Professor David Ibbett
Alden Hall, AH216
MA Clare College, Cambrdige
MMus Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Ph.D. University of Birmingham

Professor David Ibbett is a composer, educator, and musical advocate for science. He directs the Multiverse Concert Series, a project that combines music and science in live performance - and thus he has found the perfect home in WPI's unique STEAM culture. Together, David and his students develop the music, techniques, technologies and performance practices to unite the arts and sciences as an immersive experience for audiences of all ages.

Ibbett composes electrosymphonic music: a fusion of classical and electronic styles that interweaves influences from songs, symphonies, pop, rock and electronica. Musical strands are met with inspiration from the work of scientists: sonified data, musical metaphors for scientific concepts, and experimental sound and images from contemporary research.

In all projects, Ibbett seeks a deep collaboration with musicians, scientists, artists, and performers. He has worked with physicists (Dr. Matthew Kleban, NYU), biologists (Dr. Paul Garrity, Brandeis), engineers (Dr. Irmgard Bischofberger, MIT), sociologists (Dr. Clara Han, Johns Hopkins), astrophysicists (Dr. Priya Natarajan, Yale), and oceanographers (Dr. Sarah Davies, BU). Key projects include Octave of Light (2020), an album of exoplanet music with Roy Gould of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Climate Hope Concert (2022) with WBUR and the Urban Farming Institute; Black Hole Symphony (2021) and Mars Symphony (2023) with the Museum of Science, Boston and Laurie Leshin of NASA's JPL.

In 2020, Ibbett was the first guest composer at Fermilab, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. 

In 2023, Ibbett was named the first Resident Composer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being

SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Good Health & Well-Being Goal

SDG 4: Quality Education

SDG 4: Quality Education - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Quality Education Goal

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Affordable and Clean Energy Goal

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Sustainable Cities and Communities Goal

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Responsible Consumption and Production Goal
Professional Highlights & Honors
Guest Composer, 2020 - 2021
Resident Composer, 2023
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Black Hole Symphony translates the sounds of black holes into orchestral music

Adjunct Professor of Music David Ibbett appeared on the GBH program “Boston Public Radio” to talk about the “Black Hole Symphony” he composed and is performing at the Museum of Science planetarium. Ibbett worked with astrophysicists to turn the different aspects of a black hole galaxy into a concert and immersive experience that includes audio and visuals.

Boston Globe
Science and music collide in ‘Black Hole Symphony’ at the Museum of Science

The Boston Globe spoke with Adjunct Professor of Music David Ibbett about his “Black Hole Symphony” concerts. The performances are being held in the planetarium at the Museum of Science. Ibbett composed the music for the symphony, which features a live chamber orchestra, recorded electronic music, visuals, and a narration. The symphony seeks to educate and entertain by combining music and science to help the audience understand black holes.