Ada Lovelace: Imagining the Analytical Engine - Britten Sinfonia

Ada Lovelace: Imagining the Analytical Engine

02 Nov 2019

Emily Howard

Ada sketches

Patricia Alessandrini

Ada's Song (world premiere)

Shiva Feshareki

Perpetual Motion (world premiere)

Emily Howard

But then, what are these numbers? (world premiere)

PRiSM Team led by Robert Laidlow

Alter (world premiere)

Ada Lovelace


Laura Tunbridge

librettist (Ada Sketches)

William Cole



An uncompromising musical tribute to a woman who united the worlds of 19th-century romanticism and cutting-edge science – Ada Lovelace: thinker, computer pioneer and enchantress of numbers.

In an unsympathetic age, Ada Lovelace explored far-reaching mathematical concepts and worked with Charles Babbage on his revolutionary Difference Engine, writing what is now recognised to be the world’s first computer programme. This afternoon-long event combines words and music to offer a post-millennial perspective on her legacy and achievement.

It’s devised by Emily Howard – whose own music explores the frontiers of scientific thought. As part of the Barbican’s year-long Life Rewired season, Britten Sinfonia perform specially commissioned, scientifically inspired music by Howard and her contemporaries plus music created by artificial intelligence written in tribute to Lovelace.

Download the programme notes here.

Part of Life Rewired: a season exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.

New works by Emily Howard, Patricia Alessandrini, Shiva Feshareki and the PRiSM Team led by Robert Laidlow were commissioned by the Barbican.

Part of Barbican Presents.

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