The Eternal Golden Braid: Gödel Escher Bach

Marcus du Sautoy in front of a blackboard

Could an algorithm ever write music to rival Bach? The audience decides in this performance lecture with Marcus du Sautoy, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and composer Robert Thomas.

In a pre-recorded interview with Douglas Hofstadter, whose book Gödel, Escher, Bach inspired this event, Du Sautoy posits Bach as a musical coder, applying rules to musical material to grow something complex and beautiful. His works are then fed through a machine learning process created by computational artist Parag K Mital, which uses the data in Bach’s writing to ‘compose’ a piece of its own. Here’s where you, the audience come in. Arranged next to real Bach pieces and new pieces by composers Robert Thomas and Robert Laidlow will you be able to tell the difference?

Alongside Esfahani’s performance, a small ensemble of musicians from the London Contemporary Orchestra perform a piece which you help compose on the spot as the music, formed from composition both by AI and Thomas, will react to audience feedback in the moment.

 

This performance will begin promptly at the advertised start time and running time will be confirmed closer to the event.

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Supported by

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Supported by The Simonyi Fund

Barbican Hall