An orchestra in western Switzerland is preparing to perform an unfinished piece of Beethoven generated by artificial intelligence, based on research by the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL).
The Nexus orchestra (formerly the Young Professionals Orchestra of French-speaking Switzerland) are to play next week an extract from the German composer’s 10th Symphony, although the great man never wrote it, he only sketched it out before he died.
The seven-minute piece will be created by a computer on the morning of the first concert, Nexus orchestra conductor Guillaume Berney told the Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA.
The piece will be performed at the Salle Métropole in Lausanne on the evening of Thursday September 2, and at the Victoria Hall in Geneva the next day.
Berney said he will print the score on Thursday morning with the computer programme designer, then meet his musicians to work on it before the evening performance.
He believes that it should “sound” like Beethoven, knowing that the machine has got to know the composer by “digesting” his 16 string quartets. Beethoven’s notes for the 10th symphony will be added to the computer, which, via algorithms, will produce a score.
“This type of composition is based on probability and knowing, according to the style of the composer, which note will come after which note,” explains Berney. He thinks that machines “still have a lot to learn”, but that it is interesting to showcase state of the art technology.
The two free concerts in Lausanne and Geneva are part of a programme to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Nexus orchestra. The musicians will also play Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto and Brahms’ 1st symphony. The Brahms, which took more than ten years to finish, will contrast with the Beethoven excerpt composed that morning by a computer, says Berney.
Source: Swiss Info