Season 2, Episode 4: Let’s Talk Composing Music in Virtual Reality

Season 2, Episode 4 with guest Dr. Roy Magnuson 


Summary: In the second of a two-part interview, Courtney and Kara talk to Dr. Roy Magnuson about his experience developing solsticeVR, a virtual reality composing environment. We discuss the development of the software from conceptualization to product and some challenges along the way. In addition, we describe the solsticeVR interface and user experience.   


Topics discussed in this episode:  

  • 0:56 – Inspiration for solsticeVR 
  • 5:09 – Swimming in Sound: Unique elements in solsticeVR  
  • 7:21 – Developing solsticeVR 
  • 13:54 – Failures along the way 
  • 18:52 – The interface and sounds of solsticeVR 
  • 24:41 – Technology requirements to run solsticeVR 
  • 27:06 – Releasing solsticeVR to the public 
  • 29:20 – Next directions in VR: The good, the bad and the ugly?  
  • 34:23 – Social media shout out  
  • 36:45 – End Credits  


Biography of Guest: 

The music of Dr. Roy David Magnuson has been performed throughout the United States and Europe at venues such as the World Saxophone Congress, NASA, WASBE, CBDNA, the RED NOTE New Music Festival, and the Robb Composers’ Symposium. Roy is an Associate Professor of Composition and Creative Technologies at Illinois State University where he serves on the Music Composition faculty, and as Associate Director of the Creative Technologies Program. Roy is also the creator of the virtual reality composition softwaresolsticeVR ( He is a member of ASCAP, and his music is recorded on Albany Records and NAXOS. You can follow Roy on Twitter @roydmagnuson 



Resources and software mentioned in this Episode:  

  • Annie Dillard (author mentioned in episode) 
  • Solstice VR student compositions played in the episode 



Episode transcript: Season2Episode4Transcript



Subscribe to STEMTalk via  

STEAMTalk Twitter  

STEAMTalk Website 

CeMAST Website