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Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival

Four Colman Getty has had the privilege of working on a rather spectacular musical project in our work with the ever-unusual Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival, which sits at the meeting point between music, technology and scientific research and took place from 26 – 28 February in Plymouth.

Client Plymouth University had partnered with the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability to create the world’s first known musical performance by four individuals with severe motor-impairment using Brain Computer Music Interfacing Technology developed at the university. 

The patients, who include former professional violinist Rosemary Johnson, were paired up with members of a string quartet for whom they generated musical scores in real-time using just their eye movements. They each wore an EEG cap furnished with electrodes which can read electrical information from the brain. As they selected musical phrases from a screen with their eye movements, the corresponding electrical information from their brain was used to generate, in real-time, the parts for each member of the string quartet. 

A film of this ground-breaking performance by The Paramusical Ensemble was premiered at the festival on 27 February, and received much media interest, with a news story which began with an exclusive piece in The Sunday Telegraph ahead of a BBC Breakfast interview filmed in conversation with all four individuals. Further festival highlights included the installation Sonification of Dark Matter which used music to represent the energy of dark matter and a composition using music created by organic matter in a biocomputer. 

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