Performer’s Guide to “Another Life”

A one-stop shop for performing organizations interested in Tod Machover’s “Another Life,” a work for instrumental ensemble and electronics.

” This piece revisits some of the musical concerns of [Machover’s] own youth with the resources and experience of maturity; it is about personal expression, full of exuberance and regret, nostalgia and celebration.” – Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

LISTEN – Excerpts

To request the full audio please email

Another Life – Introduction

Another Life – Mid-section

THE SCORE: “Another Life” available for rental from Boosey & Hawkes


Scored for nine unamplified instruments plus live computer electronics. 1(=picc,afl).1(=corA).1(=bcl).0- electronics triggered from laptop. Contact for information regarding electronics.



“Another Life” received its premiere in March, 2006, by the Collage New Music ensemble at the Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA. Length – 15 minutes

The following is from the program notes for a performance by the Argento Ensemble, Cornell University, May 11, 2012.

Another Life was composed in 2006 for Collage New Music, and is scored for nine unamplified acoustic instruments plus live computer electronics. The title refers to reflecting on the passing of time, in my case thinking back on the intensive period I spent in France from 1978-1985. This time at IRCAM allowed me to confront musical ideas very different from my own – especially the timbral elegance of the “spectral school” and the “organic proliferation” ideas of Pierre Boulez – and gave me much to think about and absorb, and also helped me to find my own personal voice. Since that “voice” turned out to be not very French, I also realized that I had to return to the States – helping to launch the MIT Media Lab, where I still work – in order to best develop my music and ideas. In doing so, I turned my back on many of the experiments that I tried in Paris, and that period has come to feel like “another life” to me. But of course it isn’t, so in this piece I have tried to reconsider some of the ideas and feelings which I felt passionately about during my time in Paris, to explore the many conflicts I experienced trying to refine my personal vision in the midst of a fairly alien atmosphere, and to reexamine my musical roots which have been with me since childhood.

Another Life is in three movements played continuously without breaks. The first movement is quiet and delicate, juxtaposing contrasting musical elements that fuse into pulsating textures and timbres. The second movement is lyrical, with shards of melody passed from instrument to instrument surrounded by brief fragments of shared accompaniment. The final movement presents an attempt to force cohesion between the piece’s many diverse elements, exploding into a more gentle mood of acceptance – both of what was done in the past and in what might come next – with which the piece ends. Throughout, the electronics serve both to enhance the sonic specificity of, and difference between, each acoustic instrument, while paradoxically providing the context or “timbral sea” in which all elements swim, find their commonality, and merge into something richer than the sum of parts.

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