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Diana Dabby, Ph.D.

Professor Diana Dabby

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Music
Music Program Director

Milas Hall 269


Ph.D., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
M.F.A., Music, Mills College
A.B., Music, Vassar College

Select Courses Taught

Olin Conductorless Orchestra
Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
Wired Ensemble
Signals & Systems


Chaos Theory and Music
Chaos Theory and Image
Music and Letters


Diana Dabby has taught at MIT, Tufts University, and Juilliard, and holds degrees in music and electrical engineering from Vassar, Mills, C.C.N.Y., and MIT. She is Music Program Director and Electrical Engineering faculty at Olin where she teaches orchestration, composition, performance and signal processing, as well as interdisciplinary courses connecting art and science.  In her doctoral research at MIT, Dabby combined music and engineering by devising a chaotic mapping for musical variation. Awarded three patents, her work with chaotic systems and musical variation has been featured on NPR member station WBUR (2004), NPR’s Weekend Edition (2007), in Science (2008) and the Boston Globe (2013), as well as at a number of invited concert/lectures. A new web application, CantoVario, is currently under development with the MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) program. This work was selected for MIT’s VMS Demo Day 2014, Entrepreneurial Edge Showcase 2017, and the MIT Innovation Corps (2018), a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In March 2019, CantoVario was selected for the National Innovation Corps (I-Corps) sponsored by NSF and awarded a 50K grant for customer discovery.  

As a concert pianist and composer, her work has been heard at Boston’s Jordan Hall, Symphony Hall, Tanglewood, in New York at Carnegie-Weill Recital Hall and Merkin Concert Hall, as well as on both coasts and abroad. Recent compositions include Who was Wissam Eid? (2017), Fuente y Variación (2013), Tre Studi di Colore (2012), and September Quartet (2011) which received its world premiere on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The world première of Parallel Voices—Distant Mirrors (2018) for bass/alto flutes, voice, piano and soundtrack featured a new listening experience for the audience: seat location determined the variation path heard through the soundtrack. The 5-movement work explores parallel universes in Iraq and the United States. As an orchestrator, she has created over 127 arrangements of symphonic works for the Olin Conductorless Orchestra, ranging from 6 to 24 players (2002 – present). In January 2017, a book chapter (“The Engineers’ Orchestra—a conductorless orchestra for our time”) was published by Springer Nature in Creative Ways of Knowing in Engineering (Baraiktarova and Eodice, eds.).