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”

Mark your calendars for “Philadelphia Voices”

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Tod Machover’s highly anticipated Philadelphia Voices will be presented this April in a series of performances at Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall. The latest of Machover’s City Symphonies projects, the new work is inspired by conversations, poetry, sound, and music contributed by thousands of Philadelphians contemplating the state of their city (before and after the Eagles’ Super Bowl epic win) and the meaning of democracy today in the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution. Philadelphia Voices was commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra and made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Performing alongside the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will be the Westminster Symphonic Choir, Sister Cities Girlchoir, and Commonwealth Youthchoirs.

Tickets are now on sale:

Project 305 premieres in Miami

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From Tod Machover’s Facebook:

“Project 305 premiered last night at the New World Symphony in Miami, and went really well. This was the first major CITY SYMPHONY that I mentored and guided, with major creative work done by videographer Jon David Kane and composer Ted Hearne. Miami came shining through (although the global warming/you’re-gonna-be-submerged-in-water theme was quite somber), as did the CITY SYMPHONY model, which clearly can scale and travel.”

For background, check out this Huffington Post article: Project 305 and The New World Symphony

Tonya Matthews speak about Symphony in D

Wonderful interview with Tonya Matthews – director of the Michigan Science Center, PhD in biology, and truly brilliant poet and performance artist – on the occasion of the PBS premiere of the Dennis Scholl/Marlin Johnson documentary on the SYMPHONY IN D project. Tonya speaks beautifully about her work and about describing Detroit in words and music. Read the full interview here: THIS FRIDAY at 8 PM | Symphony in D, A Symphony by Detroit for Detroit

Symphony in D, the words

Words made powerful contributions to the “Symphony in D.” Notably, the fourth movement featured texts spoken by a variety of people representing Detroit including two vivid and memorable poems by Marsha Music and Tonya Matthews. For background essays and information about the world premiere performance, view the program here.

Marsha Music. Photo by Asia Rapai.

Photo by Asia Rapai.

Memories and Dreams

From the mire and murky loam,
bottom black with dusky soil
The First People walked this land
heard the river’s rush and roar
near the water Savoyard
there in battles took a stand
made the fateful crimson flow
near the strait called Le D’etroit Continue reading