, a professor of Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT) in the Department of Music at UC Irvine, with a joint appointment in the Department of Informatics, composes instrumental and electronic music, teaches composition, theory, and computer music, conducts research and develops AI interactive computer systems that cognize, compose, and improvise music.
However, Christopher wasn't always interested in computer music and technology. Attending UC Santa Cruz to obtain an undergraduate degree in guitar, he had an opportunity to work with composers and access to electronic music studios, being exposed to modern contemporary ideas. "This pushed me out of my comfortable zone of thinking that everything had to be tonal and pretty," the professor says.
Wondering where to continue his education, Dobrian was advised to apply to UC San Diego, as their primary focus was composition. "They also had a computer music program, [with an emphasis] on digital music technology," he explains, describing what sparked his initial interest in the field. Graduating with a PhD from UCSD, Christopher began teaching, while also continuing to explore what role computers can play in music.
Hired by UCI to start the music technology program in 1996, the professor's main goal with ICIT was breaking down some of the categories that divided musicians and concentrating on combining them in creative ways. "We look for applicants who are [either] already doing that kind of integration or have shown that they really want to pursue that integration of improvisation, composition, and implementing that with technology," Dobrian shares.