Dr. Anja Volk

Associate Professor, MSc, MA, PhD

visiting address:
Utrecht University
Department of Information and Computing Sciences
Buys Ballot Laboratory, office 419
Princetonplein 5, De Uithof
3584 CC Utrecht

Tel.:+31 (30) 253 5965
Email: "a . v o l k "(at)"  uu .  nl   (please remove spaces)
Profile and postal address at the Faculty of Science
Profile at AcademiaNet: Leading Women Scientists

  Anja Volk

About me

My research lies at the intersection of Computer Science, Mathematics, Cognition and Music. I strive to connect fundamental research in Computer Science with the human processing of music information. This comprises a broad spectrum of research questions from theoretical to technology-related issues, engaging areas such as Computational Music Analysis, Music Information Retrieval, Computational Musicology, Mathematical Music Theory, Digital Humanities and Music Cognition. My research aims at enhancing our understanding of music as a fundamental human trait while applying these insights for developing music technologies that offer new ways of interacting with music, such as in the newly emerging field of music, computing, and health.


We are working towards a Special Issue at TISMIR on AI and musical creativity, to appear in 2021.
I am heading the interdisciplinary project "AlgoRhythm: Assessing and ameliorating sensory processing deficits of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder employing a serious rhythmic game", working towards a rhythmic game for children with autism, together with my colleagues Sander Bakkes and Matthieu Brinkhuis, and the University Medical Center Utrecht (Bob Oranje, Ria Veldhuizen) and the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Autisme.
This project contributes to Utrecht University's Research theme Dynamics Of Youth.

Recent Highlights

Press release about our roadmap paper on Music, Computing and Health: within a couple of weeks our article has made it to the top 10 most downloaded/viewed articles in Music & Science!

Our paper Music, Computing, and Health: A roadmap for the current and future roles of music technology for health care and well-being has been published at the open-access journal Music & Science. This roadmap paper is a collaboration of 15 authors from 3 continents spanning computer science, music psychology and neuroscience, music therapy, music information retrieval, music technology, medical technology (medtech) and robotics, who have participated in our Lorentz workshop on Music, Computing, and Health in 2019. I am grateful for the collaboration with Kat Agres (National University of Singapore) and Rebecca R. Schaefer (Leiden University) for leading this gigantic enterprise!

Our paper Music-Driven Animation Generation of Expressive Musical Gestures presented at ACM ICMI 2020, has been published. Our goal is to create virtual companions automatically driven by music for people with neuro-muscular diseases, inspired by our collaboration with the foundation of My Breath My Music.

Our first Special Issue at TISMIR commemorating the 20th Anniversary of ISMIR has been published! Enjoy reading!

I have been invited at ISMIR 2020 to the Notable Women in MIR series, to speak about my experiences as a researcher in MIR.

                  scientists from Utrecht University's Faculty of

Diversity Campaign: I am a scientist

I have initiated with my Westerdijk Award 2018 for Diversity and Inclusion the exhibition "I am a scientist", showing 7 researchers on life-size mock-ups and with short videos introducing their research, from Utrecht University's Faculty of Science.

The campaign seeks to counteract stereotypical expectations about scientists, showing diversity at full width to the Science academic community. The exhibition was opened on September 3, 2019 by the Dean of the Faculty of Science, Isabel Arends.

I am a scientist

I have participated in the Dutch team "Can AI Kick It" in the 1st AI Song Contest -  learn more about our AI-composed song in this press release and in this Youtube series of NPO 3 FM.

As a founding member of the Women in Information and Computing Science (WICS) network, I received together with Anna-Lena Lamprecht and Ria van Vlimmeren, Utrecht University's award for Diversity and Inclusion 2020, alongside the Young Women in Geosciences.

I served as PC chair of ISMIR 2019, together with Arthur Flexer, Geoffroy Peeters, and Julián Urbano, Delft, Nov 04-08, 2019.

I gave the keynote Towards explicating implicit musical knowledge at the Sound and Music Computing Conference 2019, Málaga, Spain, on May 30th.

I presented my research and the Women in MIR initiative at the First International Day of Women in Inclusive Sound and Music Computing Research event for more than 300 Spanish highschool students, in Málaga, Spain, on May 28th, alongside Elvira Brattico and Stefania Seraphin. The event was organized by Isabel Barbancho.

Our article Annotator subjectivity in harmony annotations of popular music (by Hendrik Vincent Koops, W. Bas de Haas, John Ashley Burgoyne, Jeroen Bransen, Anna Kent-Muller & Anja Volk) has appeared on May 20 in the Journal of New Music Research.

I presented at the Symposium Gender Dynamics in the Music Industry about the Women in MIR initiative, Groningen, May
17/18, 2019.

On March 29th I presented at the REWIRE 2019 Festival: Instrumental Shifts Symposium in The Hague on investigating chords in MIR.

I have co-organized the Lorentz workshop Music, Computing, and Health March 4-8, 2019.

Lorentz: Music,
                  Computing, And Health

Music, Computing, and Health

Workshop at the Lorentz Center, International Center for Workshops in the Sciences
March 04-08, 2019, Leiden, the Netherlands

Scientific Organizers:
Kat Agres, Susan van Hooren, Rebecca Schaefer, Anja Volk

Aim: Towards music technology for healthcare and well-being, drawing from music cognition, computing, music information retrieval, music therapy and medical technology

I served as a Project Guide on Modeling Repetition and Variation for MIR at first annual Women in Music Information Retrieval workshop, Paris, September 2018.


Westerdijk Award 2018

On September 4 I received the Westerdijk Award 2018 for diversity and inclusion from the Faculty of Science, Utrecht University.

The award was given to me in recognition of my activities in Women in Information and Computing Sciences (WICS),
and the international Women in Music Information Retrieval initiative (WIMIR).

Check out my Women in MIR Mentoring Program Report 2018: On the “only meeting that should last longer” about our ever growing mentoring program.

We launched the first issue of Transactions of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval, the open access journal of the ISMIR society, on September 4 2018.

WiMIR Mentoring Program Report 2017: the many faces of diversity is online. Check out results of the international mentoring program with 50 mentees and 50 mentors!


Transactions of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval

TISMIR publishes novel scientific research in the field of music information retrieval (MIR).

We welcome submissions from a wide range of disciplines:
computer science, musicology, cognitive science,
library & information science and electrical engineering.

Editors in Chief: Simon Dixon, Emilia Gomez, Anja Volk
View our submission guidelines for more information.

                  Computational Ethnomusicology

Computational Ethnomusicology: Methodologies for a New Field

Workshop at the Lorentz Center, International Center for Workshops in the Sciences
March 27-31, 2017, Leiden, the Netherlands

Scientific Organizers:
Andre Holzapfel, Peter van Kranenburg, Julia Kursell, Anja Volk

Aim: Connecting ethnomusicological research questions and computational methods

I gave a talk at the CompMusic Seminar accompanying the PhD thesis defenses of Gopala Krishna Koduri and Sertan Şentürk, on Feb 23, 2017 at Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona. Video.

Special Issue Music similarity: Concepts, cognition and computation,
Journal of New Music Research, Volume 45(3), appeared in September 2016. Guest Editors: Anja Volk, Elaine Chew, Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Christina Anagnostopoulou. Follow up to Lorentz workshop on Music similarity.

I gave the opening keynote speech "Computational pattern search in folk music: challenges and opportunities" at the 6th International Workshop on Folk Music Analysis in Dublin, Ireland on June 15, 2016. Watch the video recording here, photo impression here.

MCM 2015

5th Biennal International Conference on Mathematics and Computation in Music (MCM2015)

Queen Mary University of London, June 22-25, 2015.

General Chairs: Oscar Bandtlow and Elaine Chew
Program Chairs:
David Meredith and Anja Volk
Publication Chair: Tom Collins
Workshop Chair: Johanna Devaney

Proceedings: Lecture Notes in Artifical Intelligence 9110

Lorentz Music

Music similarity: concepts, cognition and computation

Workshop at the Lorentz Center, International Center for Workshops in the Sciences
19-23, 2015, Leiden, the Netherlands

Scientifc Organizers:
Christina Anagnostopoulou, Elaine Chew, Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Anja Volk
Group photo

Journal of Mathematics and Music, Special Issue


Mathematical and Computational Approaches to Music: Three Methodological Reflections

Journal of Mathematics and Music, Vol. 6(2).
Guest Editors: Anja Volk and Aline Honingh

Introduction to the Special Issue with more than 6000 times accessed, the most downloaded article of the journal

In the media/public outreach

UU press release about our contribution to the Dutch team "Can AI Kick It" in the 1st AI Song Contest.

Interview in De Ingenieur about using AI for generating our song Abbus within the Dutch team "Can AI Kick It".

Report in DUIC about our team "Can AI Kick It" in the 1st AI Song Contest.

I gave a lecture about my research and activities in WiMIR for 300 Spanish highschool students in Málaga, March 28th, 2019, during the First International Day of Women in Inclusive Sound and Music Computing Research.

I gave a lecture about my research on patterns in music in the Stadsgehoorzaal at the city of Leiden during the Public Symposium There is Music in the Brain, organized by the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition and the municipality of Leiden, on November 30, 2018.

Interview in Leids Universitair Weekblad De anatomie van hits, 29 November 2018.

I gave the public lecture Ritme en algoritme: patronen herkennen in muziek during NWO's Night of Science Music inside Out, on October 6, 2017. Video summary.

Concertzender live at Utrecht Centraal: Live interview at radio station Concertzender on 5 June 2017 about my public lecture "Lekker (algo)ritme" during the Culturele Zondag Utrecht Centraal.

I gave the public lecture Lekker (algo)ritme at Culturele Zondag Utrecht Centraal on June 5, 2017. Podcast. Blog Studium Generale 

On June 2, 2015 I received the Spotlight award from the Dean of the Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, for my activities in disseminating my work to the general public.

Professoren op het podium
(Professors on stage): A theater evening over Music and Mathematics, organized and moderated by Jan van den Berg. Guests: Anja Volk, Jan Neerven and Frank Redig. Theater de Veste, Delft. 1 April 2015, 20:30.

KennisCafe Amsterdam: Rocking Science, with Anja Volk, Tom ter Bogt, Fleur Bouwer, Louis Grijp, organized by De Volkskrant, KNAW, science center NEMO, de Balie Amsterdam, 15 December 2014, 20:00-22:00. Watch at De Balie TV, listen at Kennis van Nu, Radio 5.

Radio Interview at Science 071 Sleutelstad, 17 December 2014, listen here, photo here.  Update: This interview has been submitted to the NTR Radio Award 2015

Interview "De Volkskrant", 10 December 2014, pdf

Presentation at Bessensap 2014 (Science meets press): "Hoe herken je muziek?", 6 June 2014, photo impression

Portrayal in De Groene Amsterdammer, 31st October 2013, download print version here

Computational musicology in De Groene Amsterdammer, October 2013

e-data & research nr. 4 March 2011

Board member

International Society for Music Information Retrieval (2013-2015)

Society for Mathematics and Computation in Music

Computational Science Advisory Board of the Lorentz Center, International Center for Workshops in the Sciences, Leiden


2002: PhD in Computational Musicology at Humboldt University Berlin.

1998 Master in Mathematics at Humboldt University Berlin.

1996 Master in Musicology at Humboldt University Berlin.


since 2011: Assistant Professor at Utrecht University

2006-2010: PostDoc in the WITCHCRAFT project at the Utrecht University and the Meertens Institute Amsterdam.

2003- 2005: Postdoctoral Fellow in the at the Integrated Media Systems Center, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California.

1998-2003: PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Research Group for Mathematical Music Theory at the Technical University Berlin.

Research Interests

Journal Publications

Conference Proceedings

Books and edited volumes

Invited lectures