Mara Helmuth has been enthusiastically involved with electronic and computer music composition and research for decades. Recent works include Racket Routes, for eight-channel audio, based on tennis sounds, Opening Spaces, for video, based on a Menger sponge model, Cold Brew, a graphic score for flute, clarinet, and fixed media based on the coffee genome, Onsen: Hot Springs, for vibraphone and fixed media, and Tranquilarea, for virtual reality installation. She is currently Professor of Composition at College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati and director of its Center for Computer Music, where she developed a program of courses in computer music. Her music has been performed internationally at conferences, festivals, and arts spaces, and is on recordings from PARMA Recordings, INNOVA, Fundamental Sounds, Centaur (CDCM), Open Space, Electronic Music Foundation, and Everglade. She has collaborated extensively with performers including composer/clarinetist/tarogato virtuoso Esther Lamneck, vibraphonist Joseph Van Hassel, clarinetist Andrea Vos Rochefort, percussionist/composer Allen Otte, clarinetist Rebecca Danard and saxophonist/composer Rick VanMatre in works for instruments and electronics.
Her research has involved wireless sensor networks and music, Internet2 improvisation and performance, and the RTcmix music programming language. She created two installations for the Sino-Nordic Arts Space in Beijing, one for the Teach and Tour Sojourners organization in Kampala, Uganda, and one in collaboration with CCM students. She curated the Sound and Video Anthology 2019 in the Computer Music Journal Issue 43:4 from MIT Press, with a downloadable three-concert collection of works by women composers. Her writings also include analyses of works by Annea Lockwood, Carla Scaletti, and Barry Truax, and she has written about gender and computer music. She was on the International Computer Music Association board of directors or in officer positions for over a decade, serving as its newsletter editor, Vice President for Conferences and President. Her early work involved programming a granular synthesis application, StochGran, an interface to Cmix which compiled instruments in C, and fixed media compositions Mellipse and Dragon of the Nebula. She holds a D.M.A. from Columbia University where she studied with Brad Garton, and earlier degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also plays tennis and practices T’ai chi ch’uan.