Stephen Malinowski

Stephen Malinowski
Pierre Boulez: Still from "Originel"
Björk: Still from "Vulnicura"
Astor Piazzolla: Still from "Invierno Porteno"
Paul Klee/J.S. Bach: from "Beiträge zur bildnerischen Formenlehre" (1921), origins of Stephen Malinowski's approach
Astor Piazzolla: Still from "Primavera Porteno"
Live Performance at TONALI Hamburg
Igor Stravinsky: Still from "Sacre du Printemps"
Claude Debussy: Still from "Arabesque no.1"
Live Performance at Festival van Vlaanderen (Belgium) ©Wouter van Vaerenbergh
Live Performance at Festival van Vlaanderen (Belgium) ©Wouter van Vaerenbergh
Live Performance at Festival van Vlaanderen (Belgium) ©Wouter van Vaerenbergh


Introduction to Stephen Malinowski's and Music:Eyes' work
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  • Stephen Malinowski


“At the risk of hyperbole, I believe that Stephen Malinowski deserves a place alongside Guido d'Arezzo and Philippe de Vitry in the history of musical notation, and is the first to devise a successful notation system for the enjoyment and edification of listeners, not performers.”
Bruce Lamott (Ph.D., Professor of Music History San Francisco Conservatory of Music)

“It is really overwhelming how much the students prefer learning music using these visualizations.”
Brad Garton (Professor of Music, Columbia University)

"I feel Stephen Malinowski’s work bridges the gap between notation and MIDI in a very elegant way, with a dash of poetic licence."

"Composer, pianist and software engineer Stephen Malinowski has created one brilliant solution to an age-old problem: how to communicate and understand what's going on in a piece of music, particularly if you don't know standard musical notation. Through this visualization, you can start to follow and understand the composer's dazzlingly dense interplays of melody, instrumentation and the relationships between the instruments."
Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR - Deceptive Cadence

"From Stephen Malinowski, a truly amazing animation of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. With bright, sharp dabs of color showing the shape of the music, as you listen. The piece comes to life before your eyes. It’s like score reading for people who don’t read scores, though in many ways it’s better than reading the score. Reading the score gives you musical information; Malinowski gives the impact of the music."
Greg Sandow, Artsjournal "On the future of classical music"

“This is the 1st time I've been able to appreciate this work by Stravinsky. By watching the visualization of his music, I can finally understand the organization is this chaotic sounding piece. Thank you!”
Y. Samuel Arai (YouTube comment)

“thanks for all of these videos I started listening to classical music when I was 13 because of your videos now I'm 16 I'm learning this piece to be played on a piano so thanks for all you've done”
neogeo53 (YouTube comment)

„Both musicians and non-musicians will benefit greatly from creating Music:Eyes animations together. They will learn to grasp complex music cognitively and emotionally, make artistic decisions and enter into a fruitful aesthetic conversation.“
Eric Booth, Leading American Music Educator, Recipient of the Americans for the Arts 2015 Arts Education Award

"A lot of people will fall in love with classical music if we can arrange a meeting with the music - and students creating their own music visualizations does this better than anything I've ever seen, because this gets them right into the music, they're actually working with the music. They spend hours on a piece, decide what you see - or hide - in the future or past, alter the flow speed of voices, change background colors for different sections, add text annotations and change colors and shapes. It's striking how quickly they "own" the piece through their personal, artistic visual interpretation and learn to talk about it with ease. Even students who don't read music! Short of learning an instrument and becoming a performer, which is a life-long process, I've never seen anything that does this like this and I've never seen anything that does it this fast."
James Isaacs, Head of music, Hull's School Zurich, on a Music:Eyes pilot project


Stephen Malinowski is a pioneer in music visualizations and arguably one of the most important and impactful classical music access and education innovators in the digital age. His YouTube-channel with score-based classical music animations created on Malinowski's own "Music Animation Machine" (MAM) software and then hand-designed by Malinowski has received over 150 million views and around a hundred thousand comments (see two typical samples above). Music educators worldwide use the visualizations for a wide range of age groups and levels, they have been included in a variety of music education textbooks and have also shown to be effective in addressing learning impediments (e.g. Dyslexia) and autism-spectrum-disorders (e.g. Asperger syndrome). The animations have been on display in museums such as the MoMA New York, presented in live performances in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Musikverein Vienna a.o. by performers such as Andreas Scholl, Vilde Frang, Björk a.o., were featured at TEDx events, used in education projects such as Passwort Klassik of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and for Apps such as Biophilia by pop singer Bjoerk and the Wagner Files by the Gebrueder Beetz.

In Malinowski's brand new forward-looking collaborative effort Music:Eyes, students and ultimately anyone become creative themselves: they immerse in an intuitive, sensory-fusing learning experience resulting in their own artistic visualizations that are then shared on a platform and become guides to music for viewers worldwide. This cutting edge tool - currently explored in pilot projects at Columbia University, New York Philharmonic Education Department, Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich a.o. - speaks to young people in their language and let’s them use the means of their world (sharing, social media etc.) to engage with classical music and each other. In addition, the platform will enable integration in Virtual- and Augmented Reality environments and expand the graphic language significantly, for example through organic, non-geometrical shapes developed in collaborations with visual artists.


What the nominator wrote:
Stephen Malinowski single-handedly created one of the most powerful digital "Points of Entry" to classical music, notably for young people. The reach and impact of his YouTube channel speaks for itself. In addition, countless music teachers worldwide use his animations – often referred to as a “GPS for music” or “scores for listeners” – in their classes.

He's currently helping create a new software and platform for student-authored visualizations, 3D/VR/AR application and graphic expansion which promises to significantly and sustainably impact classical music access and education in classrooms, live performances, online distribution and beyond.

In an age where bridges - between the art forms, between the analogue and digital world and most importantly, between experts and a wide population - are more important than ever, the ongoing influence, legacy and innovative power of Malinowski’s pioneer work cannot be overstated.