Future Sounds: Classical Instruments Meet Digital Tech

A black triangular musical instrument with strings and keys, on a wooden surface

Event schedule details

Saturday 15 June


Event location details

G16 Lecture Theatre

Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Imperial College London

Experience a unique performance by Royal College of Music students using newly invented and augmented instruments developed by Imperial College London.

Music has long been a motivator for technological development, and every technology leaves its mark on music. Musicians' appetite for new sounds, combined with a rapidly changing tech landscape, is leading to a new generation of 'hybrid' instruments, containing elements both ancient and modern. Andrew McPherson is Professor in Design Engineering and Music at Imperial College London whose lab’s research involves designing new digital instruments. Projects have included the development of the magnetic resonator piano (a grand piano whose strings are played with electromagnets), TouchKeys (a keyboard that measures finger position on the keys), a hybrid acoustic-electronic violin and more.

For the Great Exhibition Road Festival, Andrew has teamed up with the Royal College of Music’s Gerardo Gozzi and students on his Improvisation class to demonstrate the ‘new sounds’ made possible by augmented instrumentation. Gerardo’s student will perform a combination of improvised and composed pieces using some of these futuristic instruments. If you would like to hear more from the Royal College of Music Improvisation students, further performances using Professor McPherson’s instruments will take place from 17.30-17.55 in the same lecture theatre.

Visitor information

Talks and discussions are intended for an adult audience and are most suitable for ages 14+.

This event is part of the Art of Science talk series, shown at location number 22 on the Festival Map.

The talk has some advance tickets released to visitors but there will also be drop-in spaces on the day.

If you have an advance ticket, please arrive at the venue 10 minutes before the start time. Your ticket gives you priority access, however, as this is a free event we overbook to help ensure a full event and your space may be reallocated. Early arrival reduces this risk.

This event has step-free access.

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Event categories

  • Adults
  • Performance
  • Talks and tours
A black triangular musical instrument with strings and keys, on a wooden surface