Our Philadelphia story in Playbill

Here’s an excellent essay on PHILADELPHIA VOICES and the City Symphony concept by Paul Horsley in The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Playbill magazine from March. Check it out on pages 6-12; well-written and interesting. You can read it here.


BBC radio documentary on “The Making of Philadelphia Voices”

Reporter Andrea Shea delves into the creation of Tod Machover’s newest symphonic work, “Philadelphia Voices.”

From the famous Mummers’ New Year’s Day Parade to the sizzling of celebrated cheesesteaks, acclaimed U.S composer and inventor Tod Machover has been collecting sounds for his latest piece ‘Philadelphia Voices,’ a composition inspired by the heritage, sights and sounds of Philadelphia, the city known as the birthplace of American democracy.

Then in his barn studio, next to his Boston home, he manipulates these hours and hours of recording, crafting them into the music and soundscape for the piece. We also have behind the scenes access as the composition receives its premiere performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra and local choirs.

Listen HERE.

Praise for “Philadelphia Voices” and Ben Bloomberg!

Music critic Bernard Jacobson in his review for Seen and Heard International writes that “Philadelphia Voices” “comes across as a creation open to the world and indeed drawing on an omnivorous variety of materials ranging from the literary, by way of quotations from our contemporaries, to evocations of visual, social, and traditional elements that vividly express the character of this one specific corner of the world. Continue reading

“Philadelphia Voices” Q&A

MIT composer Tod Machover, center-left, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, center-right, at the conclusion of Machover’s new symphony “Philadelphia Voices,” at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Thursday, April 6, 2018.
Image: Jessica Griffin/Philadelphia Orchestra

Tod Machover’s newest symphonic work, “Philadelphia Voices”, is both a sonic portrait of the city and a message from the city to the world, the composer explains in this Q&A interview with the MIT News Office. Machover discusses the germination of the piece, its evolution as he spoke to hundreds of Philadelphians, and how the music conveys ideas about individualism, freedom, conflict, and community.

There’s a moment where the conductor steps aside and lets the orchestra and the chorus follow these individual songs. And to me, it’s a feeling of democracy, in a messy city like Philadelphia which is wonderfully vibrant, but where not everybody is following the same tune, and not everybody is following the conductor. You feel the individuality of each of these choruses and of the individual singers, representing the kind of democracy — and the kind of listening to each other — that is most needed right now.

Read the interview here: Q&A: Composer Tod Machover presents “Philadelphia Voices”

BBC feature on “Philadelphia Voices”

Short but really well done radio piece on PHILADELPHIA VOICES on the BBC World Service, starting at 43:27 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w172w71npzrxglp). The BBC packs a huge amount of information into this short interview, with musical examples. And after the interview, the journalist and two guests continue to discuss what was said about the new piece, about city field recording and about Philadelphia. Definitely worth a listen!

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New York Times beguiled by “Cheese Steak solo”

If the Philadelphia Eagles can win the Super Bowl, why can’t Philly’s iconic cheese steak have its moment too? So seems to be the question driving New York Times reporter Michael Cooper as he shadowed Tod Machover, who was on a last-ditch quest to capture the perfect audio recording at Pat’s, one of the city’s premier purveyors of the delicacy. In this video, Machover shows how he manipulated the recording to bring out the juicy bits: Continue reading

A “Philadelphia Voices” choir rehearsal

Tod Machover was in Princeton on February 26th, 2018, to work with the Westminster Symphonic Choir, one of the three choirs that will be performing in the premiere of “Philadelphia Voices.” He posted on his Facebook page: “It was amazing to hear the melodies and harmonies of PHILADELPHIA VOICES come to life through the powerful, articulate and sensitive singing of these very talented musicians, conducted by the brilliant Joe Miller. I was also able to spend time with some of the creative and intelligent music students at Westminster Choir College, majoring in composition, conducting, music theory and education, and all other music-related fields–a much more extensive program than I had realized. What a great group of collaborators, and it is truly exciting to be working with them to prepare the premiere of this new piece.”