Arts Society & Culture

First music composition performed with Google Glass to premiere Nov. 12

Cynthia Johnston Turner Google Glass-h
Cynthia Johnston Turner

Athens, Ga. – In the age of privacy debates and revelations of government electronic surveillance by Edward Snowden and others, University of Georgia Director of Bands Cynthia Johnston Turner has a message for Google.

That message will come in the form of music during the public premiere of the first music composition inspired by, composed for and performed with Google Glass. The piece will be performed Nov. 12 at 3:30 p.m. at the Georgia Museum of Art, during UGA’s annual Spotlight on the Arts festival, which includes more than 60 events in the performing, literary and performing arts.

“Adwords/Edward,” was commissioned by Turner, who is conducting research with Google Glass in the classroom and on the conductor’s podium at the university’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music. The name of the composition references Google’s online advertising service, Adwords, and Snowden’s first name.

“This is a piece for our time that speaks to the concept of privacy. Is privacy an outdated concept now? I don’t know,” Turner said. “Every time we put Google Glass on, is Google listening? Yes. Every time you do a search with Google, are they listening? Yes. Are they taking our data? Yes. We are in very interesting, scary, provocative times, and that is what this piece is about.”

Turner became a beta tester for Google Glass last year after winning Google’s #ifIhadGlass contest. Her research, which has included the creation of a metronome app and experiments on viewing a musical score through the Glass prism, is funded by a Consortium of College and University Media Centers grant.

The performance of “Adwords/Edward” will be followed by a discussion of Turner’s Google Glass lab.

“It’s modern; it speaks to technology; it has a cool groove; it’s really hip. It’s an interesting genre-bender. I like music that does that. Is it pop music? Is it serious modern so-called classical music? Do those pillars of genres matter anymore?” Turner said, describing the composition written for bass clarinet, piano and drums, with an electronic component and vocals, written by Kevin Ernste of Cornell University. “It’s still classical music in the sense that it is minimalist, but it also has this kind of neat groove. And it has a message.”

For more information on Turner’s experiments with Google Glass, see Blog posts are available at

About Spotlight on the Arts
Presented by the UGA Arts Council, the third annual Spotlight on the Arts features more than 60 events in the visual, literary and performing arts. The nine-day festival, scheduled for Nov. 6-14, includes museum tours, discussions with writers and concerts, including a free outdoor concert on College Square. For the complete schedule, go to, and follow the Arts at UGA on Facebook or Twitter.