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Royal Albert Hall to become a kaleidoscopic music box

4 September, 2013

On Monday 23 September, the Royal Albert Hall will be turned into a giant, interactive music box by TEDxAlbertopolis speaker Andrew Shoben.

Shoben, founder of greyworld – a group of artists that produce playful art in public spaces – will use a camera positioned on the Hall’s ceiling to capture the distribution of colours across the seats in the venue. As the camera pans across the auditorium, an algorithm will convert those colours into sounds and each attendee will act as a pin in a giant music box, playing their part in a unique musical composition.

“The performance will be the first of its kind, combining mathematics, technology and creativity to turn the audience into a completely original instrument,” says Shoben.

Andrew Shoben is one of 13 extraordinary individuals who will be speaking at the first TEDx event to be held at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday 23 September. TEDxAlbertopolis will present an unparalleled look at how art and science fit together in the modern world and how both cultures flourish within the South Kensington estate, informally known as Albertopolis.

Shoben adds: “greyworld have wanted to create an artwork with a large live audience for some time, so the opportunity to work with a space as exciting as the Royal Albert Hall is a dream come true. The Hall is a giant music box, full of fabulous sounds, and this formed the inspiration for our idea - to treat our audience as if they are notes in a composition. The exciting - and the nerve wracking – thing, will be that we won’t know how the composition will sound until I am on stage, conducting. It’s a really exciting opportunity for everyone to be involved in.”

Chris Cotton, Chief Executive at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “Exhibition Road and the surrounding cultural area known as Albertopolis is seen by many as the cultural heartland of London and the ultimate destination for anyone with a thirst for discovery, and creativity. It is home to world leading arts, cultural, scientific and academic organisations where learning, generating and sharing knowledge is central to our purpose. We are thrilled to be partnering with TEDxAlbertopolis to host this significant “ideas worth spreading” event which I hope will demonstrate how we are all intrinsically linked with the common aim to continue the work that Prince Albert envisioned over 150 years ago.”

Gilead Amit and Kadhim Shubber, organisers of TEDxAlbertopolis, said: “TEDx events encourage communities like Albertopolis to take pride in their collective achievements and share their successes with the world. Albertopolis is home to some of the greatest and most creative thinkers alive today, and it's hugely exciting to be organising an event that showcases the great ideas that have come out of this historic community. Established by Prince Albert over a century ago, the guiding principles of Albertopolis remain astonishingly relevant to today’s world: that art and science, design and engineering, creativity and industry are each essential to solving the problems that humanity faces. There can be no more important message to bring to the Royal Albert Hall, and our event and our speakers will celebrate that legacy”

Speakers from a wide range of disciplines will share their unique perspective on the space where art and science meet. TEDxAlbertopolis will be hosted by Daniel Glaser, with talks and performances from Max Barclay, David Braben FREng, Professor Dame Sally Davies, John Halpern, Roland Lamb, Julia Lohmann, Nicolas McCarthy, and Hannah Redler.

Final speakers, being announced alongside Andrew Shoben, complete the full lineup:

Award-winning choreographer Ryan Francois, one of the US and UK’s foremost authorities on authentic jazz dance styles associated with the 1920s, 30s and 40s. His choreography has featured on shows such as on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, ‘Dancing With The Stars’, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, ‘Strictly Dance Fever’ and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

Historian Deirdre Murphy, curator of collections at the Historic Royal Palaces, including Kensington Palace, and an expert on the lives of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria.

Tourettes hero Jessica Thom, who is “changing the world one tic at a time” by challenging people to react creatively and humorously to Tourette’s Syndrome.

Architectural critic, writer and editor Kieran Long, who engages people with design through breaking down barriers between disciplines. He is senior curator of contemporary architecture, design and digital at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Evening Standard’s architecture critic.

During the breaks, attendees will also be able to enjoy a variety of activities from:

The Clerks, who take musical adventures in the science of hearing and will explore 'the cocktail party problem’ through music from the 14th to the 21st centuries.

Jiggling Atoms, a multi-disciplinary project exploring the wonders of physics through visual communication.

Patrick Stevenson Keating, a designer who explores the scientific and philosophical ideas surrounding the theory of quantum physics and multiple universes.

Mira Calix, an awarding winning composer, artist and performer who works with electronic-based music to incorporating more classical orchestration. Her piece ‘The Sun is the Queen of Torches’ is inspired by a collaboration with Dr Natalie Stingelin and her team in the Materials department at Imperial College London and will be performed for the first time at TEDxAlbertopolis. She will be accompanied by the contemporary dancer and choreographer Ella Robson Guilfoyle.

TEDxAlbertopolis is run under license from TED, a US non¬profit organisation formed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading" through a series of prestigious annual conferences and an extraordinary online library of recorded talks that are shared worldwide. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self ¬organised events that bring people together to share a TED-¬like experience. TEDx events revolve around celebrating the achievements of a community ¬ and there can be few communities whose achievements are as worthy of celebration as Albertopolis.

For those who want to watch this event online, TEDxAlbertopolis will also be live-streamed at

For full biographies of all the speakers visit

Listings Information:
Monday 23 September, timings 2pm­7pm
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP
Tickets £15-£25, Royal Albert Hall
To Book call the Box Office 020 7589 8212 or visit

For more information about TEDxAlbertopolis, contact Kadhim Shubber on 07912874817
For more information about the Royal Albert Hall, contact Sean Carrigan on 020 7959 0531 
Twitter: #TEDxAlb – @TEDxAlbrtopolis Facebook: /TEDxAlbertopolis

Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Its breathtaking auditorium hosts over 370 shows a year by the world’s greatest artists. The magical atmosphere combined with inspired artists creates legendary events.

Opened in 1871 as part of Prince Albert’s vision for a centre for the Arts and Sciences, the Hall is a registered charity which operates without public funding, remaining true to his founding ambitions within a modern context. Extending the brand with 200 events outside the auditorium, the Hall has broadened its appeal to younger, diverse audiences whilst still engaging its existing customers.

The Hall also offers the Elgar Room, a state­of­the­art small­scale performance space which hosts performances of classical music, jazz and world music, comedy, dance and hush, a series of gigs for just signed bands throughout the year. In the main auditorium, it offers the Albert Sessions, an initiative that encourages up and coming acts to play at the Hall by offering reduced rental fees to promoters and lower ticket prices to encourage younger audiences to visit the Hall. It also works extensively with schools, young people, disadvantaged groups and partners such as Music For Youth through its Education programme, reaching over 100,000 participants each year as part of its extensive public benefit remit. It has also been appointed by the Arts Council as one of the country’s regional music education hubs.

For more information, please visit Registered charity number: 254543

About TEDx
In the spirit of "ideas worth spreading," TED has created TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self­organized events that bring people together to share a TED­like experience. This event is called TEDxAlbertopolis where x = independently organized TED event. At TEDxAlbertopolis, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including TEDxAlbertopolis, are self­organized.

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four­day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world­changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo­Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place on the West Coast, with simulcast nearby; TEDGlobal is held each year in Edinburgh, UK. TED's media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to organize local, independent TED­like events around the world; and the TEDFellows program, helping world­changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at, and on Facebook at For information about TED's upcoming conferences, visit

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