By Hong Angie
Video = National Orchestra of Korea’s official YouTube channel
Photos = National Theater of Korea
“Can a robot replace a conductor?”
“Is an orchestra ensemble possible only with a precise beat like a metronome?”
“Can we rethink the value and role of artists through an unconventional experiment with robot conductors?”
The stage is set to soon answer these questions.
The National Orchestra of Korea, an affiliate of the National Theater of Korea, on June 30 will perform its fourth orchestral series “Disproof” at Haeoreum Grand Theater in Seoul’s Jung-gu District.
The innovative performance will feature EveR 6, an emotionally sympathetic android developed by the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH), as the nation’s first robot to lead an orchestra.
The upcoming performance is a collaboration between KITECH, which researches and develops advanced technologies including humanoid robots, and the orchestra to explore new creative possibilities.
During the robot’s development process, the most important function was accurate calculation of beats without error.
The humanoid has a patented body resembling a human with flexible and precise movements of its neck and arms. It will also show a robotic command style different from previous attempts by effortlessly executing movements with frequent changes in speed.
EveR 6 can express natural emotions through facial expressions and movements, occupying a leading position in the development of robots that can communicate with people.
On the same stage where EveR 6 and human conductor Choi Soo-yeoul will show their respective strengths, both will also conduct one piece simultaneously to show creative collaboration between a robot and a human.
The humanoid will conduct Awakened Steppe in C Minor by Byambasuren Sharav and “Horse Thump” by Mandakhbile Biravaa, two of the orchestra’s most popular repertoires.
Both pieces are bright and upbeat that bring to mind horses running through Mongolia’s vast grasslands. The selection of music focusing on the robot’s characteristics and strengths and its accurate performance of repetitive movements at high speed will offer a new artistic experience.
On the forthcoming performance, the orchestra said, “This will be a journey for artists and audiences to explore the future of cooperation and coexistence between art and technology.”
More information is available on the theater’s official website: (www.ntok.go.kr/kr/Ticket/Performance/Details?performanceId=266247).