An international audience including Ministers and Ambassadors from around Europe enjoyed a unique concert on Thursday 5 October 2017, ‘Music Without Borders’. The event was organised by the EU-funded Eastern Partnership Connect (EaPConnect) project and partners from five European countries to introduce unique ‘LoLa’ low latency data transmission technology to Estonia and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) region and showcase how it supports harmonious cross-border collaborations.

Estonian and Armenian musicians located in Tallinn, Estonia played seamlessly together with Belarusian and Georgian performers who were connected in real time from Minsk, Belarus, thanks to LoLa technology and high-bandwidth research and education internet network links.  This was the first time that LoLa had been used in Estonia and Belarus and showed the capability of the national research and education networks to support its use.

‘Music Without Borders’ was hosted by the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (EAMT) and the Estonian research and education network link was provided by EENet of HITSA. In Minsk, LoLa was implemented at the Academy of Sciences (UIIP NASB) with the network provided by BASNET.

Ivari Ilja (piano) and Henry-David Varema (cello) in Tallinn, with Oleg Iazina (violin) and Katsiarina Shapochka (viola) in Minsk, play the 1st movement of Mozart's piano quartet no. 1 at 'Music Without Borders' on 5 October 2017., ©GÉANT
Laura Põldvere (singing), Kirke Karja (piano) and Harutyun Mkrtchyan (percussion) in Tallinn, with Reso Kiknadze (saxophone) and Khatia Koridze (bass) in Minsk, play 'My Funny Valentine'., ©GÉANT

Value to music and learning

With a programme of Mozart, jazz and a comic opera aria by Donizetti, “Music Without Borders” demonstrated the power of research and education networks and LoLa technology to support new opportunities for artistic performance and rehearsal, artistic research, and teaching in the Eastern Partnership region.

It’s extremely important for our musicians to have the ability to make the window to Europe open wider, and to have more chances to organise online meetings with musicians of many European countries.”

Eugeni Efimov, United Institute of Informatics Problems / BASNET (UIIP NASB), Head of the International Cooperation Department, speaking in Minsk, Belarus

LoLa, supported by the networks, permits students to participate in real-time lectures and masterclasses with top teachers and artists, regardless of their location in the world. This allows for experimenting with musicians abroad as well as performing with stage partners without having to leave the home country. The unique data transmission system creates unprecedented opportunities for international cooperation.”

Ivari Ilja, EAMT Rector, renowned pianist who performed two of the 'Music Without Borders' pieces and anticipates further use of the technology in the academy.

Other performers were: Laura Põldvere, an Estonian vocal artist, Eurovision contestant and teacher; Reso Kiknadze, Rector of Tbilisi State Conservatory and saxophonist; Irina Kuchynskaya, soprano with the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus; Henry-David Varema, Vice-Rector of EAMT and professor of cello; Oleg Iazina, senior violin teacher at the Belarusian State Academy of Music; Kirke Karja, freelance pianist; Katsiarina Shapochka, viola teacher at the College of the Belarusian State Academy of Music; percussionist Harutyun Mkrtchyan, a teacher at the Armen Tigranyan music school in Armenia; and Khatia Koridze, a singer and bass guitarist who’s a student at the Paliashvili Central Music School in Georgia.

Ivari Ilja (piano) in Tallinn and Irina Kuchynskaya (soprano) in Minsk perform Norina's aria from 'Don Pasquale' by Donizetti., ©GÉANT
Lawrence Meredith, Neighbourhood East Director at the EC's Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargements Negotiations (DG NEAR) welcomes ambassadors, ministers and other guests at the 'Music Without Borders' concert in Tallinn on 5 October 2017., ©GÉANT

Strategic importance

‘Music Without Borders’ began with welcome speeches by the EaPConnect project leader, Maria Minaricova of GÉANT, the European association of national research and education networks; and by Lawrence Meredith, Neighbourhood East Director of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargements Negotiations, DG-NEAR, which funds EaPConnect.

The EU is pleased to support since 2015 the Eastern Partnership Connect project and its efforts to provide not only physical networks to interconnect Eastern Partnership (EaP) and other countries with high-speed broadband connections, but also its efforts to build online services for research and education, to extend its reach beyond supporting big science and research and to offer support also to the arts and humanities. Projects like this are of strategic importance to help bring EaP and European neighbours closer together.”

Lawrence Meredith, European Commission Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Neighbourhood East Director

Further Information

Download the concert programme (pdf)

Currently close to 100 institutions in the world use the LoLa technology. The EaPConnect project, led by GÉANT, funded the new LoLa implementations in Tallinn, in the United Institute of Informatics Problems/BASNET (UIIP NASB) in Minsk, and also in the Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia (IIP IAS RA).

Partners in the ‘Music Without Borders’ collaboration were the national research and education networking organisations in Belarus (BASNET), Estonia (EENet of HITSA), Italy (GARR), Georgia (GRENA), and Armenia (IIP IAS RA), plus the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Tbilisi State Conservatory in Georgia, the Belarus State Conservatory, and the Giuseppe Tartini Conservatory of Trieste in Italy.

The LoLa technology was developed by the Giuseppe Tartini Music Conservatory in Trieste, Italy, in collaboration with the Italian research and academic network GARR.

Social media coverage of the event can be found on Facebook and Twitter with #MusicWithoutBorders.

The following (Facebook) videos are available: