The German Orchestra Foundation Names 2022 Innovation Prize
The Saarland State Orchestra received the award along with a €25,000 cash prize
The German Orchestra Foundation’s Innovation Prize recognizes new approaches to music-making and provides opportunities to share these through concerts, programs, or in addressing new audiences in the music education field or ensemble management.
Selected out of 25 applicants, the Saarland State Orchestra won with their project, “The Un(Answered) Question.” In collaboration with the Academy for Theater and Digitality and institutions of the Helmholtz Association, the orchestra presented their project through the lens of “Orchestras and Artificial Intelligence.”
Based on Charles Ives’ composition The Unanswered Question, a format was developed by the orchestra, where artificial intelligence (AI) processed biodata from the audience into video projections and also produced a live remix of the music with a new score for the musicians. The aim was to create opportunities for new hardware and software solutions, plus new artistic approaches that could appeal to a larger audience.
Chaired by Louwrens Langevoort, the award jury comprised Susanne Litzel, Christiane Tewinkel, Ute Welscher, Alexander Meraviglia-Crivelli, Stefan Rosu, and Jean-Marc Vogt.
“‘The Un(Answered) Question’ [project] of the Saarland State Orchestra has the willingness to use new technologies in the orchestra and to take experimental paths in their implementation [in convincing ways],” said Langevoort. “The orchestra's collaboration with renowned research institutions resulted in a format in which the audience was involved and a remix created with artificial intelligence was created and presented.
“It is currently not possible to foresee which findings from the experiment will be of long-term importance for the orchestra,” he continued. “Nevertheless, the jury considers this project, developed on the initiative of orchestra musicians from the Saarländisches Staatstheater, to be exemplary, as it once again shows the great innovative spirit and willingness of orchestras in Germany.”
Founded in 1912 the Saarland State Orchestra also performs in music theater and ballet productions of the Saarland State Theater. The ensemble has played with many high-profile artists and performed across the world including in Philharmonie Luxembourg, at the Mosel Music Festival, the French Arsenal de Metz, and Saint-Malo.