The 12th edition of the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival – taking place at Plymouth University from 24-26 February 2017 – will explore the reinvention of the human voice.
The three day festival will showcase extraordinary new technologies and novel approaches to composition, performance and participation in music and this year's theme, VOICE 2.0, offers a glimpse of how musicians, scientists and linguists are re-inventing the most essential instrument of all.
The ambitious programme, showcasing innovative research from academics at the University, will explore new forms and usage of voice in communication and musical creativity.
It includes the world premiere of a concert for a beatboxer with 'an orchestra in her mouth', music generated through interactive computer simulations of Darwinian evolution, and a choir of real and virtual vocalists singing in a new language invented by the creator of Dothraki, the language featured in the hit series Game of Thrones.
Highlights of the programme will include:
- The Art of Inventing Languages. A masterclass in language creation from David J. Peterson, the creator of Dothraki for HBO’s Game of Thrones and Shiväisith for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. Peterson will cover the history of language creation in fantasy and sci-fi from Tolkien and Klingon to today’s thriving global community of conlangers.
- Vōv by Eduardo Reck Miranda in collaboration with David J Peterson. A choir of human and virtual performers share the stage with the composer to sing a poem by David J. Peterson on the evolution of love - as expressed in a specially created embryonic language called Vōv. Composed with computer models of prehistorical voice and simulations of Darwinian evolution of music and language, this composition for four solo voices and live electronics in three movements, stems from the composer’s scientific research into the origins of language and music.
- Butterscotch Concerto by Eduardo Reck Miranda in collaboration with Butterscotch. Chamber orchestra meets the world’s first female beatboxing champion in an alt-classical mash-up that suggests an optimistic response to contemporary anxieties.
- Wasgiischwashäsch by Nuria Bonet Filella. An instrumental ensemble tribute to Switzerland’s nature, and music. The musical language combines the country’s popular musical voices with the composer’s own contemporary style, while its structure is determined by data of Switzerland’s climate over the last 150 years - a country more strongly affected by climate change that its neighbours.
- A Buddha of Superposition by Alexis Kirke. A short film about an avowed Buddhist and professional soprano, edited live for the cinema audience by an emotional artificial intelligence with help from a quantum computer at the University of Southern California.
The festival is presented by Peninsula Arts in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR) at Plymouth University, which is developing extraordinary musical instruments, intelligence creative programmes and new technologies for musical compositions, performances and audience engagement.
The department, which explores the meeting point of music, neuroscience and artificial intelligence, will demonstrate its pioneering research through a series of composed performance experiments.
Eduardo Reck Miranda and Simon Ible, co-directors of the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival, say:
"Ever since the dawn of humanity, voice has always been our primary source for communication. Our ability to evolve sophisticated verbal languages distinguishes us from other species. But voice also transmits other kinds of emotional and social information in ways that written words are not able to transmit – in particular on song.
“Today, voice seems to be losing ground to other means of communication. It is often regarded as the poor cousin of image and recent studies on usage of mobile phones have shown that texting has taken over making voice calls in the USA and in most of Western Europe. What is happening? Is voice becoming obsolete? Is technology really to blame here? Or would it be the case that voice, as we used to know it, is going through an upgrading process to be able to express matters of the present times?"