- The last symphony of the titan of symphonic music Ludwig van Beethoven was completed almost 200 years later with the help of artificial intelligence
- Deutsche Telekom supported the project as part of a series of initiatives to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of the German composer
Artificial intelligence is beginning to be involved in increasingly varied and difficult projects, such as the completion of a symphony originally composed by the great German composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
It is a project initiated in the spring of 2019 by Deutsche Telekom to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, a press release issued by Telekom Romania informs. Then, the German group organized a team of international experts in music and artificial intelligence to complete the 10th Symphony, begun but unfinished by Beethoven, with the help of this technology.
The artistic objective being to recompose one of the works of the great Beethoven, the technical one was to demonstrate that algorithms can be creative and can complete the human factor even in music.
Deutsche Telekom will present Beethoven’s 10th Symphony, completed with AI, at the Telekom Forum in Bonn in October this year.
A short audio clip that can be listened here gives listeners a first experience of the final composition. It was performed by the Beethoven Bonn Orchestra under the direction of conductor Dirk Kaftan and with Cameron Carpenter on organ.
The resulting composition will also be discussed for sure by the public. Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, is convinced of this: “I think the result is something really amazing, because people and cars have created something new. But it is important to see the result as what it is. Beethoven lived in his time. Beethoven lived in a society characterized by wars, shortages, but also a lot of love and empathy. No machine can do that today. However, the machine understands music and can further develop it, but it cannot integrate the zeitgeist – the subject at hand, if you will – into music”.
The story of the 10th Symphony
Shortly before his death, Beethoven began work on the 10th Symphony, a work that was to remain unfinished. Under the leadership of Dr. Matthias Röder, Director General at the Karajan Institute, a group of AI experts and musicologists developed “Beethoven AI”, which “understands” Beethoven’s style. Among the experts who provided scientific guidance and supervision was Prof. Dr. Christine Siegert, head of the Research Department at Beethoven-Haus.
Artificial intelligence was not only “fed” with Beethoven’s compositions and his notes on the 10th Symphony; composers and musicians who demonstrably inspired and influenced Beethoven during his lifetime, such as Johann Sebastian Bach, also offered him works. Together with the experts, the algorithm continued Beethoven’s incomplete final work. Moreover, the composer Walter Werzowa, the musicians and their conductor turned this notation into a living composition.
Experience the world premiere live
The world premiere of the symphony will take place on October 9 at the Telekom Forum in Bonn. The premiere will be broadcast live and free on MagentaMusik 360. In addition, there, after the premiere, the show will be available to the public.
BMG releases the album “Beethoven X – The AI Project” worldwide on October 8, in the form of CDs and Stream / Download (also in Dolby Atmos) on all digital platforms.