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.

“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”

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

Sounds and sights of the Mummers Parade

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From Tod Machover’s Facebook page:

Was in Philadelphia for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, to experience various Philadelphia Orchestra events (New Year’s Eve concert and New Year’s Day Open House) and the be present for all the Mummers famous New Year’s Day events, including the Parade (in totally freezing weather – I thought my body was going to meld with the metal viewing bleachers), the music and performance competitions, and the Fancy Brigade performances at the Convention Center. The Mummers are definitely an indispensable part of the Philly Picture, as I expected, and I will be weaving their story into PHILADELPHIA VOICES, now in the heat of composition/production. The rich sax-banjo-bass sound of the Mummers, plus the straightforward, non-ironic imagination of their lavish costumes and performances is something to behold – down-to-earth, exuberant, and strangely touching (which is not the press they often get). I was very glad to be there…although I am still waiting for sensation to come back into some of my fingers and toes!!!

Here’s a little video…of one of the groups at the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia…they were a sort of Boston Tea Party meets Philadelphia Revolution:) Conveys some of the spirit of being in the middle of this crazy celebration. You can get an extra sense of just how cold it was down there from this Philly TV report (https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/…/Mummers-Parade-Still-a-Go…). Quite an experience, and a great way to start off 2018!!!!!

A sneak peek at Philadelphia Voices

Hot off the laser printer, the first page of the choral/keyboard part for Philadelphia Voices! In case you’ve been wondering what Tod Machover has been doing, holed up in his barn for the past month… The new symphonic work for the Philadelphia Orchestra is scheduled to premier in early April (check out the event calendar). No pressure!

Check out the City Symphonies blog

Be sure to read–and subscribe to–the City Symphonies blog, which has been posting some captivating stories about the Philadelphia Voices project. Here’s an excerpt from the most recent post, Jam Session with Sister Cities Girlchoir:

I gave the girls a challenge of helping to create Philadelphia Voices by thinking of words and phrases that convey the essence of the city to each of them, and then making melodies or texts to express those feelings. They will all work on this on their own and in Saturday rehearsals, and then we’ll get back together in a few weeks to share results. I am sure that some of this material will end up in Philadelphia Voices; the Sister Cities Girlchoir will be among the several hundred voices on stage for the premiere performances in Philly and at Carnegie Hall. Exciting!