PRiSM welcomes first doctoral student

We are delighted that composer Robert Laidlow will be joining the PRiSM team at the RNCM in September as our first doctoral student in association with the BBC Philharmonic.

Funded by the National Productivity Investment Fund as part of the AHRC North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership, Robert’s research will focus on AI-assisted composition.

Robert said: ‘I am thrilled to begin working with the PRiSM team and the BBC Philharmonic on this PhD. AI is an extremely important area of innovation in every area of modern life and I am looking forward to exploring its musical possibilities. The research will create new, highly intuitive, tools to assist myself (and other interested musicians) at different points during the compositional process. An AI might, for example, learn from a selection of my own music and produce its own original material in that style – allowing a composer to effectively collaborate with themselves during the resulting composition. Improvisation often features in my music, due to my background as a jazz performer, which will provide an engaging counterpart to AI processes: both result in music that is not fully created by the composer alone. Breaking this kind of ground with support from the PRiSM research staff is extremely exciting, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of musicians with whom to develop the resultant pieces than the BBC Phil.

Robert Laidlow’s music is rhythmic and lively, incorporating his background as a jazz saxophonist, and is often inspired by scientific phenomena. His work has been performed in concert and workshop by groups including Ensemble Modern, Milwaukee Symphony and Ballet, the Britten Sinfonia, Psappha, the Berkeley Ensemble, and the Hermes Experiment. Recent commissions include a piano quintet for the Campos do Jordao International Festival, a duet for the Doors Open Festival, Milwaukee, and a work for solo singing violist Katherine Clarke. He studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and at the Royal Academy of Music with David Sawer.

Robert’s doctoral research will be supervised by Professor Emily Howard (RNCM), Professor Marcus du Sautoy (University of Oxford), Professor David De Roure (Oxford e-Research Centre) and Simon Webb (BBC Philharmonic).

PRiSM is the RNCM’s Centre for Practice & Research in Science & Music. More information can be found here.

6 August 2018