Listen: World Premiere of Tod Machover’s ‘Symphony for Lucerne’

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 10.05.06 AMTod Machover’s SYMPHONY FOR LUCERNE was aired 10 days ago on WQXR radio in New York. You can hear it here (and also hear how very different it is from SYMPHONY IN D for Detroit), as well as listen to an excellent interview with Jeff Spurgeon where he and Tod discuss Lucerne, its symphony, alpenhorns, cowbells, Fasnacht and more.

On Michigan Radio: How to create a symphony of Detroit

Composer Tod Machover works with a Detroit Symphony Orchestra percussionist on what the beat of Detroit sounds like. CREDIT EMILY FOX / MICHIGAN RADIO

Composer Tod Machover works with a Detroit Symphony Orchestra percussionist on what the beat of Detroit sounds like.

Michigan Radio’s Emily Fox chats with Tod Machover about the “Symphony in D” project. You can listen here to How to create a symphony of Detroit

In the interview, Tod explains how he is working with people from all over Detroit to convey the story of the city’s vibrant history and diverse communities through sound, which he will transform into an orchestral piece. One of our favorite quotes:

Machover says another part of this project is to send the message that classical music isn’t just something that only a few special people can make.

“I think classical music is one of the domains where we’re most scared or intimidated about participating because the level of expertise is so high and of course there are certain things you can do in classical music that you can only do if you devote yourself to it for 20 years, but it would be such a more vital field if everybody was touching it somehow,” he says.

That point is getting across to the students. 13-year-old Emiilah Shuler and 11-year-old Samuel Pickens felt inspired after composing their mini Symphony in D.

“I think it gives us a chance to believe that we can do that one day, when we are all grown up, anything is possible,” says Shuler.

Pickens adds, “I’m glad to be helping my hometown make a symphony and I feel proud.”

MIT students interview Tod Machover

Two MIT undergrads, Chantine Akiyama and Sue Liang, did this interview with Tod Machover about his SYMPHONY IN D project. It’s fun and refreshing, and conveys their perspective on the project. Tod speaks about the main goals for the project. They include:

First, the music that emerges as the Symphony must be a piece that can stand on its own. It must be an emotional human statement about a place, and a specific one: Detroit.

Second, the Symphony is a research goal. The creation of this symphony is a great way to develop models where all different people of different cultures can come together and care about each other and contribute something. Every individual deserves to be represented and given a voice, and art is fantastic because you can create a model of how you want society to be. Through this project we can create spaces for collaboration and compassion..

Read the full interview here.

Interview: “Model D”


Tod Machover writes:

Great new interview about the SYMPHONY IN D project for Detroit, by Walter Wasacz in “Model D.” Walter says I am “friendly, down to earth, even” – gee, I HOPE so:) – and I’m thrilled that my dear friend and brilliant musician/writer Wesley Strick also got mentioned in the article; his name came up because Walter had written for Creem Magazine which started in Detroit; that was one of Wes’ first writing gigs (although from Manhattan), although he is now better know as one of Hollywood’s most prominent screenwriters. Anyway, this interview captures much of the spirit of the Detroit project; will be back there next week to meet more people, hear more sounds, AND attend the Detroit Tigers’ Opening Day game…..binaural microphones in hand (or in-ear, to be precise!).

Read the full article here.

WGBH Open Studio interview

Interesting interview on WGBH TV’s “Open Studio” about the VOCAL VIBRATIONS project, including footage from the Cambridge, Massachusetts, installation open through March 21. The interview is from 6:00-14:40 at, followed by a cool chat with Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues who happens to be a friend, a really lovely guy, and is still touring after all these years!!

Download Vocal Vibrations music here.


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.

Xploration Earth segment features Opera of the Future

Fun TV segment about the Opera of the Future group’s work on FOX TV’s “Exploration Earth 2050”, which aired this past Saturday and is now available on Hulu. The second half of the show – starting at ca. 10:00 – is about DEATH AND THE POWERS, the new Sensor Chair, and other music, technology, and “experience” projects we are working on.

Watch the full episode here.

Xploration Earth Fox TV