Symphony for old IBM mainframe

In 1964, an Icelandic IBM 1401 mainframe engineer figured out how to get the machine to emit beautiful, bassy notes, and composed a symphony music for it. Now his son has composed a symphony with interpretive dance based on his father's work and is touring with it.

Fast-forward four decades, and recently discovered tape recordings of Gunnarson's works form the basis of a touring song-and-dance performance, IBM 1401: A User's Manual. The show was composed by Gunnarson's son Jóhann Jóhannsson, with interpretive dance choreographed by Erna Omarsdotti, whose father is another IBM alum.

The work, named in part for a companion recording of a voice reciting the manual for an IBM 1403 printer, was performed in Wales, Tokyo, Copenhagen and Belgium this summer.


(Image thumbnail ganked from a larger pic by Laurent Zigler)