Trained as an engineer, Robert Henke is fascinated by technical objects intended for the design, construction, and performance of machines that make sounds, shapes, and structures. The development of his own instruments and algorithms is an essential part of his creative process. He works on material composed of images and sounds synthesized by composers, by concrete recordings, by photos and lights that he transforms, rearranges, and models using mathematical procedures, real-time interactions, and random actions. Robert Henke is particularly interested in exploring space, virtual or real. Several of his works have been created for audio systems that are multi-channel or specially designed for the specific space where they will be exposed, using their specific spatial properties. The result is contemporary music, a concert in surround sound, composition in the traditional computer-music sense, an audiovisual installation, in situ sonic art, and open source software.
Robert Henke is one of the leading music software designers of Ableton Live, which, since its launch in 1999, has become one of the most commonly used programs for electronic music production to the point of redefining the practice. In addition to writing and giving conferences on creative uses for the computer, Henke teaches a the Berlin Univserity of the Arts, at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University, and at the the Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains in Lille.