Pen Arts

Friday 24 - Sunday 26 February
Celebrating 12 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

Festival Directors:

Simon Ible, Director of Music, Peninsula Arts
Eduardo Reck Miranda, Professor of Computer Music


Organised in partnership with Plymouth University’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music (ICCMR)


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. And of course, let us not forget the undeniable expressive power of the singing voice.

Paradoxically, voice seems to be losing ground to other means of communication. One might say that new communication technologies are to blame. For instance, back to the invention of silent cinema people realized that pictures could speak a thousand words. Indeed, this trend became entrenched in our society today: notwithstanding the fact that we can record voice with our mobile phones, people generally prefer to take photographs instead. Movies now combine audio and vision, but voice is often regarded as the poor cousin of image. More disturbingly, 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?

VOICE 2.0 offers a glimpse of how musicians, scientists and linguists are re-inventing voice through an ambitious programme exploring new means, forms and usages of voice in communication and musical creativity. It will premiere new compositions by University of Plymouth composers and guests, including the world premiere of a concert for a beatboxer with an orchestra in her mouth, a choir of real and virtual singers and a fully-fledged invented language, created specially for the festival by David J. Peterson, the inventor of the language Dothraki, of the series Game of Thrones.
Friday 24 February 2017
20:00 – Jill Craigie Cinema, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University
FREE event
The Art of Inventing Languages
By David J. Peterson

David J. Peterson is the one of the world’s most famous language creators. He has created languages for various films and TV programmes, such as the Walt Disney film ‘Thor: The Dark World’ and the language Dothraki, for HBO’s fantasy series Game of Thrones. This talk will introduce what is involved in the creation of an authentic, naturalistic language such as Dothraki and the language created for Eduardo R. Miranda’s vocal composition Vōv.
An excerpt from Peterson’s poem in Vōv:
Kinlīk sqen mbau nanahloi.
Kinlīk sqen mvēm hā.
Abūv qen svēmosloi.
Vōvūv loi.
Qen loi.
E ohlūv.
Gibil ndrā e ndrā.
The translation in English:
We will show them our paths.
We will teach them of fire.
They will keep our knowledge.
They will love us.
They are we.
And we will be.
From now to then and then.

Saturday 25 February 2017
20:00 – The House, Plymouth University
Tickets £10/£7
Peninsula Arts Sinfonietta and Peninsula Arts Singers under the baton of Simon Ible will premiere Eduardo R. Miranda’s Butterscotch Concerto, an alt-classical piece for chamber orchestra and beatboxing composed for American voice percussionist virtuosa Butterscotch, and Vōv, a piece for singers and live electronics exploring the composer’s research into the origins of language and music. Also in the programme are new pieces by Linas Baltas and Butterscotch, and Wasgiischwashäsch, a musical rendition of data voicing Switzerland’s climate change over the last 150 years by ICCMR PhD student Nuria Bonet.
Wasgiischwashäsch, by Nuria Bonet
Native Alien, by Butterscotch
Butterscotch Concerto, by Eduardo R. Miranda in collaboration with Butterscotch
Real Voices Dining, by Linas Baltas
Vōv, by Eduardo R. Miranda in collaboration with David Peterson and Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition
"Vōv is also the name of the language invented by celebrated conlanger David J. Peterson. Eduardo R. Miranda created a choir of human and virtual performers to sing a poem written in Vōv on the theme of the evolution of love." (Simon ible)

Sunday 26 February
11:00 - Jill Craigie Cinema, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University
FREE Event
Film: A Buddha of Superposition or “An Entangled Voice”
By Alexis Kirke
A story of religion and song is constructed live for the cinema audience, about an avowed Buddhist and professional soprano Laura. This short narrative film is an emotional Artificial Intelligence that re-cuts itself based on how it is “feeling”. It is partly driven by a quantum computer installed at the University of Southern California.
12:30 – Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University
FREE event
The Voice of the Sea
By Nuria Bonet in collaboration with the Marine Institute and the Plymouth Coastal Observatory
The Voice of the Sea uses information gathered by a marine buoy in real-time to determine compositional choices. Parameters such as wave height, period, direction, water temperature, and so on will directly influence musical parameters. Surrounded by speakers, the listeners will be immersed in an extended and real-time marine sonic world.
14:00 - Lecture Theatre 1, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University
FREE event
Voices Without Borders
By Pierre-Emmanuel Largeron
Voices Without Borders gives a voice to an audience in a live musical performance based on a mobile application created at ICCMR by Marcelo Gimenes. This cloud-based system answers a specific compositional need, where an improvisation is led by participants' choices, through preselected soundtracks. The audience activates soundtracks by voting on a mobile application that will in turn influence a live improvisation on stage.
15:30 – The House, Plymouth University
FREE event
Come Together: The Sonification of Lennon and McCartney
By Alexis Kirke
2017 is the 60th Anniversary of McCartney meeting Lennon. With the help of science, this performance provides a new insight into their relationship. Computer algorithms are used to analyse the emotions of all of their lyrics, and the results are turned into a classical duet. Each singer will express the emotion of one of the iconic songwriters.
16:30 – The House, Plymouth University
FREE event
Silicon Voices
By Marcelo Gimenes
Silicon Voices for contralto, bass voices and live electronics draws from the composer’s research into music and Artificial Intelligence. It showcases piece of software that simulates a group of agents communicating with each other by means of musical phrases. As these virtual musicians communicate with each other they progressively evolve a repertoire of generative musical rules collectively.

Box Office
Peninsula Arts
Roland Levinsky Building
Plymouth University
Drake Circus
Plymouth PL4 8AA

T: 01752 585050

Buy tickets online


PACMF2017 will take place in The House - Plymouth University's performing arts centre.

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Previous years: PACMF2016
Previous years: PACMF2015
Previous years: PACMF2014
Previous years: PACMF2013
Previous years: 2012 and earlier