IRCAM stands for Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (Institute for Research and Coordination of Acoustic Music). It is an institute in Paris for composing electronic music. IRCAM is housed underneath the Pompidou Centre which is a very large building devoted to the arts, and named after the former French president Georges Pompidou.
In 1970 Georges Pompidou asked the composer Pierre Boulez to start an institution for music research. Boulez was in put in charge of the institute. It was opened in 1977. Composers were able to work there, composing music, without having to finish pieces by any particular date. They were given plenty of time to experiment. Many modern composers such as Harrison Birtwistle, Jonathan Harvey and George Benjamin have worked there or were influenced by the music that was being composed there. Today musicians working in IRCAM continue to provide many interesting new ideas in electronic music.