Despite all ethical misgivings, stem cell research and cloning technologies are incessantly advancing. Sometimes this forward-march penetrates some unlikely enclaves that lie well beyond the laboratory. Guess what, looks like the realm of musical performance is next in line to wrestle with the moral dilemmas surrounding scientific advancement in overdrive. Sure, all areas of the music industry have grappled with the impact of recording technologies and file sharing, but the ramifications of “is it live, or is it Memorex?” are about to be stepped up big time.
On May 19th concertgoers in Raleigh, North Carolina will be treated to a recital by pianist Mei-Ting Sun featuring some special guests from beyond the grave: Glenn Gould and Alfred Cortot. Brought to you by the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild and the good folks at Zenph StudiosTM—the masterminds behind this first public demonstration—the concert unveils a new evolution in recording technology. Zenph StudiosTM bills itself as one of the world’s most advanced music research facilities, and according to their website they have solved the “holy grail problem in music research…using modern computer techniques, such as those applied to tournament-level chess-playing programs or used to decode the human genome.” Basically, the company’s Software for High-Definition MusicTM claims to decode sound recordings, capturing the original keystrokes and pedal movements—every gestural micropressure intact—down to the millisecond.
Actually, this performance-cloning device sounds really cool. If allowed to fall into the hands of certain creative artists, some beautiful monsters might be unleashed! By the way, it won’t be all tales from the crypt at the BTI Center for the Performing Arts on the 19th. There is some contemporary music on the program: a set of preludes by composer and Mannes College professor Robert Cuckson will also be performed. Wonder if they can get Horowitz to play ‘em?