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Keith McMillen Instruments
Keith McMillen Instruments develops innovative hardware and software technologies that allow musicians to interface with computers in exciting new ways. Based in Berkeley, California, KMI's products provide today's musician with the tools needed to bring new dimensions of expression and control to their performance. We believe when a computer is played as a musical instrument it should feel and respond like one, with all the nuance and sensitivity that makes an instrument musical.
Keith McMillen has been an innovator in audio and music technology for nearly 30 years. He has been working his entire adult life on one single problem - how to play live interactive music in an ensemble using extended instruments moderated by computer intelligence. This goal has required him to create dozens of new instruments, patented inventions and numerous successful companies in order to advance the technology sufficiently to reach his musical objectives. Keith began his audio career in 1979, when he founded Zeta Music. The company's revolutionary electronic instrument designs created a new market in the music industry, and the brand Zeta is the "gold standard" for electric and electronic string instruments.
In 1992, as Vice President of Gibson Guitars, he founded and ran G-WIZ (an R&D lab for Gibson); and led the effort to devise ZIPI (a musical instrument control language that avoided many of MIDI's limitations - ZIPI later evolved into OSC). Keith worked with UC Berkeley's CNMAT and created a new technology group focusing on audio networking, synthesizers and string instruments. As Director of Engineering at Harman Kardon in 1996, he headed a division dealing with complex audio processing and distributed music networks.
In 1999, Keith founded Octiv, Inc. an Internet audio signal processing company that addressed the problem of inconsistent audio quality across disparate delivery platforms. Octiv produced the best selling "Volume Logic" plug-in for iTunes as well as fundamental advances in teleconferencing. He led the company as both technologist and business guru raising over $20M from VCs such as 3i and Intel Capital. In April of 2005, Keith sold Octiv to Plantronics (NYSE:PLT) and is personally funding the current operations of the BEAM Foundation.
Keith received his BS in Acoustics under James Beauchamp from the University of Illinois where he also trained in classical guitar and studied composition with Herbert Brun, Scott Wyatt and Sal Martirano. Keith has spent 25 years developing MAPPS - an integrated computer composition, notation and performance system. In addition to running KMI and the BEAM Foundation, Keith performs with TrioMetrik, a string trio using McMillen's technology to create a new genre of music he calls "NuRoque."
The staff of KMI has been culled from the best and brightest graduates of MIT, Mills College, Berkelee, CalArts and the University of California.
A colorful group, and musicians all. Learn more about the people of KMI on the KMI Staff Page.
Interested in joining the KMI Team? Check out the KMI Jobs Page for current listings.
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A portion of each sale is donated to the BEAM Foundation. BEAM’s mission is to spark a new Western classical music movement, based on the technologies and aesthetics of the 21st century. New tools and techniques pioneered by BEAM will appear as a logical extension to the techniques in use by today’s composers and performers, in order to build on the wisdom and virtuosity already in place.