Review ICMC 2016

ICMC 2016: "Big and exciting"

After thirty years, the ICMC (International Computer Music Conference) is returning to the Netherlands. The conference took place in Utrecht from 12 to 16 September, with TivoliVredenburg as the epicentre. The 42nd edition of the ICMC was a particularly memorable one: a week that revolved around new, exciting, international and adventurous music, taking electronics as the starting point. The week was hosted by HKU Music and Technology and the Gaudeamus Muziekweek.

In TivoliVredenburg, audiences could attend a variety of concerts, installations, lectures, papers, panels and workshops. The central question was: what determines the musical future – technology or aesthetics? The programme included a concert and keynote by the multimedia artist Åke Parmerud (Sweden), concerts by Ensemble Modelo62, Insomnio, Igor C. Silva (Portugal), Chia-i Lin (Taiwan) and many others. The newspaper Volkskrant (in Dutch) described the performances as ‘big and exciting’.

The highlight of the week was the performance by audiovisual artist Robert Henke (Germany), who according to the newspaper NRC "presented a new, exciting version of the groundbreaking Lumière II”. On the stage of TivoliVredenburg, Henke created a totally new world, using four lasers, mirrors, a smoke machine and his sound installation. “Mind-expanding”, wrote 3voor12 - VPRO (in Dutch).

The programme also included many contributions from HKU Music and Technology alumni and lecturers, such as the workshop by Tarik Barri and the installation Rocking Chairs presented by Jeroen Strijbos and Rob van Rijswijk. The more informal off-icmc events were also a great success. These concerts and workshops were open to the public. For example, there was the very memorable 'Carillon and electronics', in which carillon music was played from the Dom cathedral in combination with live music from Flora's Hof, forming an exciting and impressive whole for the international visitors gathered around the Dom.

The participants were impressed by the high organisational quality, the technical and production assistance, the quality of the programme and the location of TivoliVredenburg at the heart of the city. The set-up of future ICMCs will be guided by the form of the conference, with daily panels and workshops, and the concert programme, including the off-icmc events, which all combined to create a true festival experience.