Nokia Bell Labs Experiments In Art And Technology Program Names International Contemporary Ensemble First Ever Ensemble-in-Residence

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) today announces its selection as the first ever ensemble-in-residence by the Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) program. As a continuation of the ICE's previous partnership with Nokia Bell Labs, the residency will further the Ensemble's commitment to the exploration and redefinition of how music is made and experienced. The Ensemble's inaugural performance as ensemble-in-residence happens on Sunday, May 19 at 4pm in New York City's Times Square, part of NYCxDESIGN 2019. The free program will feature award-winning Icelandic composer and frequent Ensemble collaborator Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Fields.

In 2018, the International Contemporary Ensemble and Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T. established a collaborative relationship to explore how music enables shared emotions, expressions, and empathic communication. As centuries of musical modes of expression deepen technological thought, new technology inspires parallel innovation in music, and Nokia Bell Labs and the International Contemporary Ensemble form a symbiotic relationship dedicated to exploring the visceral and emotional language of music. Over the course of a year, the Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T. program has explored which aspects of music offer special modes of communicative expression, and how those modes might be integrated in technological user interfaces.

As Ensemble in Residence, the Ensemble will serve as a cultural resource and ambassador to the mission and history of E.A.T. In the next year, the Ensemble will bring the emerging technologies of Nokia Bell Labs into their own events in pursuit of three goals: to celebrate recent and historical artistic relationships with Nokia Bell Labs, to foster new artistic collaborations dedicated to understanding the unique capacity of music as a language, and enhance the audience experience by way of immersive, interactive modes of listening.

In addition to public events, performances, and new commissions, the International Contemporary Ensemble will also work with Nokia Bell Labs engineers and E.A.T. staff to explore new hardware and software interfaces that enhance listening experiences. The culmination of this research will advance interactive binaural (headphone) listening via the "Digital Illuminated Manuscripts" project.

A "Digital Illuminated Manuscript" (DIM) is an interactive media portal which allows a listener to explore a work more deeply, creating a connection with the composer, the musicians, and the unique sound world of a piece of music. Through DIMs, listeners are given up-close-and-personal access to numerous building blocks of the language of music. Listeners can take a virtual seat next to the cellist, or the pianist (for example), to gain a unique awareness of the communication between instrumentalists and the interplay of the composer's orchestrational designs.

The International Contemporary Ensemble and Nokia Bell Labs will work together to allow ground-breaking classical music to drive a new mode of listening and discovery. While typical listening conventions such as the compact disc, streaming audio, stereo loudspeakers, and headphones reinforce a passive listening experience, the Digital Illuminated Manuscripts will allow the real-time curiosity of the listener to be met with rich tools of exploration.



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