A photo of a Guthman judge's note pad, taken from behind his shoulder as he writes.



Each year we invite international experts in music technology to judge the Guthman Competition. They spend time learning about our finalists' work, asking key questions about the designs, and sharing perspectives with the music technology community. 

Some judges, like performance artist Laurie Anderson, jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, hip hop musician Young Guru, and Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess have used new technologies in performances and recordings to captivate audiences all over the world.

Others, like Technical Grammy Award Winner Roger Linn, synthesizer pioneer Tom Oberheim, and Cycling 74' Founder David Zicarelli have created new hardware and software that have changed the way we make music.

Many of our judges, like Stanford professor Ge Wang, McGill professor Marcelo Wanderley, and London University of the Arts reader Rebecca Fiebrink have conducted groundbreaking research that set the foundation for technical and design innovations in the music industry.

2023 Judges

Athan Billias headshot

Athan Billias

President, MIDI Association

Headshot of Craig King

Craig King

Chairman & Co-Founder, Rap Plug Academy & Rap Plug Live

Morwaread Farbood headshot

Morwaread Farbood

Associate Director of Music Technology, NYU

Athan Billias

Athan Billias has spent his entire life focused on music, technology innovation and MIDI. After graduating from Wesleyan University with a degree in Jazz Composition, he spent 10 years as a professional musician playing keyboards and flute as musical director for the Platters and playing and writing original music with Jerry Martini from Sly and the Family Stone.  He worked in retail music stores as sales manager for EU Wurlitzers in Boston and then started a long career working for digital music instrument manufacturers.   
He was the product planning manager for Korg Inc. in Tokyo, Japan during the development of  the Korg M1, the best selling hardware synthesizer of all time.  As Vice President of IVL Multimedia , he licensed MIDI controlled vocal harmony technology to Yamaha, Brother, Ricoh, and Sega for their ISDN network MIDI based commercial karaoke systems. In 1998 he joined Yamaha and was involved with the development and voicing for every Yamaha synthesizer from the S80 to the Montage. After retiring from Yamaha in 2020, he joined the MIDIable team. MIDIable is a live cloud based content creation engine that provides the best of both worlds: real time MIDI enabled multi-user/multi-camera streaming control and full resolution multi-track recordings ready for post-production editing directly in any non-linear video editor.

He is the current President of the MIDI Association and has been on the executive board of the MIDI Association for over twenty years.  He helped develop the annual MIDI Innovation Awards which give a platform for MIDI innovation and rewards products, prototypes, installations or concepts that are thought-provoking and inspire new, creative use cases of MIDI.

Craig King

Craig King is the Chairman & Co-Founder of Rap Plug Academy and Rap Plug Live. King is an honoree of the Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama for his philanthropy with the youth. He attended Howard University where he majored in jazz and classical piano. During his sophomore year he was recruited to perform with Ray Charles for "The Black Requiem Tour" conducted by Quincy Jones. From there King went on to work on many Grammy award winning albums, soundtracks, television shows, commercials, tours and award ceremonies (Kanye West, Ludacris, Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith, Aaliyah etc.). 

The newly appointed member of 100 Black Men of Atlanta class of 2022, King has also been named one of AT&T’s Black Future Makers. King has partnered with serial entrepreneur Rick Ross and Co Founder Branden Criss and global companies like AT&T Dream In Black, Apple Music, Ford (Produced Two Roll On Sister Commercials), Google, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Nike, Apple Music, BET, SXSW, Comcast Universal, Revolt, iHeart Radio + many more.

Morwaread Farbood

Morwaread Farbood employs an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from methodologies in the fields of music theory, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and computer science. Her research focuses primarily on the real-time aspects of music listening, in particular how emergent phenomena such as tonality and musical tension are perceived, in addition to computer applications for facilitating musical creativity that are based on cognitive models.

Farbood is currently Associate Professor and Associate Director of Music Technology at New York University in the Department of Music and the Performing Arts Professions, Steinhardt School. She is a member of the NYU Music and Audio Research Lab (MARL) and the Max Planck/NYU Center for Language, Music, and Emotion (CLaME). Her leadership helped found the Northeast Music Cognition Group with colleagues at NYU and Yale. From 2017-2018, Farbood was a Radcliffe Fellow in Computer Science at Harvard University.


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