Music Studios Faculty

Clay Chaplin - Director of Computer Music & Experimental Media Studios, Composition & ESP Faculty, Larry Levine Chair in Contemporary Music


Clay Chaplin is a computer musician, improviser, and audio engineer from Los Angeles who explores the realms of audio-visual improvisation, sound synthesis, field recording, electronics, and computer processing for creative sonic expression. Throughout his career he has worked on many projects involving experimental music, video, audio recording, and interactive computer systems. Chaplin studied composition and computer music with Morton Subotnick, Tom Erbe, Mark Trayle, Ichiro Fujinaga and Gary Nelson. He studied audio engineering with Tom Erbe, Ron Streicher and Jurgen Wahl.

Clay’s works have been performed internationally including performances at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, the Bent Festival, the Busan International Computer Music Festival, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Elektroakustiche Musik (DEGEM) studios, the Ear Zoom Sonic Arts festival, the Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music (STEIM), the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) conferences, the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College (CCM), the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, the Olympia Experimental Music Festival, the Korean Electro-Acoustic Society Festival, the Sonic Circuits Festivals, the Santa Fe Electronic Music Festival and many others. Clay has been composer in residence at STEIM and the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College.

Clay has given talks about experimental sound practices for the American Composer’s Forum, the Machine Project gallery, the Sea and Space Explorations gallery, the Telic gallery, Otis College, and the Center for Research in the Computing Arts (CRCA) at UCSD. Clay is currently the Director of the Computer Music and Experimental Media studios at the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts and is Co-director of the Experimental Sound Practices program.

Emily Evans - Co-Director, Musical Arts / Experimental Pop Specializtion


Emily Evans is a sound engineer, music producer, recording studio director and musician. In 2006, she founded The Green Door Studio, a community-access analog/digital recording studio in Glasgow, Scotland, which has been named Recording Studio of the Year (Scottish New Music Awards, 2010), is consistently ranked among the Top 100 Cultural Contributors in Scotland, was called “the beating heart of the Glasgow music scene,” by Resident Advisor. She has recorded and mixed over 100 albums and EP’s, 3 named in the top 10 for Scottish Album of the Year and 7 featured in Album of the Year lists in The Wire magazine, The Vinyl Factory and The Quietus. Her clients include Belle and Sebastian (Matador Records), Golden Teacher (Rough Trade/ SoulJazz / Optimo Music), The Amazing Snakeheads (Domino Records), Alasdair Roberts (Drag City), LAPS (DFA Records), Tafi Cultural Group, and Total Leatherette (Milk Records).

From 2014-15, she facilitated an international collaborative mobile recording project with musicians from Glasgow, Belize and Ghana. The resulting album, Youth Stand Up!, was named among the Best Albums of 2015 by The Vinyl Factory. From 2016-18, she worked with musicians from Tafi Atome in Ghana to establish the Tafi Cultural Institute and build a recording studio in the village and continues to produce collaborative recording projects with them. In 2017, she moved to California and set up a mixing studio to work in partnership with Green Door (UK) and Tafi Cultural Institute.

She holds a Bachelors in Art:Semiotics from Brown University, a Master of Design in Sound for the Moving Image from Glasgow School of Art (which she earned as an Arts and Humanities Research Council Scholar), a Postgraduate Certificate in Sonic Arts from the University of Glasgow, and has spent a year studying Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art.

John Baffa - Technical Director Performance Production


John Baffa has been in the professional audio business for more than 25 years; primarily as a recording engineer. John has held positions on both the faculty and staff at the Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts since 2000. John is currently the Technical Director Performance Production as well as faculty within the Music Technology: Interaction, Intelligence and Design (MTIID) Specialization department.

He founded TV Tray Recording Studio in 2003, working from the top of a TV tray as he learned the ins and outs of recording. From those humble beginnings, the studio grew and developed over the years, building an impressive list of clients and projects spanning a huge range of genres.
Simultaneously continuing to mix live sound, he honed his chops in such places as the Alex Theater in Glendale and West Hollywood’s legendary Troubadour, as well as in venues all over the world, including the Sydney Opera House.

In 2014, John was recognized with his first Grammy award for his work recording and mixing Partch on Plectra and Percussion Dances.
Over his career, John has worked with a diverse set of performers, mixing such artists as Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Trio, Johnny Cash, Mike Patton, Henry Rollins, The Melvins, Pulley, Ten Foot Pole, Vinny Golia, Ullrich Krieger, Vicki Ray, David Rosenboom, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Vonettes, Plotz, Dr Mint, Banyon, the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Anne Hall, Towse, and Ackland.

Amy Knoles - Faculty of Percussion/Electronic Percussion


Amy Knoles, Associate Dean; Larry Levine Chair in Contemporary Music, Faculty of Electronic Percussion at the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, performs original works throughout the world.

She is a recipient of the ASCAP Foundation "Composer-in-Residence at the Music Center of Los Angeles", the Meet the Composer “Commissioning Music USA”, the "UNESCO International Prize for the Performing Arts", the C.O.L.A and has worked with the LA Phil, Kronos Qt., Rachel Rosenthal, Frank Zappa, Pierre Boulez, Morton Subotnick, Robert Henke a.k.a. MonoLake, Ensemble Modern, Flea, Bang On A Can, Ulrich Krieger, Alison Knowles, John Cage, Elliott Carter, Morton Feldman, David Rosenboom, Mauricio Kagel, Julia Wolfe, Vinko Globokar, Louis Andriessen, Lucky Mosko, Charles Wourinen, Eve Beglarian, Arthur Jarvinen, Steve Reich, Tod Machover and many others; has recorded over thirty CDs/Vinyl of new and unusual music.

Her work has been described as being of: "frightening beauty, fascinating, complex" by National Public Radio and she is described as "Los Angeles' new music Luminary, infinitely variable, infinitely fascinating" by the Los Angeles Times.