HKBU Holds First Man-Machine Collaborative Concert

An innovative man-machine collaborative concert, billed as the world’s first, will be performed by the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) Symphony Orchestra next week at Hong Kong City Hall.

The annual gala concert dubbed “A Lovers’ Reunion” will offer audiences a whole new symphonic experience through the integration of cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies developed by researchers at HKBU’s Augmented Creativity Lab.

The HKBU Symphony Orchestra will share the stage with an AI virtual choir to perform a new choral-orchestral version of the song Pearl of the Orient. It will be the first IA choir in the world to perform a choral piece with Chinese lyrics.

“The world’s first such human-computer collaborative performance presented by HKBU at the gala concert is an important outcome of the research project “Building Platform Technologies for Symbiotic Creativity in Hong Kong”. It is also a milestone in AI research revealing the limitless potential of human-machine symbiotic creativity,” said Professor Guo Yike, Vice President of Research and Development at HKBU Augmented Creativity Lab.

Professor Guo is the project leader of a research project titled “Building Platform Technologies for Symbiotic Creativity in Hong Kong” – a research fund of HK$52.8 million awarded by the Thematic Research Program (11th cycle) under the Research Grants Council (RGC) for a period of five years.

He added, “HKBU is dedicated to building a world-class AI art and technology platform that will lead to a new revolution that will transform the creative and cultural industries. This will enable Hong Kong to assume a leading position in art-tech on the world stage.

For the gala concert, Professor Guo’s team also trained an AI artist to create a cross-media visual narrative based on lyrics and music to accompany the choral piece. The public is invited to share the AI ​​imagination of Hong Kong as the Pearl of the Orient.

Another concert highlight was a ballet performance featuring virtual AI dancers in Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, accompanied live by the HKBU Symphony Orchestra. The ideas for the choreography come from the natural world, which provides dance moves inspired by a species of box jellyfish recently discovered in Hong Kong. In collaboration with professional dancers from the Hong Kong Dance Company, the AI-generated dancers were trained to perform the ballet with movement data collected by HKBU scientists.

The concert will also highlight the artistic prowess of our award-winning student musicians in interpretations of the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor, Op. 28; the Brilliant Fantasy on ‘Carmen’ by Borne; and Rasa by Lauryn Kurniawan for string quartet and gamelan.

Professor Johnny Poon, who is also Music Director and Conductor of the HKBU Symphony Orchestra and Collegium Musicum Hong Kong, said: “As well as celebrating HKBU’s young musicians, the innovative concert shows how the University uses technology to push the boundaries of human imagination in arts and culture.

“By leveraging our established strengths in the arts and sciences, HKBU takes a cross-disciplinary approach that will advance the development of arts, culture and creative media in Hong Kong. Our art-tech research also empowers musicians and artists to go beyond traditional forms and interact with the public in new ways.”

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