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10 years at the leading edge of science, technology and musical creativity

The end of the month saw the tenth annual Peninsula Arts Contemporary Festival at Plymouth University. Presented in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR), the festival showcases the ground-breaking scientific and musical research for which they are internationally recognised.

With the theme of ‘BioMusic’, this year’s festival once again caught the media’s imagination, thanks in part to the talents of an ancient single-celled organism commonly known as slime mould.  As he demonstrated on BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science last week, Head of the ICCMR, Professor Eduardo Miranda has been exploring the musical potential of intelligent bio-computers that make use of slime mould’s unique properties. Connected to his piano, via electromagnets, this paved the way for a call and response style piano duet with this strange, living substance.

BBC Focus magazine wrote, ‘the music provides an accessible and creative way in to the science, helping people to explore complex topics ranging from neuroscience and genetics to maths and ecology.’ The story was also covered by BBC News, The Guardian, The Independent, Metro, Vice media, Gramophone, SINFINI, C|NET news and the Smithsonian Magazine in the US.

Four Colman Getty has been steadily raising the profile of the festival since 2010, when a resident composer turned the university’s arts building into a musical instrument to be played by the sun, leading to a greatly increased audience for both music and research. As people world-wide have come to hear about the pioneering musical innovation taking place in Devon’s Ocean City, through the stories from the festival, the university has seen a corresponding increase in applications.


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