Ex Machina

American saxophonist Steve Lehman and Frédéric Maurin, artistic director of the Orchestre National de Jazz, present “Ex Machina”, that will be premiered on Friday, February 11, 2022, at Studio 104 of the Maison de la Radio et de la Musique in Paris, as part of the Présences festival dedicated to the composer Tristan Murail.

The two composers share a taste for exploring new musical territories and have been working for several years to integrate into their writing and improvisation elements influenced, among others, by the works of Tristan Murail and Gérard Grisey, each in their respective ensembles.

By collaborating with Jérôme Nika to integrate devices created using the DYCI2 environment in the composition process and in the soloists’ improvisations in real-time, the computer becomes, in turn, a generator of electronic orchestrations for the composers and an improvisation partner for the musicians.

During a cumulative time of four weeks of residencies, Steve Lehman and Frederic Maurin worked with Jérôme Nika and Dionysios Papanicolaou to ”meta-compose” the behaviours of several generative agents by defining their learning corpus, their listening mechanisms, the temporality of their reactions etc. This first part of the work aims at preparing about ten improvised interludes during which the machine will improvise in duo with a soloist each time.

The second part of the work consists in defining databases of textures on which temporal models have been learned, then used with the OM-DYCI2 environment for the electronic orchestration of portions of scores composed by Steve Lehman and Frédéric Maurin. The audio material resulting from these generations will then be triggered during the concert to augment the orchestra’s playing.

Steve Lehman, Frédéric Maurin – composition
Frédéric Maurin – artistic direction
Jérôme Nika – generative electronics creation and artistic collaboration
Dionysios Papanicolaou – IRCAM computer music design
Axel Roebel – IRCAM Scientific Advisor, Sound Analysis-Synthesis Team
Executive producer – Orchestre national de jazz.

An Ircam-Centre Pompidou, Radio France coproduction. With the support of the ERC Advanced Grant REACH project led by Gérard Assayag and supported by the European Research Council under the Horizon 2020 program, the Sacem, and the Centre National de la Musique.