Check 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.
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.
In-depth, thoughtful interview about the SYMPHONY IN D project for Detroit, with Ann Delisi of WDET, Detroit’s NPR station. Ann covers the background and essentials for this collaborative city symphony. Listen here.
This clip just appeared on Brazilian TV (Cultura TV, São Paulo) about Tod Machover’s LUCERNE SYMPHONY project. They interviewed Tod a few weeks ago when he was at the LUCERNE FESTIVAL, and this has some nice footage and sound of what the team did (and are doing) over there. So check it out and practice your Portugese!!!
The current issue of the Juilliard Journal is devoted to “Technology and the Arts,” a bold, good move for this bastion of traditional classical music! The issue includes an interesting interview with Tod Machover. Tod discusses how he first became intrigued by computers when he was studying composition at Juilliard, how he arrived at IRCAM and the MIT Media Lab, and some of his ideas for the future of music.
Tod Machover (B.M. ’73, M.M. ’75, composition) is one of the world’s pre-eminent practitioners of and spokesmen for the intersections of music and technology. But the first time he wanted to learn to program a computer was soon after he arrived at Juilliard, to study with Elliott Carter (faculty 1966-84). “One of the reasons I was interested in studying with Carter was that I was really interested in complexity in my music,” says Machover, who recalls writing a string trio in which each instrument was slowing down or speeding up independent of the others. It was so complicated that he couldn’t convince anyone to play it, and “a sort of lightbulb went off,” he said, adding that he thought “computers are out there, and if you have an idea and can learn how to program, you should be able to model it.”
Sara Heaton as Miranda and Hal Cazalet (’96, voice/opera) as Nicholas—and robots—are seen in a 2011 Chicago Opera Theater performance of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers. It will be presented by the Dallas Opera this month. (Photo by Jonathan Williams)
Very interesting interview in Theater Jones with Keith Cerny, the innovative General Director and CEO of The Dallas Opera, about bringing DEATH AND THE POWERS there next month, including the interactive simulcast that will reach 10 other cities. In the interview, Cerny discusses the challenge new operas face in reaching broad audiences. He describes how the Dallas Opera’s Simulcast of its production of “Death and the Powers” will chart a new path through innovative technology developed at the M.I.T. Media Lab to engage audiences.
Will you be attending one of the Simulcasts? Let us know!