The Demo: Concert Version

The day the fundamentals of personal computing came to life

The Demo reflects on a pivotal moment in Silicon Valley’s history and one of its most influential figures. Douglas Engelbart’s 1968 demonstration of the fundamental features of personal computing is known as “the mother of all demos.” It featured the public debut of the mouse, hypertext and other applications that have shaped modern technology. This groundbreaking event is reimagined in its concert version with a unique hybrid of music, media and demonstration by composers and performers Mikel Rouse and Ben Neill.

Rouse has created a trilogy of operas, books of string quartets, two feature-length films, and at least one recorded album every year for the past 20 years. Rouse attended the Kansas City Art Institute and the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. He is joined by Ben Neill, the man who Time Out NY called, “a creative composer and genius performer,” and Time Out London, called, “a musical powerhouse, a serious and individual talent.”

NEAThis project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit


The Demo was commissioned and developed by the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in association with the eDream Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“[Rouse is] a composer many believe to be the best of his generation.” The New York Times