Edinburgh Napier students perform at #Digifest18 - without leaving Merchiston!

Band teams up with Royal College of Music London Orchestra to kick-off conference

Date posted

7 March 2018


Last updated

14 June 2022

Three Edinburgh Napier music students have helped a leading higher education conference in Birmingham get off to an electrifying start – without leaving the comfort of their own studio.

Students Jan ‘Honsa’ Kourimsky, Adam Law and Mac McWhirter performed live on stage with the Royal College of Music London orchestra to open Digifest 2018 – a higher education conference with an emphasis on digital tech being held at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham this week (6-7 March 2018).

However, instead of travelling to Birmingham to perform, the three-piece band virtually played along with the orchestra from the comfort of their own studio at the University’s Merchiston campus, appearing on a giant screen within the main conference auditorium.

The band’s performance – accompanying a piece composed and conducted by Eduardo Andrade specifically for the conference – was made possible through the use of advanced audio-visual streaming technology called LOLA (low latency).

LOLA (Low Latency) is an audio-visual streaming system that allows musicians to play together remotely in real-time. It is currently used in universities and orchestral academies around the world for music education, rehearsal and performance.

Edinburgh Napier’s LOLA/ENSEMBLE team has been at the forefront of the technology’s development and was involved with its first transatlantic use last year when it recorded an album of music with musicians from Berklee College of Music in Boston without either leaving their respective countries.

The performance in Birmingham was well received by the hundreds in attendance, with many commenting that they had never seen a performance like it before.

Dr Paul Ferguson, associate professor of audio engineering at Edinburgh Napier, said: “We are getting a glimpse of a low-carbon future where the world’s musicians can learn and play unhindered by geographical boundaries. We were delighted that our three students could take part in such a fantastic project and we’re equally thrilled to hear that they brought the house down with their performance!”

LOLA relies on very fast, reliable networks – the national research and education networks that connect universities around the world – to operate effectively. Edinburgh Napier has a dedicated synchronous 10 Gb connection to the Janet network, the UK’s national research and education network, provided by Jisc.

Running from 6-7 March 2018, Digifest is the UK’s leading edtech organisation and explores the power of digital within the further and higher education sectors. It is organised annually by Jisc, a UK organisation that provides digital solutions for UK education and research.

Watch the performance here: