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Musician and sound expert Daniel Levitin newest Associate Member

The School of Computer Science is delighted to welcome Daniel J. Levitin, a world-renowned expert on sound technology and the perception of music, as a new Associate Member.


Daniel J. Levitin is a research scientist, musician, award-winning record producer, and former Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

Dr. Levitin is an Associate Professor of Psychology at McGill, where he holds the Bell Chair in the Psychology of Electronic Communication and the FQRNT Strategic Chair in Psychology. In addition to his new Associate Membership in Computer Science, he is an Associate Member of the Department of Music Theory, Programs in Sound Recording and Music Technology, the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, and in Educational Counseling Psychology at McGill. He earned his B.A. from Stanford University in cognitive psychology (with honors and a minor in music), his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Oregon (with a Ph.D. minor in Music Technology), and did post-doctoral training in psychoacoustics and neuroimaging at Stanford University. He has also studied at M.I.T., UC Berkeley, and the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

As a musician (tenor saxophone, guitar and bass), he has performed with Mel Tormé, Nancy Wilson, Blue Öyster Cult and members of the Steve Miller Band and Santana. Levitin served as Vice President of Artists & Repertoire at 415/Columbia Records from 1984- 1988, as President in 1989. After 415 was sold to Sony Music, Levitin ran a successful production and consulting company whose clients included every major American record label and several film companies. He worked on records for Steely Dan, The Grateful Dead, Santana, Chris Isaak, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Wonder.

From 1996 to 1998 he worked at Interval Research Corporation, the Silicon Valley think tank owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, collaborating with computer industry pioneers, including the inventors of the laptop computer, the laser printer, and the computer mouse. At Interval, Levitin developed new musical instrument controllers currently in use by Laurie Anderson and Michael Brook. In 1999, Levitin helped to form the first internet music recommendation system, MoodLogic, which sold to the AMG group in May 2006. He also served as a new technology consultant for Pareto Partners, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. In 2000, Levitin helped to found McGill University's Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology.

An avid writer, Levitin has published 35 peer-reviewed scientific articles, and over 300 articles about music and music technology in commercial and trade magazines including Billboard, Electronic Musician, Mix, and Grammy. For his technical and marketing contributions to the recording industry, Levitin has been awarded 12 gold or platinum records (representing over 30 million records and CD sold), and two of his projects received Oscar nominations. He has consulted on underwater sound source separation for the U.S. Navy, acoustical design for Lear Jet and Bombardier, and currently directs the McGill Laboratory for the Study of Music Cognition, Perception and Expertise. He is the author of the international best-seller This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession (Dutton/Penguin, 2006).