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JADS Lustrum Stories: Martijn Willemsen about musical memories of the JADS Chapel

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In our series of JADS lustrum stories, Martijn Willemsen, shares with us his musical memories of the JADS Chapel. Martijn Willemsen is associate professor in the Human-Technology Interaction group at the school of Innovation Sciences at the Eindhoven University of Technology and also works as the principle investigator of the Recommender LAB at JADS.

Concert with a data twist

“One of the key assets of the JADS campus is the beautiful chapel. Though it has been soundproofed for teaching, it still has quite some good acoustics left. When the first Den Bosch Data Week (DDBW) was planned in October 2018, my recommender lab took the opportunity to do something with data and live music! Lu Yiang had just started her PhD on how to help people develop new tastes and preferences and had built her first Spotify music recommender tool to do that. Together with the International Vocal Competition we organized a musical concert in the Chapel with a professional opera singer, Nina van Essen, and a pianist. The concert had a special data-twist: The songs that the singer would sing, were determined by the Spotify profiles of the audience! A real data-driven concert, labeled a Night at the JADS Opera!”

“The audience registered for the concert with their Spotify account. A few days before it would happen, we matched the audience to the playlist of the opera Singer. This was a challenge as the audience did not really consist of opera-listeners or classical music fans for that matter…”

Mix of live music and data insights

“During the concert the audience got an app in which they could indicate how much they liked each song. In between two songs we presented the data and our predictions to the audience and in the app we showed to each visitor which of the two songs we predicted they would like most. The audience really enjoyed the mix of live music and data insights. But above all, they were strongly impressed with the experience of listening to live opera music in the fantastic atmosphere and acoustics of the JADS chapel.”

Two choirs

“In 2019 during the next Data Week we took a new challenge. What music fits better in a Chapel than Choir Music? So we asked two choirs, a classical Chamber choir: Strijps Kamerkoor from Eindhoven, not coincidentally my own choir, and a modern choir: pop-soul choir Rosmalen. We again matched the songs to the audience that consisted of both classical music and pop music lovers: this allowed us to predict also which songs of each choir they would like most and we showed our predictions in the app and on the screen.”

“The audience – and the choirs – enjoyed listening to the diverse set of songs that were performed ranging from 17th century (Inter brachia Salvatoris Mei from Schütz) to 2017 Pink (What about us), experiencing a lot of new music from novel genres and performed in ways they had never heard before!”

More information

More information about the two Music meets Data events can be found in these blog posts by Martijn WIllemsen:

Group 5
Group 6
Group 7