On October 6, 100 musicians from across the globe will wait with bated breath to perform at the opening ceremony of the 23rd World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) at Republic Square in Yerevan, Armenia. What is unique about this performance is that at 8 pm Armenia time (9 30 pm Indian Standard Time), these musicians of WCIT World Orchestra will perform a musical piece created by artificial intelligence and composed in real time, reading the score on their iPads. The theme for this year’s WCIT conference to be held from October 6 to 9 is ‘The Power of Decentralisation.’ Last year India had hosted WCIT.
During a India National Youth Orchestra rehearsal
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“It is unbelievably exciting and something we have never done before. We will also be playing other music but this segment will be one-of-its-kind,” exclaims Ritu Gopal from Hyderabad on AI stepping into the live music scene.
She is among the Indians who are part of this music delegation. She will play with Diya Kapur of Delhi, both of India National Youth Orchestra (INYO) and Anna Amy Philips, Carol George and Joby Jose from Mumbai. The concert also features DJ Armin van Buuren.
Performing with a professional orchestra
Ritu was seven when she was initiated into Western classical violin. With an interest in merging social work with music, she teaches music and is a freelance writer on music application and autism. She was pursuing her graduation when she auditioned for INYO. Founded by Vijay Upadhyaya and Sonia Khan, INYO is a key initiative of music education and organises orchestra workshops and concerts. “Conductor Vijay hails from Lucknow but lives in Vienna; he brings his musicians from there. There has always been this cultural exchange happening. INYO auditions are conducted every few years and we have workshops followed by an annual or biannual concert,” she informs. The concerts are held in Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow.
This orchestra performer considers the WCIT World Orchestra concert an important cultural exchange. “The greatest take away from any orchestra experience is the opportunity to interact with musicians, not just in terms of conversation but how musical abilities are put together on stage. Eventually, we are all coordinating our efforts and understanding music together,” she shares.
Ritu affirms the WCIT orchestra reflects diversity and hits the right note. “A lot of musicians, including me, like to to be soloists but an orchestra shapes you in a different way; musicians contribute to create one sound. The underlying message of the AI component in WCIT is that without the meeting of people and culture, technology can really make no sense. It connects the human spirit.”
She is looking forward to see how maestro Sergey conducts this concert. “Every conductor has a way of interpreting and conducting a musical piece. It will be nice to know how Sergey conducts his rehearsals from his expertise. He is a violinist and I hope to to have a conversation with him and meet the orchestra that he mentors there.”
Ritu has her fingers crossed as she gets ready to leave for Armenia. “There is more curiosity about how the concert will shape up and how people will respond to it.”
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