Digital creativity: can we all be composers now?

Sunday 20 October, 10.30am until 12.00pm, Garden Room Artistic Battles

While the LSO’s performance of work composed by computer programme has tended to provoke curiosity rather than critical acclaim, there seems little escaping the impact of digital technology on contemporary music. 2013 saw legendary electronica group Kraftwerk hold a week long residency at the Tate Modern whilst Daft Punk dominated the pop landscape; software tools such as Sibelius and Logic, meanwhile, have transformed composition and production. Yet a recurrent complaint about modern music is that it lacks genuine originality in an age of the sample, mash-up and drum machine whilst devaluing the traditional skills of composition. Has the digital age provoked an artistic or technical revolution? How has the role of the composer or songwriter fundamentally changed as technology has evolved? Can we all be composers now, or is there now a greater demand than ever for the skills of the classically trained?

Marcus O'Dair
lecturer in popular music, Middlesex University

Piers Hellawell
composer; professor of composition, Queen's University Belfast

Barb Jungr
singer, writer and performer; CDs include, The Man in the Long Black Coat and From Stockport to Memphis

Chris Sharp
contemporary music programmer, Barbican Centre; formerly, managing director, independent label 4AD

Simon Wallace
musician, composer and music producer

Niall Crowley
freelance designer and writer

Produced by
Niall Crowley freelance designer and writer
Barb Jungr singer, writer and performer; CDs include, The Man in the Long Black Coat and From Stockport to Memphis
Recommended readings
Picking up better vibrations? Beach Boys succumb to Auto-Tune for new album

Fans say the results are 'embarrassing' and make the singers - famous for four-part harmonies - sound more like robots

Adam Sherwin, Independent, 15 July 2013

Art as science? Computer technology and classical music

Ivan Hewett considers the merits of using technology in classical music and explains why two

Ivan Hewett, Telegraph, 5 July 2013

The future of music: technology is amazing, but 'music's a human thing'

Cellist and Twitter composer Peter Gregson on the meeting ground between music and technology

Tom Lamont, Guardian, 16 June 2013

Lang Lang calls for closer link between technology and music

Speaking at the MIDEM conference in Cannes, pianist Lang Lang has emphasised the need for technology and science to work more closely with musicians to create new software and apps.

Classic FM, 30 January 2013

Iamus, classical music's computer composer, live from Malaga

The first music composed by computer considered good enough for top-class musicians to play is to be performed to mark the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth

Philip Ball, Guardian, 1 July 2012

Experiencing musical composition in the DAW: the software interface as mediator of the musical idea

This paper offers observations on the effect that the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is having upon musical creativity in the context of the Higher Education environment.

Mark Marrington, Journal on the Art of Record Production, July 2011

Session partners