Festival premieres Eötvös’ ‘Deciding Machine’ – Jackson Hole News & Guide

A May 2020 article in The Wall Street Journal heralds the dawn of the age of the “decision machine,” when supercomputers and artificial intelligence are able to sort through the myriad possible consequences of complex, dynamic situations to predict the most likely outcomes.

But the idea of such a mechanical brain goes back in some primitive form to antiquity and begins to become something contemporary society might recognize as a computer in the 1830s, when English noblewoman Ada Lovelace King — the only legitimate child of Lord Byron and the Countess of Lovelace — wrote what some consider to be the first computer program.

The mathematical pioneer and latter-day feminist icon is paid tribute in Australian-American composer Melody Eötvös’ 12-minute orchestral work “The Deciding Machine.” Commissioned two years ago by the Grand Teton Music Festival for its COVID-canceled 2020 season, the work will finally get its world premiere Thursday, with subsequent performances Friday and Saturday, at Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village.

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