alex Hofmann, Dipl. Musikl., PhD

Senior Scientist - Department of Music Acoustics University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

Alex Hofmann is a researcher and saxophone/live-electronics performer working with improvised and contemporary music. He investigates tools and methods to enhance expressivity in music performance by advancing new sensor technologies and developing dedicated computer algorithms.

He works as a researcher at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. He had previously done research at the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI), taught at different institutions (e.g. Dept. of Musicology, Vienna University), worked as a Teaching Assistant at the TU Berlin (Audio Communication Group), and as a Sound Design Assistant at Native Instruments.

As an active member in the Csound (computer music language) community, he worked as a co-editor for the books “Csound Floss Manual” (Heintz et al., 2011), and “Ways Ahead - Proceedings of the First International Csound conference” (Heintz et al., 2013), which document Csound’s open-source software development towards real-time sound synthesis in the last 25 years.

In his Ph.D., Alex analyzed motor-actions in clarinet and saxophone performance using miniaturized sensor-technology and advanced signal processing methods. He presents artistic work and research results in concerts or spoken presentations as well as in workshops at venues such as the Akademie der Künste Berlin (DE), Berklee College of Music (Boston, US), BEK (Bergen Center for Electronic Arts, NO), ZKM (Karlsruhe, DE), RADIALSYSTEM V (Berlin, DE) and maintains active exchange with computer music communities such as the Linux Audio Community and NIME.

Research fields:

  • analysis of wind instrument music performance
  • live-electronics + New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME)
  • improvisation and contemporary music
  • machine listening
  • acoustics, sound synthesis, sound design
  • interactive music-systems

Research Publications & Talks

A list of publications can be found here.

Current Projects:

  • VRACE - Virtual Reality Audio for Cyber Environments This project focuses on the analysis, modelling and rendering of dynamic 3-dimensional soundscapes for applications in Virtual and Augmented Reality. 17 academic and industrial partners strive to make significant progress on the way towards a physically correct virtual reality and thus towards a true world simulation.

  • Towards an alliance for distributed ethnomusicology data (funded by ASEA-Uninet, 2018-2019; project lead: MDW) This project will examine the current situation of data sets in ethno-musicology towards the development of standardized ways for data storage and data access between partner organizations. To this end, we plan to form an initial alliance that collects the requirements for an interoperable data infrastructure for digital musicology projects in the South-East Asian region and builds first examples of tentative applications by means of automatic content and metadata analysis. Goal of the project is to design a strategy that allows the storage of data sets in a standardized way that supports an exchange of (meta) data between partner organizations.

Past Projects:

More details on previous projects can be found here.

Tutorial & Workshop Presenter at:

Research community services:

Editorial work:

  • J. Heintz, A. Hofmann, and I. McCurdy, editors. Ways Ahead: Proc. of the First International Csound Conference. Cambridge Scholar Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 2013. (Additional contribution of 13 interviews with electro-acoustic composers).

  • J. Heintz, A. Hofmann, and I. McCurdy, editors. Csound - Floss Manual. FLOSS Manuals Foundation, first edition, 2011.

Program Chair / Music Chair:

  • Co-Conference Chair for the ICSC 2019
  • Local organising committee of the Vienna Talk (on Music Acoustics) 2015, (AT)
  • Local organising committee of the International Symposium on Performance Science 2013, Vienna (AT)
  • Initiator of the First International Csound Conference 2011, Hannover (DE)


  • International Csound Conference
  • Sound & Music Computing Conference (SMC)
  • International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME)
  • Journal of New Music Research (JNMR)
  • Frontiers in Psychology: Performance Science
  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica
  • The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA)

Workshop Organisation:


  • “Best Student Paper in Musical Acoustics” for Pàmies-Vilà, M., Hofmann, A., & Chatziioannou, V. (2019). Reproducing tonguing strategies in single-reed woodwinds using an artificial blowing machine (abstract). In Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics.
  • “Best Student Paper in Musical Acoustics” for Pamies-Vila, M., Scavone, G., Hofmann, A., & Chatziioannou, V. (2017). Investigating vocal tract effects during note transitions on the saxophone (abstract). In Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (Fall 2017 meeting) (Vol. 142, pp. 2545–2545). With a follow up publication in Pàmies-Vilà, M., Scavone, G., Hofmann, A., & Chatziioannou, V. (2017). Investigating vocal tract modifications during saxophone performance. In Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics (Vol. 31, p. 035002). (pdf)
  • “Best hack on Handsfree Music Selection” Waves Vienna Music Hackday 2017 (AT) for a Music Quiz in Google Assistant (not maintained afterwards) Saranya Balasubramanian, Montserrat Pamies-Vila, Alex Hofmann
  • “Best hack on Music & Emotion Waves Vienna Music Hackday 2016”, (AT) for Moody the Music Chatbot, Saranya Balasubramanian and Alex Hofmann
  • “PhD Scholarship” (2014) by the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
  • “Student Paper Award” at the 5th Congress of the Alps Adria Acoustics Association (HR) for Hofmann, A., Chatziioannou, V., Kausel, W., Goebl, W., Weilguni, M., & Smetana, W. (2012). The influence of tonguing on tone production with single-reed instruments. In 5th Congress of the Alps Adria Acoustics Association. Zadar, Croatia.


Alex Hofmann promovierte in Musikalischer Akustik an der Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien. Zuvor studierte er Musikerziehung mit den Schwerpunkten Saxophon, Improvisation und Computermusik an der Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover, und war Tutor am Elektronischen Studio der TU-Berlin. Außerdem arbeitete er als Sounddesigner (u.a. Native Instruments) und engagiert sich in der Csound Software Community. In Zusammenarbeit mit Joachim Heintz entstand 2009 das Projekt “Verbesserung der Lehre von elektronischer Komposition und Computer Musik”, dessen Ergebnisse u.a. das Csound Floss Manual, Video-Tutorials zur Musikprogrammierung sowie die Planung und Durchführung der ersten Csound Konferenz sind.

  • Analyse von Spieltechniken auf Holzblasinstrumenten (analysis of woodwind music performance)

  • Live Elektronik (live electronics)

  • Klangsynthese (sound design, sound synthesis)

  • Klanganalyse und musikalische Informationsverarbeitung (machine listening)

  • interaktive Musiksysteme (interactive music-systems)


Regelmäßige Lehrveranstaltungen und Vorlesungen an der mdw seit SoSe 2016:

Information in mdw-online

Instrumentenakustik und Klangsynthese SoSe 2016 - Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Universität Wien

Verständnis der Funktionsweise von akustischen und elektronischen Musikinstrumenten, computerbasierte Methoden der Klanganalyse und Klangsynthese sowie der Echtzeitklangverfremdung mit freier Open Source Software (Csound, SuperCollider, SonicVisualizer, Audacity).