What is the Symphonova?
The Symphonova is the world’s first digital orchestra that plays in response to the gestures of a human conductor.
The Symphonova project reinforces and supports the link between conductor, performer and audience, and in doing so supports live music.
To do this the project is involved in a number of research areas, including gestural control, musical expression in performance, loudspeaker technology, the development of the first functional terminology for conducting, and the psychological and sociological impact of music on human welfare and cohesion. These disparate areas come together to inform the Symphonova digital orchestra.
By supporting musicians, conductors and whole orchestras, in practice and performance, the Symphonova frees conductors, individual musicians and whole ensembles to perform more creatively, allowing them to explore their full musical imagination. And by allowing musicians and orchestras more creative freedom to experiment and innovate, the Symphonova helps orchestras to push the boundaries of what is considered possible in orchestral performance.
The Symphonova can be used as:
A training environment for conductors. As a virtual orchestra, the Symphonova is accurate, tireless and unfailingly responsive. It allows conductors to practice and develop their skills in a supportive non-judgmental environment.
The Symphonova can play works of any degree of complexity, to match a developing conductor’s levels of skill and confidence. Because the Symphonova will be both unfailingly accurate and totally responsive, it will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of a conductor’s technique, giving them an informed base on which to develop their skill.
A powerful teaching tool, giving students or professional musicians the opportunity to play and practice ensemble music with which they are unfamiliar, or new interpretations of scores they know well. The Symphonova’s virtual musicians can be tuned to support a single musician or an entire orchestra, filling in absent or weaker areas, and providing a musical framework, in which human musicians are freed to relax and experiment.
A demonstration instrument, which conductors can use to show orchestras how they would like a piece to be approached.
A tool for orchestras to extend their reach and presence into communities with music and performances that has never been possible before.
A tool for social cohesion and welfare bringing together individuals of all ages and from all parts of society to engage in a non-competitive, non-verbal and individually tailored activity.
The Symphonova Project is directed by Dr Shelley Katz.