Dr. Teresa Nakra’s Scholarly and Creative Work:

Trenton Makes Music project news:


Teresa Nakra is an expert in music technology, having made important research contributions in the study of musical expression and gesture. She is best known for her quantitative analyses of orchestral conducting, and the application of this information to real-time music systems. Teresa's invention, the Conductor's Jacket, was nominated by fellow MIT alumni for inclusion in the MIT150 Exhibition, a year-long celebration of MIT's founding. It is now held in the permanent collection of the MIT Museum.

In March 2012, Teresa organized the Music, Mind, and Invention conference, to explore the rich interconnections between music, cognition, computation, and creativity. The conference drew inspiration from its keynote speaker, AI pioneer Marvin Minsky, and his contributions to musical research and thought. The event featured talks, panel discussions, demonstrations, and concert performances, with contributions from respected scholars including Harvard mathematician Noam Elkies, MIT composer Tod Machover, NYU psychologist and cognitive scientist Gary Marcus, Princeton music theorist Dmitri Tymoczko, and Eran Egozy, co-founder of Harmonix Music Systems, creators of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band video game series.

Teresa's research areas include human-computer interfaces, real-time music systems, music theory, music perception, and affective computing. Her interactive conducting experiences, You're the Conductor and Virtual Maestro, have been showcased across the United States and Europe at museums, music festivals, and concert halls. She founded and runs Immersion Music, a non-profit organization that designs technical solutions for the performing arts. Clients have included Harvard University, ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Boston Childrens Museum, Childrens Discovery Museum (Illinois), the Leonard Bernstein Office, UBS, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, American Composers Orchestra, Arizona State University, and McGill University. Her work has been profiled in the New Yorker Magazine, the New York Times, CNN Headline News, BBC World Service, and the Associated Press. Teresa performs professionally as a conductor and violinist, in opera, symphonic, and new music productions. She holds an A.B. degree in music (magna cum laude) from Harvard University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. degree from the MIT Media Laboratory.


violinist in the music bottles, a classic demo from Prof. Hiroshi Ishii's Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab:

(Lalo's Piano Trio in c minor, op. 7 begins at 1'50", with cellist Bernd Schoner and pianist Jason Wong)