Sunlight Symphony will be created as light hits sensors on University of Plymouth building later this month
The University of Plymouth’s Roland Levinsky building will come to life later in the month with a sun-powered music show.
The Peninsula Arts Festival the Sunlight Symphony, created by composer Alexis Kirke and technologist Tim Hodgson, involves a series of light sensors placed on the side of the building which trigger a sophisticated multi-layered music instrument that plays in surround-sound through speakers in the building’s foyer.
Kirke, of the University’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research, said he noticed how beautiful the building looked in the mornings as the sun struck it.
Inspired by this, he conceived the idea for the Sunlight Symphony and approached Hodgson to design a complex network of light sensors to help realise his vision.
The Sunlight Symphony can be seen in three ways says Kirke, as an instrument, a composition and an installation.
When the sun hits the first window sensor gently, a low quiet sound will begin and then new sounds, melodies and harmonies will layer over the top
“It is an instrument because the sun is basically playing the building – ‘bowing’ on the sensors in the windows like a violin player. It is a composition because those people in the building foyer at sunrise will hear the sounds develop like a piece of music.
"Also, it is an installation, because it can be left playing all day in the background as the sun moves across the sky, and clouds change its brightness.”
When the sun hits the first window sensor gently, a low quiet sound will begin and then new sounds, melodies and harmonies will layer over the top of this as the sun gets brighter and strikes more of the sensors. The opposite will happen at sunset.
The concert will begin at sunrise on 26 February to open the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival, and will play again at selected times during the following 10 days.