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Press Releases

Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology Program Names International Contemporary Ensemble First Ever Ensemble-in-Residence

May 16, 2019 | By Katy Salomon
Account Director, Morahan Arts and Media


Katy Salomon | Morahan Arts and Media | 863.660.2214



 New York, NY (May 16, 2019) – The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) today announces its selection as the first ever ensemble-in-residence by theNokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) programAs a continuation of the ICE’s previous partnership with Nokia Bell Labs, the residency will further the Ensemble’s commitment to the exploration and redefinition of how music is made and experienced. The Ensemble’s inaugural performance as ensemble-in-residence happens on Sunday, May 19 at 4pm in New York City’s Times Square, part of NYCxDESIGN 2019. The free program will feature award-winning Icelandic composer and frequent Ensemble collaborator Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Fields.

In 2018, the International Contemporary Ensemble and Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T. established a collaborative relationship to explore how music enables shared emotions, expressions, and empathic communication. As centuries of musical modes of expression deepen technological thought, new technology inspires parallel innovation in music, and Nokia Bell Labs and the International Contemporary Ensemble form a symbiotic relationship dedicated to exploring the visceral and emotional language of music. Over the course of a year, the Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T. program has explored which aspects of music offer special modes of communicative expression, and how those modes might be integrated in technological user interfaces.

As Ensemble in Residence, the Ensemble will serve as a cultural resource and ambassador to the mission and history of E.A.T. In the next year, the Ensemble will bring the emerging technologies of Nokia Bell Labs into their own events in pursuit of three goals: to celebrate recent and historical artistic relationships with Nokia Bell Labs, to foster new artistic collaborations dedicated to understanding the unique capacity of music as a language, and enhance the audience experience by way of immersive, interactive modes of listening.

In addition to public events, performances, and new commissions, the International Contemporary Ensemble will also work with Nokia Bell Labs engineers and E.A.T. staff to explore new hardware and software interfaces that enhance listening experiences. The culmination of this research will advance interactive binaural (headphone) listening via the “Digital Illuminated Manuscripts” project.  

A “Digital Illuminated Manuscript” (DIM) is an interactive media portal which allows a listener to explore a work more deeply, creating a connection with the composer, the musicians, and the unique sound world of a piece of music. Through DIMs, listeners are given up-close-and-personal access to numerous building blocks of the language of music. Listeners can take a virtual seat next to the cellist, or the pianist (for example), to gain a unique awareness of the communication between instrumentalists and the interplay of the composer’s orchestrational designs.

The International Contemporary Ensemble and Nokia Bell Labs will work together to allow ground-breaking classical music to drive a new mode of listening and discovery. While typical listening conventions such as the compact disc, streaming audio, stereo loudspeakers, and headphones reinforce a passive listening experience, the Digital Illuminated Manuscripts will allow the real-time curiosity of the listener to be met with rich tools of exploration.

About the International Contemporary Ensemble
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is an artist collective that is transforming the way music is created and experienced. As performer, curator, and educator, ICE explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The ensemble’s 35 members are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners, and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time. Works by emerging composers have anchored ICE’s programming since its founding in 2001, and the group’s recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music’s present.

A recipient of the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, ICE was also named the 2014 Musical America Ensemble of the Year. The group currently serves as artists-in-residence at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, and previously led a five-year residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. ICE was featured at the Ojai Music Festival from 2015 to 2017, and at recent festivals abroad such as gmem-CNCM-marseille and Vértice at Cultura UNAM, Mexico City. Other performance stages have included the Park Avenue Armory, The Stone, ice floes at Greenland’s Diskotek Sessions, and boats on the Amazon River.

New initiatives include OpenICE, made possible with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which offers free concerts and related programming wherever ICE performs, and enables a working process with composers to unfold in public settings. DigitICE, a fr tee online library of over 350 streaming videos, catalogues the ensemble’s performances. ICE's First Page program is a commissioning consortium that fosters close collaborations between performers, composers, and listeners as new music is developed. EntICE, a side-by-side education program, places ICE musicians within youth orchestras as they premiere new commissioned works together; inaugural EntICE partners include Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and The People's Music School in Chicago. Summer activities include Ensemble Evolution at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in which young professionals perform with ICE and attend workshops on topics from interpretation to concert production. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE. Read more at

About Nokia Bell Labs
Nokia Bell Labs is the world-renowned industrial research arm of Nokia. Over its more than 90-year history, Bell Labs has invented many of the foundational technologies that underpin information and communications networks and all digital devices and systems. This research has resulted in 9 Nobel Prizes, three Turing Awards, three Japan Prizes, a plethora of National Medals of Science and Engineering, as well as an Oscar, two Grammy awards and an Emmy award for technical innovation. For more information, visit

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