How Steinhardt Entrepreneurs Are Using Technology in the Arts

Innovation is in Steinhardt’s DNA – the School was the birthplace of groundbreaking programs in educational theatre, food studies, and media ecology, to name a few. This legacy of innovation has carried through to the School’s alumni, several of whom are using technology to facilitate artistic expression.

Three startups with Steinhardt founders have taken part in the NYU Summer Launchpad accelerator program, growing and developing products and services supporting music discovery, drumming, and theatre production.

Sensory Percussion, cofounded by music tech alum Tlacael Esparza, is a next-generation electronic drum.

This summer marks the fifth year of the Summer Launchpad, a 10-week program for teams of NYU student entrepreneurs. Each team receives $10,000 in grant funding, startup skills bootcamps, coaching from entrepreneurs and investors, collaborative workspace for the summer, pro-bono legal counsel, and other perks to help get their ventures launched.

Meet the Steinhardt startups:

How can geolocation and artificial intelligence influence how we learn about new music? Stereotheque, cofounded by music business alumnus Julián Duque (MA ’17), is one of 10 teams currently taking part in the 2017 Summer Launchpad. The platform helps millennials discover music by using artificial intelligence, time, and location to create “music scenes” – formerly a physical phenomenon of places, musicians, and their audiences, now turned digital. Users customize their own “music scenes” by bringing together information about their locations – where they live, have traveled to, were born, and more – as well as their musical preferences.

Theatre Galleria
A Little Red Riding Hood costume. A leather streamer trunk reminiscent of the Titanic. Ruby slippers. These are just a few of the items available on Theatre Galleria, an online marketplace for buying, selling, and renting costumes, props, and sets. In creating Theatre Galleria, which was part of the 2016 Summer Launchpad, vocal performance alumnae Jackie Kroeger-Donovan (MBA ’18, BM ‘10) and Bryna O’Neill (BM ’10) brought their on-stage experience to the business side of theatre to help the industry source what they need.

Sensory Percussion by Sunhouse
Drums meet modern audio software in Sensory Percussion, a modern take on electronic drums that captures the true expressive nature of drumming. Sensory Percussion is a hardware + software system that is an overlay onto acoustic drums. A sensor clamps to the side of a drum and connects to software, resulting in a new instrument that lets drummers create music in a new way.

Sensory Percussion is part of Sunhouse, cofounded by music technology alumnus Tlacael Esparza (MA ’14) and his siblings and part of the 2014 Summer Launchpad. Sunhouse technology is created with the vision of building systems with musical intelligence — systems that are smart enough to listen to and respond to a musician’s artistry to open up new creative possibilities in live performance, studio recording, and composition.