Great interview with The Flute View

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 8.43.35 AMCheck out this terrific interview Barbara Seisel did with Tod Machover about his recently premiered flute concerto, “Breathless.” The article, temporarily available online to nonsubscribers, provides an in-depth look at how the piece was created. Tod talks about how he collaborated with flutist Carol Wincenc, and how he thought about using electronics, how the three-movement work is constructed, and more. Here’s a gem:

In writing the piece I thought a lot about meeting Carol at 16 and trying to reconcile classical, electronic and rock music influences and also remembering back to high school. It’s one of the big moments of your life – you’re going to leave home and go out and make a life for yourself. It’s extremely anxiety producing for many people. I know for me, I felt that everything was possible, that everything I love should be able to find a place in what my life becomes. I really believed that at 16!   When I was putting Breathless together it all of sudden struck me that my younger daughter is now exactly the same age as I was when was when I was at Aspen. I’m seeing this feeling again though her eyes now, as she is planning college, how she’s going to pull together all the things that she cares about and that connection in time was really powerful for me. So I think this idea of looking back and remembering how this precious friendship started and what the world felt like then and seeing it again through my daughter is very meaningful.

Read the full article here: Interview with Tod Machover: A composer’s process. By Barbara Siesel

Listen to Breathless here.

“Death and the Powers” makes Top 10 list!

Photo by Nathan Hunsinger, Dallas Morning News

Photo by Nathan Hunsinger, Dallas Morning News

The Dallas Morning News has ranked the Dallas Opera’s February 2014 production of “Death and the Powers” one of its “Classical music: Top 10 performances of 2014.” Reviewer Scott Cantrell writes:

Tod Machover’s sci-fi opera, dividing a cast of characters between known reality and some sort of parallel existence, was quite a stretch for a company not exactly known for adventure. But with a strong cast, including some quite mobile robots, excellent direction and some pretty dazzling high-tech effects, it was a memorable experience.

Bravo to the entire DATP team!!

I hear Lucerne – Episode 3

Tod’s third post on the I Hear Lucerne blog is up! He brings you inside his journey to explore the Swiss city of Lucerne. From his visit, several themes begin to emerge. Tod also describes an extraordinary workshop involving the people of Lucerne and three very different artists:

That same afternoon, we presented a workshop at the KKL to demonstrate howEine Sinfornie fûr Luzern is developing. I reminded the audience of the basic premise for the project, demonstrated the new Höre Luzern / Hear Lucernemobile app that makes it easy to record and share sounds from the city, and played some of my favorite sounds – from cows to yodels to ship horns to fountains – that have been contributed so far. Then we tried an experiment, to see if we could “translate” real sounds from the city into “music.” Since the Piano Festival was in session, I asked that we find three open-minded and creative pianists from different musical backgrounds to participate. We were extremely fortunate to be able to work with Anita Schaufelberger, Michael Mahnig, and Leo Tardin. They couldn’t have been more wonderful to work with. For each of them, I played one of three “sound dreamscapes” I had prepared based on a certain type of sonic material from Lucerne: Water, Bells and Voices respectively. After we – myself, the pianists and the assembled audience – listened to each of the ca. 1-minute collages, I asked one of the pianists to reinterpret the recorded sounds and to create the same sound and feel on the acoustic piano.

You can read the full blog post and watch workshop video footage here.