RNCM PRiSM | Summer News 2023

07 July 2023

Recent Publications | Press Coverage

The New York Times: What Happens When A.I. Enters the Concert Hall?

What Happens When A.I. Enters the Concert Hall is an article written by composer & music scholar Garrett Schumann, published in The New York Times on 10 June 2023. The article discusses how the boom of new AI technologies impacts on music composed for the concert hall, with two new software tools developed by PRiSM featured alongside the R.A.V.E. model developed by IRCAM:

  1. Dr Robert Laidlow’s large-scale orchestral work ‘Silicon’, written for BBC Philharmonic and Vimbayi Kaziboni, is the major output of his Doctoral Research with PRiSM (2018-2022). In the third of Silicon’s three movements: ‘Soul’, the live orchestra is accompanied by sounds generated by PRiSM’s flagship neural synthesis software PRiSM SampleRNN, which was trained on over 2500 hours of archive recordings of BBC Philharmonic’s radio broadcasts.
  2. Professor George Lewis’ Forager arose out of his year-long artistic residency at RNCM PRiSM. Focusing on an expansion of the listening capabilities of the ‘machine’, the project resulted in the creation of a new PRiSM Music Gesture Recognition software tool that facilitates real-time dialogues between technology and human performers.

Read about Professor George Lewis’s PRiSM Residency in the following PRiSM Blog:
George Lewis: Voyaging Towards Forager

Image source: the New York Times ©Derek Abella

TORUS | London Mathematical Society, BBC Radio 4 Start the Week, NMC Recordings

Professor Emily Howard’s new album TORUS (NMC Recordings, April 2023) was a focus in the recent episode of BBC Radio 4 ‘Start the Week’ titled Sums, stories and musical scores. Listen again to Kirsty Wark in conversation with mathematicians Eugenia Cheng, Sarah Hart and PRiSM Director Emily Howard about the joy of maths in literature and music.

Emily Howard’s music is frequently informed by mathematical concepts and constructs. In this feature article ‘Torus – sphere – Antisphere’ written for the London Mathematical Society Newsletter (published 3 July 2023 Edition, p.23-27), she presents some of her thinking behind the development of a series of geometry-inspired musical compositions that includes the British Composer Award-winning large-scale orchestral work Torus, a 2016 BBC Proms Commission.

On 7 July 2023, Dr Robert Laidlow will present his paper “Music that contains itself: proportionality as musical material in Antisphere by Emily Howard” as part of the Society for Music Analysis Annual Conference.

THIS IS FINE: Spectres, Spectralism and Somnambulance

A new PRiSM Blog series from Dr Sam Salem (RNCM PRiSM Senior Lecturer in Composition), in which the composer discusses his recent works for performers, electronics and fixed audio visual media:THIS IS FINE (2021), Shadows pass the morning ‘gins to break (2022), Bury Me Deep (2022)and The Way Up & The Way Down (2023).

THIS IS FINE: Spectres, Spectralism and Somnambulance is the first instalment of this blog series. Published on 5 July 2023, the article traces along Salem’s long-time interest in Neural Synthesis and reflects on his first work using PRiSM SampleRNNTHIS IS FINE (2021). Through the lens of collaborative dialogues with cellist/vocalist Alice Purton, Salem delineates what’s behind his ‘unusual choice of source material’, challenges around remote working, as well as finding ways out of restrictions and interference.

Upcoming Events

Norrisette | Manchester International Festival | 8 July 2023

Norrisette (aka current RNCM PRiSM Doctoral Researcher Anna Appleby) has been invited to perform in a specially-selected set featuring some of the RNCM’s emerging classical/pop crossover artists, as part of the College’s Manchester International Festival event with Anna Meredith.

FIBS with the RNCM Festival Orchestra | 8 July 2023 | Depot Mayfield, Manchester

The Manchester-based singer-songwriter & electronic pop musician Norrisette launched her concept EP Human on 24 February 2022. The EP features a collaboration with PRiSM SampleRNN, PRiSM’s flagship Artificial Intelligence software tool.

Read more at: Screaming Computer: A Duet with My AI Twin

ML4M UNSUPERVISED #3 | Martin Harris Centre | 11 July 2023

UnSupervised #3 Showcase | Talks & Performances

Join the ML4M Working Group at the University of Manchester’s Martin Harris Centre on Tuesday 11 July 2023, for the third edition of UnSupervised – a day of presentations, performances, and open-discussion exploring AI, Machine Learning, and all things in-between.

Session One | 10:30 – 11:45

Josh Gardner The use and abuse of RAVE

Tom Baker PolyDDSP: An Introductory Approach to a Lightweight and Polyphonic Differentiable Digital Signal Processing Library

Mark Pilkington

Session Two | 12:00 – 13:15

Megan Steinberg Ableism in Artificial Intelligence: By Human Design

Nico Garcia-Peguinho GURU – The development of an AI guitar tutor / practice companion

Rosalla Soria Plastik – for fixed audiovisual media

Session Three | 15:00 – 16:30

Tasos Asonitis Cartographic – for fixed audiovisual media

Alistair Zaldua ochre, red – for e-violin and live electronics

Nina Whiteman The role of AI and machine learning in the development of ‘Moss’ for voice and multimedia – a performance talk

UnSupervised Future Discussion | 16:30 – 17:00

The Riot Ensemble | Kings Place | 19 July 2023

Composer Benjamin Oliver and Riot Ensemble present contemporary works that explore creative applications of artificial intelligence (AI).

AI music and text generation, as well as sound processing, feature in five distinctive works by leading young composers, including four PRiSM associates: Anna Appleby, Robert Laidlow, Zakiya Leeming and Megan Steinberg.

Benjamin Oliver


Anna Appleby

Reservoir (2022, rev. 2023)

Robert Laidlow

Post-Singularity Songs (2023)

Zakiya Leeming

Meanwhile, in other dreams (2023)

Oliver Sellwood

Charlene from Big Data (2021, rev. 2023)

Megan Steinberg

New Inventions (2023)