Pen Arts

Friday 2 - Sunday 4 March 2018
Celebrating 13 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 Director:

Eduardo Reck Miranda, Professor of Computer Music

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


Decoding Life is the theme of PACMF 2018, which celebrates the internationally renowned research combining music, engineering and the life sciences developed at Plymouth University’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR).
ICCMR’s mission is to gain a better understanding of human biology and cognition from a musical perspective, and use this understanding to improve people’s lives. We are developing neurotechnology to control musical systems using brain signals, harnessing living organisms to build novel bio-electronic devices, studying how genetic structures resonate to music, and building interactive intelligent systems for musical creativity.
Decoding Life proposes a weekend of musical allusions to human endeavours to understand, modify, simulate and even create life.
Friday 02 March
19:30 – 21:00 Jill Craigie Cinema, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University
FREE admission, booking required
The Art of Biology
By Dr Markus Schmidt

Dr Markus Schmidt is the director of Biofaction, a company based in Vienna, Austria, which conducts research and provides consultancy in the areas of emerging biotechnologies, art & science collaboration, and public communication of science.

Saturday 3 March
14:00 – 17:00 Jill Cragie Cinema, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University
FREE admission, booking required
Algoshorts 2018
The second edition of the world’s first public fest of short fiction films on the topic of algorithms presents a number of short films from around the world embracing PACMF’s theme Decoding Life. This includes a special screening of Zenman in Love, a romantic comedy that tries to “decode love” - directed by Klaas Diersmann, and with dialogue written by Alexis Kirke’s Zenman artificial intelligence.

Decoding Life with Ensemble Bash
20:00 - 22:00 The House, Plymouth University
£10/£7/Friends Free
Join the phenomenal percussion group Ensemble Bash for the premiere of extraordinary new music by ICCMR composers, Williams, Gimenes and Miranda, plus PACMF 2018’s guest composer and music technology pioneer, Archer Endrich.
Reptile Rhythms, by Duncan Williams in collaboration with Jessica Williams (IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group)
Life-force, by Archer Endrich
Babbling Baobab, by Marcelo Gimenes
Artibiotics, by Eduardo R. Miranda
Whereas Endrich drew inspiration from cosmic vibrations to compose Life-force, Gimenes’ Babbling Baobab invites the listeners to decipher the murmurs of an ancient story-telling baobab tree, Africa’s iconic “tree of life”. Williams’ ingenious Reptile Rhythms takes the audience on a journey to the river Chambal in India to encounter the music of the endangered gharial crododiles. And for Artibiotics, Miranda created musifications of DNA codes of synthetic proteins to portray experiments to defeat a mutating drug-resistant pathogen in a surreal biological world of musical molecules.

Sunday 4 March
Life Music
14:00 - 15:00 The House, Plymouth University
FREE admission, booking required
Colours of Life and Fiction (for marimba and viola), by Richard Abbott
Arecibo (for marimba), by Alexis Kirke
Queen Canute (clarinet and electronics), by Nuria Bonet
While Abbott explored the relationship between colours and sounds to write Colours of Life and Fiction inspired by the River Dart in Devon, Kirke composed Arecibo with DNA information sent from Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory to a distant star constellation in search for extraterrestrial life. Bonet’s Queen Canute explores the musical structures that can be found in animal behaviour in a duet for clarinet and seagulls.
Resounding Seizures
15:30 – LT1, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University
FREE admission, booking required
ICCMR post-graduate research student Alan D. Miles used electrical brain signals recorded during epileptic seizures to compose Resounding Seizures, a cinematic piece of electronic music, which attempts to capture and explore the experiences of epilepsy.

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

T: 01752 585050

Buy Tickets Online

From Peninsula Arts


PACMF2018 will take place in The House - Plymouth University's performing arts centre.

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Previous years: PACMF2017
Previous years: PACMF2016
Previous years: PACMF2015
Previous years: PACMF2014
Previous years: PACMF2013
Previous years: 2012 and earlier