In honour of what would have been revolutionary computer scientist Alan Turing’s 100th birthday, the University of Malaga has created a piece of music completely generated by computer to be performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. This is the first time a piece which was not composed by a human has been deemed good enough to be played by the LSO.
The composition, entitled "Transits – Into an Abyss" was created by a cluster of computers at the University of Malaga named Iamus – after the son of the Greek god Apollo who could understand the language of birds. Until the composition was handed over to the London Symphony Orchestra, no human had intervened in preparing the music.
"I felt it was like a wall of sound," Lennox Mackenzie, the chairman of the LSO initially thought, "If you put a colour to it, this music was grey. It went nowhere. It was too dense and massive, no instrument stuck out at any point. But at the end of it, I thought it was quite epic."
Iamus composes by mutating simple starting material in a manner similar to human evolution, and there is no end to the pieces it can create. Some of these compositions were streamed live from Malaga on the 2nd of July, and others, performed by various artists including the LSO, will be featured on a CD to be released in September this year.