Music of choices

“Music of Choices” is considered as a combination between a musical happening and interactive games by its creator Alexandros Markeas, and was created on June 16, 2021 in the Grande Salle of the Centre Pompidou as part of the Festival Manifeste.

Fascinated by theater, improvisation, and technological universes, Alexandros Markeas appeals to decisions, to choices, and to the votes cast by the listeners-spectators of this show. Music of Choices suggests different types of representation; the concert, the improvised performance, the installation, centered on the keyboards played by the composer-performer.

Extract of the finale of “Music of Choices”, Alexandros Markeas

Under the guidance of the director Aliénor Dauchez, the questions addressed to the public will become clearer and/or wilder: “Do you prefer empty streets or forests? Ruins or cats? Would you like the musician to change his jacket? “If marketing has accustomed us to the absence of choice under the cover of offers, here autonomy and bifurcation are shifting notions. They circulate between the three entities that make up this “dialogue”: a pianist, the machine, and an audience.

The “machine” consists of a mechanical piano driven in real time by the DYCI2 software creating music on the fly according to a reactive listening of Alexandros Markeas’ improvisations on a grand piano. During the preparatory residencies, Alexandros Markeas’ work with Jérôme Nika and Manuel Poletti was to “meta-compose” the behaviours of several generative agents by defining their learning corpus, their listening mechanisms, the temporality of their reactions etc. Real-time music generation then comes from the activation of the learned models through the analysis of the pianist’s live audio.

The concert was live streamed so that the online audience could, like the audience in the hall, vote via smartphone to direct the conduct of the concert. This creation has given rise to numerous press articles, notably in the newspaper Le Monde, Le Figaro, Télérama, or a short documentary for “Cité des Sciences”.

Alexandros Markeas: conception, composition, interpretation
Manuel Poletti: IRCAM computer-music design
Jérôme Nika: IRCAM scientific collaboration
Benjamin Matuszewski: IRCAM scientific collaboration

Aliénor Dauchez: director, set design
Christoph Knoth: web development
Bastian Zimmermann: dramaturgy