Mary Elspeth Moore 2019
Spencer Topel is an American artist known for his work in music composition, sound art, instrument design, and technology. He explores the relationship between sculpture and musical instruments, creating a wide range of works that reveal the unique voice of objects.
Topel's work and performances have been presented at prestigious institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Weisman Art Museum in Minnesota, the Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania, the Drawing Center New York, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park. His work has been performed by renowned ensembles like the Minnesota Orchestra, the Juilliard Symphony, and the FLUX Quartet.
After studying music composition at Juilliard School and Cornell University, Topel became a professor of music at Dartmouth College. He has collaborated with several artists, including sculptor Soo Sunny Park, architect and artist Hana Kassem, cellist Seth Parker Woods, and violinist-composer Pauline Kim Harris.
In 2019, Topel founded Physical Synthesis, a company dedicated to developing new kinds of sound devices and products. His latest artistic endeavors revolve around quantum computing technologies as they apply to music and sound synthesis: first with a residency at The Yale Quantum Institute, where he and his team created the world's first musical synthesizer using Qubits, and more recently with an artist residency at Virginia Tech in 2022, where he and his collaborators simulated quantum circuits on the Cube, a massive multi-channel speaker array located at the Moss Center for the Performing Arts.