International Computer Music Conference

The future of music unveiled at Queen's University, Belfast

Artists, researchers and engineers involved in designing the mp3 players of the future, new musical instruments and the most sophisticated surround sound systems will meet and discuss their work at Queen’s University International Computer Music Conference, beginning August 24. 

The theme of the conference is 'Roots/Routes', exploring where the roots of new music lie and what new routes musicians and creative artists can explore using new technology.

More than 350 of the world’s leading music technology figures will attend the university for the six-day International Computer Music Conference, seen by some as the industry’s most important gathering. The conference features more than 260 works.

During one of the public events, musicians in Belfast will use the internet to link up with their counterparts on the east and west coasts of America to play a live show.

The Roots Ensemble, who will play at the Whitla Hall, feature in a three way network performance with Tintinabulate in New York and SoundWire in California on Thursday, August 28 at 7pm.

The Roots Ensemble has been formed especially for the event, comprising world-class new music specialists and Irish traditional musicians led by saxophonist Franziska Schroeder. 

It is the first time the ICMC's 32-year history that the event has been held in Ireland. It is hosted by the Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music and the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University.

Conference chair, Professor Michael Alcorn, Head of the School of Music and Sonic Arts, said: 

'Each year the International Computer Music Conference brings together many of the world's leading figures in the music technology field to share research ideas and new ways of making music.

'We are delighted to host this event at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen's University, which is now recognised as one of the leading centres in the world for such work.

'Although SARC's initial research work has been focused on audio technologies, we are now looking at new areas such as emotion and the sensation of touch, and how they relate to music. We also look at how emotion and touch can feed into research into new devices for gaming and multimedia. 

'This conference provides us with an ideal opportunity to showcase our own work and the attractiveness of Belfast as a destination for students from overseas.'

The conference is one of the events being held to mark the Queen’s Centenary year and has attracted delegates from as far afield as Australia, Japan, Korea, North and South America as well as all over Europe.

Tickets are also available for an event in the Mandela Hall in Queen’s Students’ Union on Wednesday, August 27, featuring master Persian percussionist Mahammed Ghavi Helm on the traditional zarb drum, which is carved from a walnut log, with live electronics. 

Swarmius from California, who describe their music as ‘sonic fusion of hip-hop, house-lounge techno meets modern-classical’ will also feature. The event is at 10.30pm. 

Queen’s University International Computer Music Conference takes place August 24-29. Click here for more information.