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Patrick Pennefather lives at the intersection of art, inspiration, and digital media

Jan 30, 2012 By Anonymous

Pennefather, January 2012Vancouver, BC – January 30, 2012 – Original Centre for Digital Media faculty member Patrick Pennefather has discovered that teacher, clown and composer can co-exist in symbiotic harmony.  

Pennefather, who began his professional career at seventeen composing music for a low budget film he’d prefer to forget (if you find “The Hunchback of New York City” let us know), has amassed an impressive catalogue of published musical works over the course of his twenty-five-year obsession with live and digital media. Born a clown, and raised by parents in Ottawa, Patrick grounded what would become a life-long obsession with improvisation, electro-acoustic composition and musical character performance into Fine Arts degrees from York (BFA) and Simon Fraser University (MFA), providing him with the solid underpinnings that would define the rest of his dynamic and productive career. He has published more than 400 works; composed of an incredibly diverse selection of live and recorded music, live stage performances, and licensed music for television, film and video games.

Interactivity and collaborative design play a huge part in Pennefather’s work, both from an artistic standpoint and from a pedagogical one. The artistic works that Patrick has considered to be the most stimulating are those that needed simple solutions to complex problems in order to best to support a scene in a story. His approach to teaching is similar, accessing a palette of tools and solutions in order to persistently align team members throughout a collaborative design process. He describes his teaching style as experiential, highly collaborative, and iterative. Patrick avoids adhering to one strict teaching methodology, improvisationally adapting his approach to complement the unique needs, personalities, and learning styles of each cohort of students at the Centre for Digital Media. 

Patrick will be hosting and performing in the upcoming Dances for a Small Stage (Feb. 1, 2 & 3) at this year’s PuSh Festival (http://pushfestival.ca/). This year’s performance—which marks Dances for a Small Stage’s 25th year—promises to be intriguing and crackling with “personality, individuality, and humour,” while using a bevy of Grimm’s fairy tales as its jumping off point. And it also promises to surprise, according to Pennefather, who notes that some ‘impromptu’ performances are definitely in store.

Pennefather has found his niche—his work and research in the creative sector inspiring ongoing relevancy for his teaching content and methods, and his passion for teaching challenging him to improve upon his own collaborative design process—showing no signs of letting up. And why would he? Twenty-five years of designing award-winning music, interactive experiences, learning from and mentoring bright digital pioneers of the future? If only we could all be so lucky…