RNCM PRiSM and Nonclassical co-commission: Chihiro Ono

Chihiro Ono co-commissioned by RNCM PRiSM and Nonclassical to create a new piece exploring Artificial Intelligence and Dynamical Systems

29 April 2022

Chihiro Ono with the Lovelace Engine at the PRiSM Lab in RNCM, 28 April 2022

Following our recent open call in partnership with Nonclassical, we are delighted to welcome sound artist and violinist Chihiro Ono to work with the PRiSM Team and PRiSM Doctoral Researcher Simon Knighton.

Chihiro will work closely with Dr Christopher Melen (RNCM PRiSM Research Software Engineer) to explore how AI can relate to dynamical systems, particularly chaos and randomness.

This will involve them working with PRiSM SampleRNN – PRiSM’s flagship AI software tool, using a dataset of Japanese folk melodies, field recordings of nature, villages and cities, and various violin techniques.

This co-commission is part of Simon Knighton’s ongoing project as one of the Nonclassical Associate Composers 2021 / 22, culminating in a special event curated by Simon to be taking place in London on 22 September 2022.

The project is jointly supported by RNCM PRiSM and Nonclassical.

Simon and Chihiro tell us:

The project is about making and discovering music which relates to dynamical systems (and associated concepts like chaos theory, periodicity/non-linearity, determinism, emergent behaviour etc) in interesting ways. Some pieces may be poetically inspired by these concepts, or they may have certain musical features which may be directly analogous – or indeed in some cases they may be actual physical dynamical systems in and of themselves.

We want to see how AI effectively looks for patterns in music to replicate, yet how it may not ‘latch on’ to the same patterns that humans do. ‘Noise in the system’ can become the focal point, very much like the chaotic behaviour of indeterministic dynamical systems, so this will be an interesting thing to think about as the project unfolds.

Chihiro’s piece will also look at how dynamical systems appear in the physical world around us in a balancing act of stability and chaos.

We have thought extensively about the concert programme as a whole. And pieces by Kaija Saariaho, Rolf Wallin, Scott McLaughlin, Emily Howard and Simon Knighton (amongst others) are likely to feature on the programme. We look forward to seeing how Chihiro’s unique approach to field recordings and violin music compliments this.

We will begin running the training sessions on PRiSM SampleRNN in mid-May, with helps from Dr Christopher Melen. We hope to finish the piece by the beginning of September, ready for rehearsals leading up to the concert on 22 September.

We can’t wait to see how these thoughts could be musically explored and to see what comes out of them!

Chihiro Ono Biography

Photograph by Dimitri Djuric

Born in Chiba, Japan, Chihiro Ono is a London-based Japanese violinist (also plays viola and baroque violin) and sound artist specialising in baroque/classical/contemporary/new music, experimental music and sound art.

She has been performing as either a solo or chamber musician at major festivals and venues across the world, and working with esteemed experimental and classical ensembles including Ensemble Modern, Apartment House, CHROMA, London Mozart Players and more.

Alongside performing in arts on stage, since 2018 Chihiro’s work as a sound artist has led to her producing works for radio, theatre and film productions in the UK, and collaborating with artists. Her creative work draws on influences from a rich variety of repertoire, encompassing folklore, field recording, improvisation, Western and Eastern musical/theatrical methods, elements, techniques and philosophies with the extremely strong visions on sounds.