PRiSM launches new Research England-funded Lab Space at RNCM

PRiSM, The RNCM Centre for Practice & Research in Science & Music, celebrated the launch of the new PRiSM Lab Space at RNCM.

26 February 2020

On 26 February 2020, PRiSM, The RNCM Centre for Practice & Research in Science & Music, celebrated the launch of the new PRiSM Lab Space at RNCM, developed with funding awarded by the Research England fund Expanding Excellence in England (E3).

Professor Linda Merrick, Principal, RNCM opened the evening, describing PRiSM as a physical realisation of the RNCM’s Strategic Plan and Research Strategy, that RNCM ‘will have creativity at its heart, and will be a laboratory for innovation in artistic practice’.

Composer Emily Howard, Director PRiSM, introduced new E3 PRiSM staff: composer Dr Sam Salem, PRiSM Lecturer in Composition, Dr Sam Duffy, PRiSM Centre Manager, and Dr Christopher Melen, PRiSM Research Software Engineer (the first ever at RNCM!).

We were delighted that David Sweeney, Executive Chair, Research England was able to join us. Over the coming weeks, we will feature news items about our many partnerships and collaborations, resident artists and scientists. Watch this space!

The PRiSM launch was an exhilarating and inspirational evening demonstrating the breadth of cross-disciplinary research and a boundless set of ideas from enthusiastic staff. This is a fantastic exemplar of bringing together research, education and practice. David Sweeney, Executive Chair, Research England

It’s a joy to be working as part of this multi-dimensional PRiSM team. Already, there is an incredible buzz in and around the PRiSM Lab, and I’m looking forward to all of the upcoming collaborations and conversations. We are immensely grateful to Research England for their trust and support. Composer Emily Howard, Director PRiSM

The evening commenced with a series of short presentations from PRiSM researchers, students and partners, summarised below.

  • Composer Emily Howard, Director PRiSM, announced that Future Music #2, the RNCM festival exploring current developments in new music and technology, will take place on 15 June 2020, featuring the UK premiere of the full version of ULTRACHUNK by Jennifer Walshe and Memo Akten, PRiSM Artist/Scientist in Residence 2020.
  • Mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, Co-Director PRiSM; Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, University of Oxford, introduced some of PRiSM’s mathematical designs and a new project for schools PRiSM music | play | maths.
  • Professor David De Roure, Technical Director PRiSM, demonstrated the science behind Chladni plates ahead of a new project PRiSM PLATES with PRiSM Artist in Residence Mathias Gemachl and Marcus du Sautoy.
  • PRiSM Doctoral Researcher Zakiya Leeming introduced PRiSM Connected Health Cities, a joint project devised by Leeming and Connected Health Cities that commissioned five composers to create works inspired by health data research projects across the North of England.
  • RNCM MMus Composition Student Shruthi Rajasekar introduced PRiSM 8 Cubed, a collaboration between 8 Composers, 8 Performers, and 8 Scientists from the RNCM and the University of Liverpool during which music and science entwine in the creation of new works. World Premiere 22 April 2020, RNCM.
  • PRiSM Artist in Residence Sarah Nicolls introduced PRiSM Changing Music in a Changing Climate, a collaboration with PRiSM Artist in Residence Laura Bowler, RNCM students and climate change science students, and RNCM Ensemble+. Dates to be announced.
  • Stephan Meier, Artistic Director, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, announced a new partnership between PRiSM and BCMG to explore music and mathematics through a series of events that will feature new commissions, PRiSM research, BCMG performers and the work of Iannis Xenakis.
  • PRiSM’s Dr Sam Salem and Dr Christopher Melen discussed the ongoing development of PRiSM AI Research methods and tools already in use in projects with PRiSM Associates Weston Olencki and Piatti String Quartet.
  • Simon Webb, Director, BBC Philharmonic, spoke about the importance of the ongoing partnership between PRiSM and BBC Philharmonic, highlighting our collaborative doctoral awards, and the advantages of being able to use the latest thinking in science to challenge the role of the orchestra.
  • Robert Laidlow, PRiSM Researcher in AI-Assisted Composition in Association with BBC Philharmonic and PRiSM Associate Jonathan Morris, a mechanical engineer with Cambridge Design Partnership, demonstrated The Lovelace Engine in its new home, the PRiSM Lab.
  • The Lovelace Engine was developed for Alter (2019), the first team commission for PRiSM led by Robert Laidlow, performed by Marta Fontanals-Simmons with Britten Sinfonia conducted by William Cole in an event Ada Lovelace: Imagining the Analytical Engine curated by Emily Howard, alongside new works by Howard, Patricia Alessandrini and Shiva Feshareki, part of Barbican’s Life Rewired.