For your listening pleasure, here’s an excellent version of the “Symphony in D” recording. And here’s a new press release just out about the symphony and Tod Machover’s “Composer of the Year” award.
“Imagination is the strongest tool we have. The reason that we make music is of course to reach our audiences, but also to change the world, and nothing less than that is worth doing.” -Tod Machover
Symphony in D, the symphony written for and by the people of Detroit, premiered November 20 and 21 by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and was lauded by the press for its uniqueness of sound and for bringing vast numbers of people from all different communities together through music and technology. Anticipated by nearly every local publication and a great many nationally and internationally, the “love letter to Detroit” (Hyperallergic) was commissioned by the DSO and conducted by Leonard Slatkin, resulting in “big, amassing smorgasbords that invariably proved exhilarating” (Musical America) and “made Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand look like a chamber piece” (Classical Voice North America). Read articles from TheNew York Times,BBC World Service,Associated Press, USA Today, andMusical America….
Musical America 2015 honorees from left: Mark Padmore, Jennifer Koh, Gil Rose, Tod Machover and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Named 2016 Composer of the Year by Musical America, Tod Machover has captivated audiences worldwide with innovative musical technologies of his own invention and brilliant, passionate scores. Machover, alongside the other outstanding Musical America awardees, was honored at a ceremony at Carnegie Hall on December 8. Mark Swed, music critic at the Los Angeles Times, describes Machover as “the true futurist,” his work as “a vast network of musical neurons enthusiastically making connections between musical traditions, past and present, not normally joined,” in his feature article written for Musical America.
Contemporary music: something meant only for the “happy few”? Tod Machover provides evidence to the contrary. In his Symphony for Lucerne, which will be premiered by the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY Orchestra, he has created a sonic portrait of the city from the sounds and noises of Lucerne – while closely collaborating with its residents in the composition process. This American composer has also broken new ground in the field of music and technology as evidenced by his research at the MIT Media Laboratory in Boston. He has developed a novel composition program that allows children and young people in Lucerne to write their own pieces under his guidance. Machover also experiments with electronically enhanced “hyperinstruments” in works such as Hyperstring Trilogyand Fensadense, his new composition for LUCERNE FESTIVAL Young Performance, which is the Festival’s special workshop devoted to the concert forms of tomorrow.
23 August | Tribute to Boulez 6 MachoverRe-Structures for Two Pianos and Live Electronics (world premiere)
29 August | Late Night 3
LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY Ensemble MachoverHyperstring Trilogy
5 September | Symphony Concert 24
LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY Orchestra | Matthias Pintscher MachoverA Symphony for Lucerne (world premiere)
12 September | Young – Family Concert 2
LUCERNE FESTIVAL Young Performance MachoverFensadense for Hyperinstruments and Interactive Electronics (world premiere)
12 September | Late Night 5
LUCERNE FESTIVAL Young Performance MachoverFensadense for Hyperinstruments and Interactive Electronics
Interesting interview on WGBH TV’s “Open Studio” about the VOCAL VIBRATIONS project, including footage from the Cambridge, Massachusetts, installation open through March 21. The interview is from 6:00-14:40 at http://tinyurl.com/OpenStudioTod, followed by a cool chat with Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues who happens to be a friend, a really lovely guy, and is still touring after all these years!!
Check out this terrific interview Barbara Seisel did with Tod Machover about his recently premiered flute concerto, “Breathless.” The article, temporarily available online to nonsubscribers, provides an in-depth look at how the piece was created. Tod talks about how he collaborated with flutist Carol Wincenc, and how he thought about using electronics, how the three-movement work is constructed, and more. Here’s a gem:
In writing the piece I thought a lot about meeting Carol at 16 and trying to reconcile classical, electronic and rock music influences and also remembering back to high school. It’s one of the big moments of your life – you’re going to leave home and go out and make a life for yourself. It’s extremely anxiety producing for many people. I know for me, I felt that everything was possible, that everything I love should be able to find a place in what my life becomes. I really believed that at 16! When I was putting Breathless together it all of sudden struck me that my younger daughter is now exactly the same age as I was when was when I was at Aspen. I’m seeing this feeling again though her eyes now, as she is planning college, how she’s going to pull together all the things that she cares about and that connection in time was really powerful for me. So I think this idea of looking back and remembering how this precious friendship started and what the world felt like then and seeing it again through my daughter is very meaningful.
Spent some wonderful time yesterday in Perth with Richard Walley, one of Australia’s most distinguished artists and musicians. He is a member of the Nyoongar people, and he filled in many gaps in my knowledge of the history of indigenous people in Australia, from ancient times through the recent past. I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much in such a short time; tough stuff too, although Richard is an absolute prince. Great didgeridoo player as well. Richard is bringing his four sons along tomorrow so I can hear and record a “didgeridoo chorus” and really learn about the instrument. The Perth Festival found me a cello as well, so we’ll have a didge-cello-fest! I think that the two instruments complement each other in really interesting ways…although perhaps not with THIS cellist:)
On November 6, 2013
Here’s a picture from this evening’s jam with Richard Walley. His four sons came to play with us as well, but it was dark when they arrived at the Perth Festival office, so they thought no one was home and left. Oh well. But Richard and I had a grand old time, and the didgeridoo and the cello complement each other very well. Who knew?!? One more day in Perth, and then LOTS of thinking about how to integrate all of these incredible experiences and sounds into the Perth Symphony! http://corporate.perthfestival.com.au/About/Between-the-Desert-and-the-Deep-Blue-Sea
On November 7, 2013
The Perth Festival 2014 just had its big launch, and it was quite an extravaganza. Took place in the Perth Concert Hall, which was completely full. Festival Director Jonathan Holloway went through the whole impressive program, including my new piece (http://perth.media.mit.edu/). I fly home to Boston tomorrow – finally! – but look forward to being back in Perth in late February for rehearsals and premiere of the Perth Symphony.
On November 8, 2013
Well, the 2014 Perth Festival was launched last evening, and so was my new Perth Symphony (http://tinyurl.com/TodPerthWA). I did much of the groundwork over these past two weeks, listening to the city and to its natural surroundings, meeting musicians of all ages and backgrounds, and working with students from 4th grade through grad school. The work premieres to close the Festival on March 1, so it will be busy busy busy between now and then. Just got home from Perth after what seemed like 200 hours of flying…so first some sleep!
Here’s an insightful article about Tod Machover in the October issue of Opera News. Written by Philip Kennicott, Pulitzer prize-winning critic for the Washington Post, the article delves into the evolution of the music and gets to the heart of what the operas are about. Refreshing!
Some great quotes:
“…Machover, voluble and friendly in person, confounds expectations. Valis, based on a science-fiction novel by Philip K. Dick and dubbed “the first opera of the twenty-first century,” now sounds anything but scary, and his last three operas, Resurrection, Skellig and Death and the Powers, have rare emotional depth. Machover, now a fully mature composer, is unafraid of harnessing the old-fashioned powers of opera, unafraid of sentimentality, unafraid of C major.”
Check out this wonderful interview with David Almond on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs series. David discusses children’s literature and the music he’d want if he were a castaway. Thirty minutes into the interview he talks about the opera version of Skellig, on which he collaborated with composer Tod Machover. Here’s what BBC program says about David:
Most of his work is for children but the adults who populate the juries of heavyweight literary prizes really like it too. The accolades began with his first novel Skellig published in 1998 when he was 47; it won the mighty “Whitbread Children’s” award and then many others besides.
Ever since, he’s been acclaimed for his ability to craft complex, philosophical narratives with strikingly down to earth characterisations.