A Shakespearean prequel opera with a Game of Thrones twist will be among the highlights of the 2019 University of Plymouth Contemporary Music Festival.
Quantum physics, a musician playing a duet with an artificial intelligence and a gala concert featuring the acclaimed BBC Singers will also be part of the 14th annual event, which, once again, promises an exploration of the boundary between science and creativity.
Running over the weekend of Friday 22 to Sunday 24 February 2019, the festival is organised by the University’s Arts Institute in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR).
With a theme of Multiverse, the 2019 edition is aimed at helping us to understand how the mysteries of quantum science relate to daily reality, through musical interpretations of the quantum world.
Headlining the Saturday night gala concert is the premiere of Lampedusa, a new opera by ICCMR Director Professor Eduardo Reck Miranda in Vōv, a language created by David J Peterson. One of the world’s foremost language inventors, Peterson is responsible for the Game of Thrones warrior tongue Dothraki and many others, and will open the festival with a talk entitled ‘On designing languages for would-be worlds’.
Lampedusa imagines the island of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in a time immediately before the play’s story begins. An inversion and subversion of the current refugee crisis narrative, the work depicts Sycorax as a Sephardic Jew fleeing persecution by the Spanish Inquisition – first from Europe to Algeria, then from North Africa to Venice. Pregnant, Sycorax’ ship is wrecked in a storm and she awakens on the mysterious, musical island of Lampedusa, where she gives birth to Caliban and encounters Ariel. Intrigue, adventure and conflict ensue, before the opera ends as Prospero and his daughter Miranda arrive on the island.
Lampedusa includes material composed with software developed at the ICCMR, which renders particle collision data from the Large Hadron Collider into sound. The gala concert will be recorded live for BBC Radio 3.
Other works being showcased at the festival, and composed by ICCMR researchers, include:
- Other Self, a duet between
Dr Marcelo Gimenes and an artificial intelligence.
- Dr Alexis Kirke’s
Entangled Brains, in which the brains of two performers will be linked to a
quantum computer via electroencephalogram (EEG) headsets.
- Illusions by Linas
Baltas, exploring the suggestion that sounds and music are fabrications of our
- Queen Canute by
Nuria Bonet, a duet for clarinet and seagull song drawing attention to the
beauty of the sound, and the birds themselves.
Professor Miranda said:
“Our intuition about how the world works breaks down when we try to understand it on the very tiny scale of the atom. The more we learn about the quantum world the bigger the questions that are uncovered: are there parallel universes; and what is the relationship between perception and reality?
“Humankind struggles to understand how quantum physics relates to our daily reality. With our compositions we are trying to look at science from a different perspective, by bringing this relatively new field of knowledge into our creative process. But also, we hope that our music will offer an artistic framework through which to consider these big questions.”
For more information on the Contemporary Music Festival 2019, visit https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/your-university/arts-institute-public-programme/contemporary-music-festival and http://cmr.soc.plymouth.ac.uk/event.htm.
With the exception of the gala concert, all events are free but booking is required.