Saturday evening saw the successful debut of Tod Machover’s “A Toronto Symphony”, described aptly by conductor Peter Oundjian in this BBC News interview as “the most collaborative piece of music that has ever been written.” Nearly a year in the making, the new work was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony for its New Creations Festival. Scored for a full symphony orchestra, the half-hour-long piece involved thousands of citizens of Toronto who contributed acoustic samples, compositions, and manipulated parts of the work-in-progress using apps developed by the Opera of the Future group at the M.I.T. Media Lab.
You can see footage of some of the collaborative activities as well as hear parts of the world premiere performance in the BBC News video here: Tod Machover: composer’s social media symphony for Toronto.
Several hundred school children in Toronto have been giving their Hyperscore programs a good workout, composing music about their city for composer Tod Machover’s collaborative “A Toronto Symphony” project. Some of it may end up in the new work, to be premiered in March 2013 by the Toronto Symphony. Take a listen to some of the kids’ compositions here.
Dan Ellsey, a young man with cerebral palsy whose life was transformed when he learned to compose music using Hyperscore, is the subject of a new documentary film, Music is My Voice. Hyperscore was developed by the Opera of the Future group at the M.I.T. Media Lab and featured in this TED Talk by Tod Machover, with a live performance by Dan. The new film, directed by Jesse Roesler, is a semi-finalist in the Focus/Forward contest. Congratulations! Here’s the trailer and a chance to vote!
“I can play [the Hyperviolin] and it will sound like a flute or a human voice, yet using the technique of the violin that I have learnt. The possibilities are limitless…And the kids respond to it because it is current. Their imaginations are stimulated, they’re having fun, and they know they are part of something special. That excites me a lot.”
- Joshua Bell, violin virtuoso and “hyperviolinist”
From the Toy Symphony project homepage
On April 9, 2002, Toy Symphony received its World Premiere in Dublin with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by Gerhard Markson with guest Hyperviolin soloist Joshua Bell. In the weeks leading up to the concert, Tod Machover’s Media Lab team conducted workshops for the public. In this video, children and adults try out various digital toys and Hyperscore software. Watch:
One of the core ideas in Hyperscore, the composing software developed by Tod Machover’s team at the M.I.T. Media Lab, is that music is built from “motifs” – small melodies and rhythm patterns – which are assembled into larger musical structures. In this video, Tod coaches a groups of children in Armenia and the U.S. as they work together to create a new piece of music. The kids created a variety of motifs, humming them or wielding the mouse to draw them in Hyperscore. Here we see them start to construct a composition which eventually will be performed by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra at a gala celebration. (For more information, read From the U.S. to Armenia, Kids Build a Musical Bridge.)
WBUR (90.9FM) launched its “Visionaries” series today with a feature about Tod Machover. The program airs one more time today, at 5:50PM EST, and should be available later on as a podcast. The transcript of the story is available online, together with this new video showing some of the projects at the MIT Media Lab’s Opera of the Future group. Don’t miss the wonderful footage of Dan Ellsey, a 37-year-old man with cerebral palsy, whose inner composer was set free by Hyperscore software. Watch the unfettered joy on his face as he listens to a song he composed.
TOD MACHOVER: ‘…but not simpler…’ & other works – Bridge Records - by Daniel Coombs
“…I knew just enough about the work of Tod Machover to have a generally positive opinion and to think that I knew his “style” with its heavy reliance on electronics (as one writer declared him to be “America’s most wired composer.”) However, I am grateful for hearing this album and learning more about the very complex but fascinating nature of his work. This is still heady stuff. I suspect that the uninitiated listener might enjoy Sparkler or Jeux Deux. The string quartets may require a few listenings. I recommend this – and any of Tod Machover’s music – to anyone wanting to expand their horizons a bit and try something new; just not simpler.”
Read the entire review.
Cambridge, MA and Yerevan, Armenia. The opulent Armenian Opera Theater in the heart of Armenia’s capital Yerevan will reverberate with some truly fresh sounds on the evening of February 25, 2012, as two of Armenia’s elite musical ensembles dig into new pieces composed entirely by children from Armenia and the United States. The concert, “A-to-A: A World in Harmony,”features the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and DOGMA, one of the country’s most popular rock bands. The event is co-sponsored by the LUYS Education Foundation and the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan to celebrate the embassy’s 20th anniversary.
The concert will be viewable via a live web link athttp://www.luys.am/livestream on February 25 at 10:30 AM U.S. Eastern Standard Time. It will also be broadcast over Armenian Public TV H1 around the world.
Despite the composers’ youth – they range in age from 8 to 14 – their work is rich and rewarding to hear, thanks to the boost their musical imaginations received from Hyperscore, a music-creation software developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab by a team led by renowned composer Tod Machover. Hyperscore puts unprecedented composing power into the hands of people who long to express themselves musically, regardless of their formal training. Continue reading
Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall
Join us for the world premiere of Hyperscore compositions co-created by children in the U.S. and Armenia. The pieces will be performed by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and DOGMA, Armenia’s most popular rock band. The event will be streamed live from the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall in Yerevan, Armenia. We heard a few excerpts of the new pieces and they blew our minds! Don’t miss this.
Where: MIT Media Laboratory, 6th Floor Lecture Hall, 75 Amherst St., Cambridge MA
When: Saturday, February 25, 2011. From 10:30 AM EST
You can also watch the live stream from home.
Read our previous post about how the compositions were created.