Maxwell Tfirn - Directory - Christopher Newport University


Maxwell Dillon Tfirn

Department of Music

Maxwell Tfirn

Director of Creative Studies, Lecturer in Composition

Ferguson Ctr A184
(757) 594-7082


  • Ph D in Composition and Computer Technologies, University of Virginia
  • MA in Music Composition, University of Virginia
  • MA in Music Composition, Wesleyan University
  • BM in Music Education, University of Florida


Music Composition, Sound Synthesis, Music Production, Acoustics, Experimental Music, Music Technology


Music Notation, Algorithms, Sound Synthesis, Interactive Music Systems


Maxwell Tfirn is composer and performer based in Newport News, Virginia, where he holds the position Director of Creative Studies at Christopher Newport University. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Virginia, an MA in Music Composition from Wesleyan University, and a BM in Music Education as well as a performance certificate in percussion from the University of Florida. His current research focuses on real-time, recursive compositions for live performances. He also performs live improvised noise music using digital and analog electronics. Outside of his music, Maxwell creates digital glitch photography that uses audio concepts and synthesis as a means of image manipulation in Supercollider. Maxwell has had works performed at ICMC, SEAMUS, Electro Acoustic Barn Dance, Society of Composers, FEAST Festival, Technosonics, N_SEME, and Subtropics Music festival and was a featured composer for Share and more. His music has also been performed by Jack Quartet, Loadbang, MehanPerkins, Dither, Ekmeles, The New Thread Quartet, percussionists I-Jen Fang, pianist Seung-Hye Kim and Kenneth Broadway. He has studied with Judith Shatin, Anthony Braxton, Ted Coffey, Matthew Burtner, Paula Matthusen, James Sain and Ronald Kuivila.

Selected Accomplishments

  • Best Use of Sound (Academic), ICAD (International Community for Auditory Display). (2023)
  • Music Composition - Major Work, Performance
    "Color Eyes". Robin Meiksins. Youtube.
  • Music Composition - Major Work, Performance, Prof Ensemble
    "Sound Pictures in a Lonesome Mind". Robin Meiskins. Youtube. Chicago Illinois.
  • Music Composition - Major Work, Performance, Prof Ensemble
    "Disconnected Sound Pictures". Electro Acoustic Barn Dance. Jacksonville Florida.
  • Music Composition - Other Work, Publication
    "Gentle Rain on Delicate Wings". UVa Percussion Ensemble. Old Cabell Hall. CHarlottesville, VA, United States of Amer..
  • Music Composition - Major Work, Performance
    "Sigh Interrupt Cycle". International Computer Music Conference. NYU International Computer Music Conference. New York, NY.
  • Music Composition - Major Work, Performance
    "An Endless Reflection of Sound". Maxwell Tfirn. Mansfield University Contemporary Music Festival. Mansfield, PA.
  • Maxwell Tfirn, Judith Shatin, NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression), "Zipper Music," online. (2020)
  • Maxwell Tfirn, Electro Acoustic Barn Dance, "Sonifying Reflected Light Through Machine Learning and Sound Synthesis," Jacksonville Florida. (2019)
  • Maxwell Tfirn, Living at the Intersections, "Sonification of data to listen for patterns in bacterial swimming behavior," Princeton New Jersey. (2018)
  • Maxwell Tfirn, Roseanne Ford, "Exploring Beyond Visualization: Data Sonification of Bacterial Chemotaxis Patterns," Sponsored by National Science Foundation
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