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Photograph by Tom Haniff

Robert Laidlow is a composer and researcher based in the UK. His “gigantically imaginative” (BBC Radio 3) music is concerned with developing new forms of creative expression through the relationship between music, advanced technology, and scientific research.

Robert’s music investigating the intersection of classical music, artificial intelligence, and creativity includes a number of orchestral, chamber, and solo works. ‘Silicon’ (2022), a symphonic-length work for the BBC Philharmonic and artificial intelligence, explores human music-making in the age of AI and has been featured in the New York Times, the New Scientist, Sky News, Bachtrack, BBC Radio, BBC Music Magazine, and international television. ‘Post-Singularity Songs’ (2023) for soprano Stephanie Lamprea, uses AI to invent creation myths and love songs, situating this technology as oracle and worldbuilder. ‘Tui’ (2024), for International Contemporary Ensemble, examines AI in relation to other non-human intelligence.

Robert’s creative process also frequently involves collaborations with scientists. He is midway through a long-term project translating each of the four fundamental forces into music, having composed ‘Gravity’ (2020) for the Echea Quartet and ‘Chromodynamics’ (2021) for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. His 2021 piano concerto 'Warp', for Joseph Havlat and the BBC Philharmonic, was the winner of the 2022 Ivan Juritz Prize for Modernism.

Composition projects in 24-25 include the premiere of ‘content’, music about the Internet for saxophonist David Zucchi and electronics and ‘PLAY’, a partnership transforming video game controllers into expressive musical instruments.

Robert’s work has been performed by leading musicians in the UK, including the Riot Ensemble, Psappha, the Britten Sinfonia, the Elias Quartet, Chineke!, and others. He has been awarded a Royal Philharmonic Society Composer’s Prize, and been nominated for two Ivor Novello Composers Awards along with the RMA Tippett Medal.

Born in London, he read Music at Cambridge University before studying Composition with David Sawer at the Royal Academy of Music. From 2018-22 he was the RNCM PRiSM (Centre for Practice & Research in Science & Music) PhD Researcher in Artificial Intelligence with the BBC Philharmonic. He is currently a Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University. Recent publications have focussed on notions of truth, authenticity, fakeness, bias, and structuralism in technology and music. He lectures in Composition at the Faculty of Music, Oxford, is an Associate of RNCM PRiSM, and is a member of the Governing Body of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

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