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What singer Aida Garifullina and digital music have in common

© Aida Garifullina studierte in Nürnberg. Foto: picture alliance / dpa

Young soprano Aida Garifullina, who is currently a star performer at the Vienna State Opera and enrapturing opera fans all over the world, studied in Nuremberg. Nuremberg University of Music is not only where Ms Garifullina’s rise to the top of the opera world began, however, but has also recently become a centre for digital innovations that is being supported by the German government. This makes its location extremely appropriate, because Nuremberg was already an importantcity for exhibitions and conferences focusing on digitalization, IT and/or electronics. Blazing a trail in the field of digitalisation, for example, are embedded world, the leading international fair for embedded systems, and it-sa, the world’s leading trade fair for IT security.
Aida Garifullina rose to fame very quickly due to the fact that she was heard by millions when she sang with Robbie Williams at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow. Although the young Russian’s talent was recognised very early on in her life, she only took her first steps towards becoming a professional singer when she got to Nuremberg. With Germany being home to Bach, Beethoven and Handel, her move from Russia to the Bavarian city as a 17-year-old suddenly put her in the country of the music she had been listening to throughout her childhood and teenage years. She was under the tutelage of the famous Wagner tenor and former president of the University of Music Siegfried Jerusalem back then and recently said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that the university was like a second family to her and Mr Jerusalem cared about his students very much. 

Nuremberg universities win 10 million euros for digital ideas
Ms Garifullina now lives in Vienna and is going from strength to strength as she sings at the Vienna State Opera. Even in this age of digitalization, Nuremberg University of Music has remained true the long-established concept of supporting its students financially in a very special way. In cooperation with Nuremberg Institute of Technology Georg Simon Ohm and Nuremberg Academy of Fine Arts, the University of Music has founded LEONARDO – The Centre for Creativity and Innovation. LEONARDO is being sponsored nearly 10 million euros by the German federal and state governments after the university trio finished ahead of 117 other contenders in the national competition “Innovative Hochschule” (Innovative University) with the LEONARDO concept, which focuses primarily on the research of digital developments.

The centre revolves around the “implementation of innovative idea, knowledge and technology transfer strategies”, so in a nutshell, around brilliant ideas – and the majority of these are conceived with the aim of creating digital solutions. Prof. Christoph Adt, Mr Jerusalem’s successor as president of the University of Music, said: “Aesthetic reality and value in music are going through a fundamental change at the moment due to digitalization. The multitude of digital media devices such as laptops, smartphones tablets and smartwatches are having a profound impact on the way music is used and are resulting in completely new fields of application and business models as consequence.”

Ms Garifullina makes star appearances in the digital world too
The first LEONARDO student projects have already been completed and, among other things, include digital sound systems, virtual worlds and robots that work with artificial intelligence. Those involved say the reason LEONARDO is proving to be such a success is the fact that it is the first time a technical university specializing in knowledge and technology transfer is working with two universities specializing in arts!

Just a little older than her successors at Nuremberg University of Music, Ms Garifullina, incidentally, is active in the digital world as well. Her Instagram account alone has 1,323 posts and over 680,000 followers, and her videos have already had more than 30,000 views. She says public appearances are part of her job too – both in the real world and the digital world.

Nuremberg an important place for digitalization
Nuremberg is an important city for exhibitions and conferences focusing on digitalization, IT and/or electronics. Blazing a trail in the field of digitalisation, for example, are embedded world, the leading international fair for embedded systems, and it-sa, the world’s leading trade fair for IT security. Altogether, these shows have 5,200 exhibitors, cover 300,000 square metres and draw over 160,000 trade visitors. The region of Nuremberg is also a significant IT location outside the NürnbergConvention Center, with more than 100,000 employees working in the industry and innovative lighthouse projects such as the adidas smart factory. In addition, the Nuremberg Digital Festival, which lasts a week and attracts IT and technology fans and start-ups from all over the world, is held every year in October. The German government’s Digital Summit is being held at the NürnbergConvention Center for the first time on 3 and 4 December 2018 too. Over 1,000 significant figures from the areas of politics, economics, science and social affairs are expected here. Among others, the sponsors and partners for these two events include Schaeffler, Siemens, Siemens Healthineers, adidas, Novartis, Daimler, Bosch, Ericsson, Capgemini, Fujitsu, Huawei, ING, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP and BCG. NürnbergMesse is also a sponsor.

About NürnbergConvention
NürnbergConvention is the conference brand for Nuremberg. Under the umbrella of NürnbergConvention, NürnbergMesse and the Nuremberg Tourist Board (Congress- und Tourismuszentrale Nürnberg – CTZ) market the city of Nuremberg as a location for conferences, meetings and other events. The NürnbergConvention Center (NCC), which belongs to NürnbergMesse, has 12,800 spaces available in its NCC Mitte, NCC West and NCC Ost centres and the multifunctional Frankenhalle. All the NCCs and the Frankenhalle are directly connected to exhibition halls, which offer a total of 170,000 square metres and include new halls designed by Zaha Hadid (3C is currently under construction). The NürnbergConvention Bureau (NCB) run by NürnbergConvention offers event planners “service from a single source”.