Future Music #3 (16-17 June 2021)

Welcome from Emily Howard, Director PRiSM

The first RNCM PRiSM Future Music festival ran in 2019, examining developments in new music and technology – Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Live Coding and more besides – asking what possibilities lay ahead for the music creators of the future. In Future Music #2, in 2020, we focussed in on Artificial Intelligence – examining how we might use technology to work creatively together in new ways.

This year, we celebrate our love of cross-disciplinary collaboration. We’re excited to link machine learning specialists with audiovisual artists, and to hear health data researchers perform music created from their own COVID-19 experiences. We’re thrilled to present The Awesome Machinery of Nature, a new work commissioned especially for Future Music #3 by our first PRiSM Scientist in Residence, Memo Akten.

All Future Music events will be livestreamed here or available through @rncmlive on Twitter.

WED 16 JUN 2021 // Livestream 5pm – 8pm


The Machine Learning for Music (ML4M) Working Group

“Unsupervised Learning is the “Dark Matter” of AI” Yann LeCun

computer generated abstract image

AURAMACHINE by Vicky Clarke

Unsupervised is a new concert series created by the Machine Learning for Music (ML4M) Working Group – a community of composers and audiovisual artists exploring the creative use of emerging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies led by PRiSM Lecturer in Composition, Dr. Sam Salem and Professor Ricardo Climent, Professor of Interactive Music Composition and Director of NOVARS Research Centre at University of Manchester. 

ML4M includes postgraduate students from both RNCM and University of Manchester, as well as guest artists, supported by Machine Learning experts at the Alliance Manchester Business School and PRiSM. 

Unsupervised will include new works by Anastasios Asonitis, Vicky Clarke, Hongshuo Fan, Robert Laidlow, Zakiya Leeming, Tywi Roberts, Chris Rhodes & Ellen Sargen. They will be joined by Dr Salem and Professor Climent for the Panel Q&A.

You will be able to submit questions to the Panel, in advance and during the event, through Twitter to @RNCMPRiSM using the hashtag #PRiSMFutureMusic or by e-mailing the PRiSM Centre Manager [email protected].


5:00pm Livestream performances (part 1)
6:00pm Panel Q&A led by Dr. Sam Salem (PRiSM) and Professor Ricardo Climent (NOVARS)
7:00pm Livestream performances (part 2)

For full details, including a downloadable programme with more information about each piece and artist, visit the Unsupervised programme page here.

Share your reactions to Unsupervised

If you viewed one or more of the pieces from Unsupervised and have a few minutes to spare, our PRiSM Writer in Residence Abi Bliss would love to hear what you thought. Can you help her by filling in an anonymous survey to share your impressions of the music? Survey here.

THU 17 JUN 2021 // Livestream 1pm – 2pm

Dawn, on the Morning After the Storm

Zakiya Leeming

Dawn, on the Morning After the Storm is a new work by composer and PRiSM Doctoral Researcher, Zakiya Leeming, who has been collaborating with health data researchers since 2018 to create music informed by their work (watch performances from Leeming’s previous work with Connected Health Cities here).

The piece is a result of discussions with members of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC4C) about their experience of working through the COVID-19 outbreak.

When Leeming asked ISARIC4C Chief Investigator, Professor Calum Semple OBE, what a piece about his experience should describe, Semple replied, ‘Like Dawn, on the morning after the storm’. For Semple, it was about coming together to play, in the same way the consortium came together to respond to the challenge of the virus.

The performance will be followed by a recorded discussion between the composer and ISARIC4C performers.

headshots of the ISARIC4C performers

Clockwise from top left: Professor Calum Semple (Dan Bentley Photography), Dr Olivia Swann, Murray Wham, Dr Shona Moore, Dr Louisa Pollock, Professor Paul Klenerman, Dr Riinu Pius, Professor Ewen Harrison

Performed by:

  • Bagpipes: Professor Calum Semple OBE, Chief Investigator ISARIC4C, Professor of Child Health and Outbreak Medicine & Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician, University of Liverpool & Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
  • Clarinet: Murray Wham, Database Manager ISARIC4C, Bioinformatician, Edinburgh University
  • Voice: Dr Olivia Swann, Paediatric Analysis Lead, ISARIC4C, Clinical Lecturer in Paediatric Infectious Diseases, University of Edinburgh
  • Piano: Professor Ewen Harrison, Informatics Lead ISARIC4C, Professor of Surgery and Data Science University of Edinburgh
  • Violin: Professor Paul Klenerman, Investigator Immunology ISARIC4C, Sidney Truelove Professor, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford
  • Violin: Dr Shona Moore, Immunology Researcher ISARIC4C, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Liverpool
  • Violin: Dr Riinu Pius, Data Scientist ISARIC4C, Senior Data Manager, The University of Edinburgh, Centre for Medical Informatics
  • Violin: Dr Louisa Pollock, Co-author Paediatric Analysis ISARIC4C, Consultant in General Paediatrics and Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow

ISARIC4C is a UK-wide consortium of doctors and scientists delivering a COVID-19 research programme to meet urgent public health needs. Co-led by investigators at the University of Edinburgh, University of Liverpool and Imperial College London, it is a collaboration of over 200 scientists from 11 institutions and NHS teams from 350 hospitals. Outputs from the project have informed the UK’s response to the current pandemic, based on data and biological samples from patients in hospitals across the UK, and it is one of the largest COVID-19 projects in the world.

Funded by the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) and Connected Health Cities (CHC) with support from PRiSM.

THU 17 JUN 2021 // Livestream 8pm – 9:30pm

The Awesome Machinery of Nature (World Première)

Memo Akten

The Michael Kennedy International Research Lecture + Live Q&A

A computer generated landscape with crystal animals and a sunset

The Awesome Machinery Of Nature by Memo Akten

“The Awesome Machinery Of Nature” is a video and sound installation, currently designed for the web, with plans for it to be later adapted to an immersive multi-screen, multi-speaker installation. The work is an evolution of my “Simple Harmonic Motion” series – a series of works that investigate the emergence of complex behaviour through the interaction of very simple rules. Building on these ideas, “The Awesome Machinery of Nature” goes further to examine the layers of abstraction that emerge as a result of the human mind observing, trying to make sense of, and re-simplifying the emergent complex behaviour. The work also draws inspiration from the many scales of complexity and layers of abstraction that we observe in the natural world and the webbed ecologies that sustain complex ecosystems heavily dependent on the balanced co-existence of many components. The work embraces and celebrates the interconnectedness of all human, non-human, living and non-living things across many scales of time and space.


8:00pm Lecture by Memo Akten (The Michael Kennedy International Research Lecture). Introduced by Professor Barbara Kelly, Director of Research, RNCM

8:50pm World Première of The Awesome Machinery of Nature

9:00pm LIVE Q&A with Memo Akten and Dr Sam Salem (PRiSM)

funding logoFuture Music #3 is supported by PRiSM, The RNCM Centre for Practice & Research in Science & Music, funded by the Research England fund Expanding Excellence in England (E3).