In the bowels of Llewellyn Hall, a mathematician, a computer programmer and a composer are making music.
It's a melody written for machines as well as players at the Australian National University's School of Music, a score that can learn, improve, even steal from artists, or play rhythms and chord progressions just not possible for human hands.
On Wednesday, the school took to the stage - and radio waves - to announce the launch of a brand new orchestra, as the university looks to expand classical training for Canberra's musicians. But as school head Kim Cunio explains, this troupe will be far from conventional.
Auditions will be open to all university students, regardless of their degree, as well as recent graduates and gifted school students. And two other ensembles will also take shape - a big band and a "laptop orchestra" thanks to a new partnership with the ANU's computer science faculty.
One day, Cunio hopes to see them all play together, with DJs side by side with classical musicians and rock bands.
"We want to re-imagine what an orchestra is," he says. "My vision is to train musicians that are part composers, part mathematicians, and part computer hackers."
The orchestra will work closely with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and as well as the local youth orchestra, training in the classics but also devoting playing time to contemporary and international scores.
"We'll even look at doing more open and semi-improvised scoring," Cunio says.
While the music school has a long and celebrated history in Canberra, it hasn't had an orchestra since 2012, when controversial funding cuts by university management ushered in years of instability - and saw student numbers nosedive.
"Now we're starting to get that critical mass back," Cunio says. "These days the practice room is always full. And with the orchestra and a big band we're launching, we hope that the next generation of musicians will be from Canberra again rather than just flying in from Sydney or Melbourne.
"Music might be aloof or elitist for many people. We want to open it up to anyone with talent."
Conductor Max McBride ("a former legend of the school") will return to its halls to lead the orchestra, as auditions open in November ahead of a 2020 season.
Alexander Hunter helps run the laptop orchestra and says students in music and computer science have more in common than they might first believe.
"They both come at it from different avenues, especially with performance," he says. "The computer students might use music to solve a problem in programming, the musicians might want to expand their vocabulary of sound or their voice by synthesising something new."
Students write code as well as music, blending instrumental performance with new experiments in artificial intelligence or computer programming.
"Computer music isn't new, but we're rebuilding it here at ANU," he says.
So has machine composition ruffled any feathers in Canberra's classical music scene?
"Remarkably no," Hunter laughs. "Machines will never replace human composers; this is about extending artists and musicians, not replacing them."
Rachel Thomas, chief of the Canberra Symphony, says ANU's new orchestra will forge more pathways for emerging orchestral players.
Cunio hopes experiments with science, maths and technology will also open "back doors" into music for a new breed of student.
"Sometimes the best musicians are lost to music."
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