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Derrick Skye: Where do we go, from here?

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On April 2, 2022, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) presents renowned composer and musician Derrick Skye with Where can we go, from here?, a program exploring music as a doorway into understanding other cultures and different ways of living through healing, artificial intelligence (AI), and honoring music of diverse communities.

Structured in two parts, Where can we go, from here? features a powerful team of vocalists, instrumentalists, dancers, and artists led by Skye along with writer, speaker, and musician K Allado-McDowell. The program’s first half features a performance of Classical Persian Music by Pirayeh Pourafar and Houman Pourmehdi, the CalArts African Ensemble led by Yeko Ladzekpo-Cole, and Skye’s composition, “Mind the Rhythm,” featuring Rachel Iba and James Waterman with choreography by Ladzekpo-Cole.

After intermission the program concludes with “Song of the Ambassadors,” an interdisciplinary work with music written by Skye and a libretto by Allado-McDowell using the AI language model GPT-3. “Song of the Ambassadors” is part of an opera in development and includes a live neuroscience study on the effects of the composition. Performed by a small ensemble including vocalists Lindsay Patterson Abdou, Mindy Ella Chu, and Edmond Rodriguez, and instrumentalists Rachel Mellis, Chrysanthe Tan, and James Waterman, the work includes collaboration with Associate Project Scientists Ying Wu and Alex Khalil from the Institute of Neural Computation at University of California, San Diego.

Where can we go, from here? explores holistic approaches to music making, artificial intelligence, and data interpretation, ultimately searching for a unified language. Skye asks, “How can we use AI to create a model for generative music, and how can that model work with living, breathing musicians and composers to include vocabulary from a variety of musical cultures? Musically, what does that sound like?”

Photo courtesy of REDCAT.