Ajay Kapur ’02 (Jeffrey K. Plunkett ’97)
Ajay Kapur ’02 (Jeffrey K. Plunkett ’97)

PAW’s January 2013 Music Issue highlighted the technologically advanced performances of Ajay Kapur ’02, a professor at the California Institute of the Arts best known for developing intricate, responsive robotic instruments. Now Kapur is shifting his creativity to a new outlet: Kadenze, an educational technology startup that he founded with Princeton emeritus professor Perry Cook.

Kadenze, which launched in June, features courses in music, art, and design that range from traditional topics (the history of Western art) to cutting-edge technology (“Physics-Based Sound Synthesis for Games and Interactive Systems,” a forthcoming class from Cook and Stanford’s Julius Smith). The platform aims to fill a niche that has been largely neglected in online education.

“It’s great that you can learn math and engineering and all these things that are out there,” Kapur toldInside Higher Ed. “We want to bring creativity into the mix.”

Princeton, Stanford, and CalArts are among Kadenze’s launch partners. (A few institutions are offering credit for the online courses, but Princeton is not among that group.) In addition to serving as Kadenze’s CEO, Kapur is teaching one of the first courses, “Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists.” It features sessions with three digital-music innovators who are also Princetonians: Cook; Ge Wang *08, an assistant professor at Stanford and co-founder of Smule; and Spencer Salazar ’06, a doctoral student at Stanford.