An electronic music gala comes to the city

An interactive musical installation exhibition began on Sunday, with five concerts being staged this week.
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Visitors play with the jars that make musical sounds while rolling on a table.

Installations producing music with computer devices are being exhibited at Xuhui Art Museum. The exhibition, which opened on Sunday, has attracted many participating visitors .

The installations include four small jars with microprocessor modules that can reproduce the sounds of wind, wood, metal and water while rolling on a table.

The exhibition also marked the beginning of the 2017 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) and the International Electronic Music Week of Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

It is the first time for ICMC to be held in Shanghai since the body was founded in 1974. It combines science and technology with music — attracting music composers and software and hardware developers who are interesting in blending music with technology.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A visitor sits on a chair to produce musical sounds in an interactive installation.

Besides the installation exhibition, the weeklong conference will also stage five performances of the latest computer music works and 25 seminars to present top-level papers of latest researches around the globe.

The first concert held on Monday night will include a concerto performed with radio waves, while the audience can also participate in the performance by using their phones to visit a special website of the concert to choose different voice parts.

John Chowning, a professor at Stanford University who discovered the frequency modulation synthesis (FM) algorithm that led to the most successful synthesis engines in the history of electronic instruments, will also deliver a keynote speech before the performance.

The conference has also received 139 papers from about 50 countries and regions, while new interfaces for music expression and interactive design are the top two most popular topics.

Professor Chen Qiangbin, chairman of the conference and director of the Music Engineering Department of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, said computers had brought ordinary people closer to music arts.

“Computer science has improved communication technologies and make it easier for audiences to enjoy music via new platforms like the Internet,” he said. “Meanwhile, the computer software and hardware have also make it possible for ordinary people to participate in music creation, just like what they can do here in the exhibition with the installations.”

He also pointed out that in the vast domain of contemporary music, computer music, new media art and sound art, China is a latecomer. But in an increasingly technological and digitized world, Chinese artists, engineers and researchers are now stepping up their game — one reason for the ICMC to come to Shanghai.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

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