Dr Zubin Kanga, lecturer in Royal Holloway’s music department, has been awarded a £1.4 million UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship for his major research project, Cyborg Soloists: Advancing Interdisciplinary Music in the Post-Internet Age Through New Musician-Technology Interactions.
The prestigious UK Research and Innovation fellowship will support a wide-ranging 7-year project, including the establishment of a new research centre at Royal Holloway, University of London, that will explore interdisciplinary interactions between music, the other arts, and new digital technologies.
The research will focus around a number of workstreams, each addressing a type of interaction between live musicians and new technologies. These will include new types of interaction between musicians and live computer-generated video, AI interactive co-performers, virtual reality performances, new digital instruments, the interactive use of mobile phones in performance, and expanding the bodies of musicians with robotics, motion-sensors and brain-scanning biosensors. The outputs will be new works, new technological tools for musicians, new approaches to interdisciplinary interactions in music, new perspectives on how musicians utilise new technologies, and new audience experiences.
Dozens of composers and performers will work together with 12 industry partners to develop artistic and technological innovations. The industry partners include digital instrument makers, ROLI, world leaders in neuro-diagnostic technologies, ANT Neuro, creator of motion-sensor gloves for musicians, MiMu, and virtual reality developers, Austella.
The funding will also cover postdoctoral researchers, administrative staff, equipment, festivals, conferences, publications, exhibitions, concert films, a documentary, and commissions, fees and residency costs for composers, performers, and researchers.
Dr Kanga is an internationally-acclaimed pianist, composer and researcher, with a specialty in co-creating new works combining the piano with new technologies. He regularly performs piano and multimedia recitals at major festivals across Europe and Australia, and has collaborated with many of the world’s leading composers, premiering 120 works. He was previously a research fellow at the University of Nice and IRCAM (Paris) and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London. He was recently appointed as Lecturer in Musical Performance and Digital Arts at Royal Holloway.
Dr Kanga is among 101 newly named Future Leaders Fellows, each receiving between £400,000 and £1.5 million to work on a range of cutting-edge research. Future Leaders Fellows also benefit from networking across the UK’s most talented researchers and innovators from different disciplines and sectors, putting them at the forefront of modern, interdisciplinary research.