Honoring COVID-19 Victims in Music
Steven Kemper, a Mason Gross School of the Arts music professor, creates the soundtrack for In Memoriam: COVID in New Jersey.
Steven Kemper, associate professor of music technology and composition at Mason Gross School of the Arts, created the soundtrack for In Memoriam: COVID in New Jersey, an interactive memorial honoring the more than 33,000 New Jersey residents who have died during the pandemic. Collaborating with the New Jersey Youth Symphony and NJ Advance Media, Kemper, who is also the interim director of the music department, interpreted the data of the death toll by creating a “sonification,” which is a visualization using sound instead of images. His seven musical compositions that are part of the memoriam reflect the ebb and flow of death rates by using higher pitches, louder sounds, and greater dissonance as the numbers grew from the first known fatality in March 2020. “Hopefully representing this data with images and sound will provide people with a sense of the magnitude of this tragedy,” Kemper told NJ.com.