An institute for electronic arts, based in Paris. The name is an acronym for Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique, which loosely translated into English comes to "Institute for Coordinating Research Into Acoustics and Music". Its founding sprung from a 1970 conversation between Georges Pompidou, then president of France, and French composer and polymath Peirre Boulez, concerning the need for a center for young French composers to experiment with modern arts, including electronic music and multimedia. After several years of pursuing funding and acquiring facilities and space, IRCAM opened in 1977 with Boulez as its first director.
Since then, a large body of work, mostly in the modern classical vein, has emerged from IRCAM. Composers and performers who have resided and produced works there range from Karheinz Stockhausen to Frank Zappa. John Chowning did his early work on FM synthesis at IRCAM, and Miller Puckette wrote the first version of what became Max/MSP there. IRCAM is also noted for its library of public-domain music software, which can be subscribed to through its Web site.