Contemporary Music Festival 2019

In partnership with

Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR)

- - - Friday 22 - Sunday 24 February 2019 - - -




MULTIVERSE is the theme of the 14th edition of University of Plymouth’s annual Contemporary Music Festival

Formerly known as Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival

MULTIVERSE celebrates the research at the crossroads of music and science developed at ICCMR

Festival Director: Eduardo R. Miranda, Professor of Computer Music


[ 14 years of musical innovation ]

"Plymouth University's 10th annual Contemporary Music Festival was a captivating fusion of science and art."
BBC Focus

"It's all highly experimental, but the work being done does have practical, real-world consequences."
The Creators Project, Vice Media

"In every sense, a memorable weekend."
The Telegraph

"The festival teems with compositional creativity."
New Statesman

"One of the UK’s most innovative festivals of contemporary music."
The Sampler

"It's enough to make Beethoven roll over in his grave."
Daily Mail

"Firmly establishing itself as an important platform in the UK for new music."
Seen and Heard International

"Anyone complaining that classical music is boring clearly needs to take a trip to Plymouth."
Sinfini Music

Our intuition about how the world works breaks down when we try to understand it on the very tiny scale of the atom.
In Quantum Physics particles pop up out of nowhere. And they can be in two places at once, and spookily influence each other at long distances. We are made of agglomerations of quantum particles and yet we can’t do any of that.
Humankind struggles to understand how Quantum Physics relates to our daily reality. There are various interpretations of the quantum world. For instance, the ‘many-worlds’ interpretation advocates the existence of parallel universes. Many other interpretations might still emerge.
MULTIVERSE proposes a weekend of musical interpretations of the quantum world. It will premiere a duet between a pianist and an Artificial Intelligence improviser, and a piece composed with a quantum computer. The BBC Singers will perform new compositions by ICCMR composers, including an opera with musical renditions of particle collision data and a libretto in an otherworldly language.

Friday 22 February 2019
19:00 – 20:30, Jill Craigie Cinema, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth
FREE admission, booking required
On Designing Languages for Would-be Worlds
By David J. Peterson
David Peterson
David J. Peterson is the one of the world’s most famous language creators. He has invented languages for various films and TV programmes. David created a language for Walt Disney film Thor: The Dark World. And he is the creator of the Dothraki language for HBO’s fantasy series Game of Thrones. He invented the language Vōv, used in Eduardo R. Miranda's opera Lampedusa and wrote the libretto. In this talk David reveals how he creates authentic, naturalistic languages. And will introduce Vōv and Lampedusa's libretto.

Saturday 23 February 2019
20:00 - 22:00, The House, University of Plymouth
£12 full / £10 concessions / Friends free & SPiA
Conductor: Nicholas Chalmers| Visual design: Kaz Rahman | Costumes: Hedy Hurban
BBC Singers
Illusions (Choir) by Linas Baltas
Forking Paths (Choir) by Marcelo Gimenes
Lampedusa (Opera in 3 acts. Choir, Mezzo-soprano, Bass and Electronics) by Eduardo R. Miranda | Libretto: Eduardo R. Miranda & David J. Peterson | Director: Victor Ladron de Guevara | Choreographer: Josh Slater | Dancer (Ariel): Hayley Bentley | Soprano (Sycorax): Emma Tring | Bass (Caliban): Edward Price.
Neuroscience tells us that our perception of reality are constructions of the brain. Sounds are fabrications of our mind and music is an illusion. Linas’ Illusions is inspired by the intriguing notion that our brain can listen to sonic properties that seem to pop up out from nowhere. Yet, these proprerties do not show up when we analyse recordings of the actual sounds.
The inspiration for Marcelo’s Forking Paths comes from Jorge Luis Borges’ book The Garden of the Forking Paths. In this book Borges alludes to another fabrication of our brain: the notion of time. When we are confronted with several alternatives we choose one and eliminate others. If we could get rid of time, would we be able to live them simultaneously?
Eduardo’s opera Lampedusa is set in a parallel Shakespearean universe. The plot takes place before the arrival of Prospero and Miranda in Lampedusa, allegedly the island portrayed in Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.  The opera tells the story of Sycorax, a refugee from Europe, her son, Caliban, and Ariel. Ariel is an invisible native inhabitant who objects Caliban’s ambitions of reigning over the island. Lampedusa includes materials composed with an unprecedented piece of software developed at ICCMR. It renders high-energy particles collision data from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider into sounds and music. The libretto is in the imaginary island’s language Vōv, created by celebrated language inventor David J. Peterson.

Sunday 24 February 2019
10:30 - 12:00, Jill Craigie Cinema, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth
FREE admission, booking required
Observables presents a collection of short films curated by Alexis Kirke on the themes of quantum multiverse. The programme includes metaphors for quantum effects - how observers affect the observed and paths we could have been taken but did not. The event culminates with The End?, a new film by Alexis, in which observers inadvertently become part of an observed film.


Sunday 24 February 2019
13:00 – 14:00, The House, University of Plymouth
FREE admission, booking required
Decoding Reality: The Universe as Quantum Information
By Vlatko Vedral, Department of Physics, University of Oxford
University of Oxford physicist Vlatko Vedral introduces the mesmerising world of Quantum Physics. A better understanding of the atomic world affords the development of new technologies. Today’s digital computers process information encoded using binary digits. However, quantum processors do so using quantum bits. A binary bit can be in only one of two states, 0 or 1, but a quantum bit can be in both states at the same time. Quantum computing technology is opening exciting new avenues for creativity, including music.


Sunday 24 February 2019
14:30 – 16:00 The House, Univesity of Plymouth
FREE admission, booking required
The research concert showcases research, new ideas and technologies developed by ICCMR composers. The University of Plymouth is a leader in the development of Artificial Intelligence for music. We are pioneers in Music Neurotechnology and on using quantum computing in music.
Davina's Colour (String Quartet Composed from Colour) by Richard Abbott
Entangled Brains (Brain-Computer Music Interface and Quantum Computer) by Alexis Kirke
Queen Canute (Clarinet and Electronics) by Nuria Bonet
Richard is developing an artificial synaesthesia - cross-talk between different senses - for use in musical composition. Davina's Colour is a contemporary classical string quartet whose harmony is drawn from colourful photographs documenting the day of an artistic friend.
It will be performed by The Happy Quartet.
Alexis is planning to link the brains of two performers to a quantum computer via EEG headsets. Quantum processes acting on their brainwaves will produce the piece Entangled Brain.
Nuria's new composition will explore the intriguing world of seabird communication. Queen Canute harnesses musical structures in the sounds made by seagulls.

Bookings and enquiries
The Arts Institute
University of Plymouth
Drake Circus
Plymouth PL4 8AA

T: +44(0)1752 585 050
E: theartsinstitute@plymouth.ac.uk


The festival will take place at venues located in University of Plymouth's city centre campus.

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Previous years: PACMF2018 | PACMF2017 | PACMF2016 | PACMF2015 | PACMF2014 | PACMF2013