A Symphony for Perth

Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Sea: A Symphony for Perth was composed from October 2013 to February 2014 for Carolyn Kuan and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, on commission from the Perth International Arts Festival. The 25-minute work is a musical, sonic portrait of Perth and surrounding areas, and was created in collaboration with people from Perth of all ages and backgrounds (based on a creative model I developed for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Edinburgh International Festival, both in 2013, designed to cultivate careful listening to the world around us to discover its hidden music).

Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Sea is a four movement work, played without a break, which conveys Perth’s dramatic geography, the simultaneous complexity and calm I have found there, and the enormous sense of potential and ‘unanswered questions’ that the city and region suggest. You can read more about the ideas behind the piece here and watch a brief trailer for A Symphony for Perth below:

I have travelled rather widely over the years, but I had never been to Perth (nor the rest of Australia) when Continue reading

LOFT on Opera Simulcast

Here’s a preview of this handsome article and interview published by the Swedish design magazine LOFT: DALLAS OPERA’s SIMULCAST – Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers

Slowly another part of me emerges and takes in the
theatre, the darkness, and the spectators’ faces dimly
lit from screens on their laps. I tap my screen and a
graphical interface comes alive: through dots, lines,
and colours I dialogue with feelings, words, and ideas
giving them fresh expression. It does not take long
for a new mode of split perception to take root and
seamlessly shift back and forth from my individual
layer to a larger collective one; it’s like keeping open
two stereophonic channels at the same time.
Trough robot’s eyes now I perceive an ‘inside stage’ point
of view… I couldn’t be in Dallas for this performance,
but following it here in Stockholm is the next best thing.

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Multimedia opera on NPR

Fun NPR Morning Edition piece this past weekend on Yuval Sharon‘s multimedia production of “Cunning Little Vixen” with the Cleveland Orchestra, including some comments by our own Tod Machover about DEATH AND THE POWERS and opera+technology in general. Great food for thought!

Listen to the program here: ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ Pokes Her Head Into An Animated Forest

Courtesy of NPR

Courtesy of NPR

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“A big work with big ideas” – Opera News review

Risley, Orth and Harvey in Death and the Powers in Dallas

Risley, Orth and Harvey in Death and the Powers in Dallas

A pleasant surprise arrived in the mail this week: Opera News in its May 2014 issue gives the Dallas Opera’s production of Tod Machover’s “Death and the Powers” a glowing review. Writer Andrew Sigler praises the opera as “a big work with big ideas,” and notes that “Machover brings to bear his considerable technical prowess in the world of technology, as well as his deep sense of musical history,” to explore the premise of human consciousness merging with computer hardware.

Sigler writes that Robert Orth, in the role of Simon Powers, “embodied the character perfectly,” and praises Patricia Risley’s for giving a “smoky and sensual” performance and “real depth” to Evvy, Simon’s third and favorite wife. In the thrilling final scene, “Machover shows his operatic chops and Joélle Harvey’s Miranda all but steals the show.”

Read the full review here.

Simulcast gets thumbs up from Opera

May 14 cover.inddOpera magazine reviewed the interactive simulcast of “Death and the Powers” and pronounced that this experiment in using smartphone technology to enhance the cinematic viewing experience has “huge potential for the technologically engaged operatic culture that Machover continues to pioneer.”

Read the full review here.

Bowers & Wilkins on Vocal Vibrations

Bowers & Wilkins has posted a blog article that details the role of their technology in “Vocal Vibrations”. The immersive installation featuring music by composer Tod Machover and design by Neri Oxman opened on March 27th at Le Laboratoire in Paris. The project examines the relationship between human physiology and the resonant vibrations of voice.

Vocal Vibrations uses complex technology to layer audio, physical and other stimuli on top of visitors’ voices; audio, lighting and tactile cues will be triggered by sensors in specially designed, hand-held orbs, while measurements are taken for such responses as heart rate, breathing and galvanic skin response. Key to the experience are the latest 683 and 686 loudspeakersPV1D subwoofers and P7 headphones all supplied by renowned British speaker brand Bowers & Wilkins.

Machover said of the impact of these: “Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers and headphones sound absolutely amazing in these spaces and really ‘make’ the experience.”

VocalVibrations-B&W
Vocal Vibrations in association with Bowers & Wilkins runs 28 March-29 September (private view 27 March), Le Laboratoire, 4 rue du Bouloi, 75001, Paris.