Miami “city symphony” announced

Composer Tod Machover’s ground-breaking “city symphony” projects, which involve entire urban communities in collaborating to create sonic portraits of their cities, is making its next stop in Miami. Machover has created city symphonies in Toronto, Edinburgh, Perth, Lucerne, and Detroit, but he encourages other artists to take hold of the idea and spread it to more communities. With support from the Knight Foundation, the first such project took place earlier this year in Akron, Ohio. In Miami, Machover will oversee Project 305, which will be shaped by composer Ted Hearne and filmmaker Jonathan David Kane for the New World Symphony. (View Project 305 trailer above.) Continue reading

Listen up! Great recording of Symphony in D (video)

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….

2016 Musical America honorees from left: Mark Padmore, Jennifer Koh, Gil Rose, Tod Machover and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

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.

BBC interview on Symphony in D


Here’s a 5-minute audio clip just released from the BBC World Service that presents the highlights from the full 12-minute interview about SYMPHONY IN D – recently premiered with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra – that was broadcast last weekend. Good way to hear a discussion about (and sounds from) the project without scrolling through a full BBC program…just click and listen here!

Listen: World Premiere of Tod Machover’s ‘Symphony for Lucerne’

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 10.05.06 AMTod Machover’s SYMPHONY FOR LUCERNE was aired 10 days ago on WQXR radio in New York. You can hear it here (and also hear how very different it is from SYMPHONY IN D for Detroit), as well as listen to an excellent interview with Jeff Spurgeon where he and Tod discuss Lucerne, its symphony, alpenhorns, cowbells, Fasnacht and more.

Detroit Free Press on “Symphony in D”


Terrific article in today’s Detroit Free Press by Mark Stryker. On his Facebook page, Tod Machover comments: “Stryker paints the background for the project beautifully, and describes the paradoxical nature of this “ephemeral” work – that tries to capture this moment in Detroit’s history with a not-likely-to-repeat cast of characters – with the simultaneous goal of leaving something lasting and significant. We sure are trying to do both.”

Our favorite quote from the article:

“He had such an inclusive view of  the story he wanted to tell about Detroit,” said Marsha Music, a longtime writer on African-American music and culture in Detroit and a 2012 Kresge Fellow. She’ll be reading a poem during the symphony’s fourth movement, “Memories and Dreams.”

“Right off the bat, he wanted to include voices that had  historically not been heard, particularly in a classical milieu. I was so impressed with his desire to capture so many of the archive sounds of the city, this important ephemera, and merge them into a musical form. He had a true curiosity. He never gave off the feeling, ‘Oh, I got Detroit under my belt.’ “

Read the full article here.

Buy tickets to the DSO’s world premiere here.

NY Times on Machover’s Detroit project

The composer Tod Machover with students at YouthVille in Detroit. They will take part in his “Symphony in D,” a “city symphony” that will have its premiere with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Credit Laura McDermott for The New York Times

The composer Tod Machover with students at YouthVille in Detroit. They will take part in his “Symphony in D,” a “city symphony” that will have its premiere with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Credit Laura McDermott for The New York Times

New York Times reporter Zachary Woolfe shadowed Tod Machover on a recent visit to Detroit and published his story in today’s paper:  Detroit Symphony Tackles an Adventurous Premiere.

The story does an excellent job of depicting the arduous process of building relationships with diverse communities within the city and developing collaborations that will be integrated into the final work, which premieres later this month, on November 21.

Review: Death and the Powers DVD

DATP_DVDCoverOpera News critic David J. Baker found much to praise in the DVD of the Dallas Opera’s simulcast production of Death and the Powers, which he named a “Critic’s Choice” selection:

…Machover’s range is impressive, starting with the beeps and blips of Nicholas’s manic gadgetry, which inspire antic brilliance from tenor Hal Cazalet. Evvy’s operatically intense interactions with her disembodied husband (both a mad scene and a sex scene) are a marvel of glamour and poignancy thanks to mezzo Patricia Risley. There’s also a beautifully textured duet between the two women. The climax of the work is the confrontation between father and daughter, as Miranda rejects the “system,” in a lyrical, incandescent aria of humanistic defiance (not without echoes of Samuel Barber). Soprano Joëlle Harvey is a revelation here, deploying a superbly focused timbre with ideal dramatic immediacy.

This Dallas Opera production has the precision and commitment of a Houston space mission, marking advances over the original 2010 staging in Monte Carlo. Like the best parts of the music, the pliant, mobile sets (by Alex McDowell) and stage direction can be spellbinding. The filming is so fluid and multidirectional that you forget it’s confined to a theater stage. The camera lens occasionally distorts to maximize dramatic alienation, twisting faces and tinting whole scenes an eerie blue. Conductor Nicole Paiement maintains admirable balance, proving herself, like Machover, a techie with heart.

Holiday shopping anyone? Head over to CD Baby.

Read the full review: Machover: Death and the Powers