“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”

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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!

 

Philadelphia Voices @ National Constitution Center

Composer Tod Machover visits the National Constitution Center on Constitution Day, September 17, 2017, for his newest city symphony project, “Philadelphia Voices.” His objective: to collect sounds that capture the spirit of the place that gave birth to American democracy. Add your voice to the project by downloading the Philadelphia Voices app!

Download in the iTunes Store

Download in Google Play Store

 

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.

Composer in residence Lucerne

Reposted from the Lucerne Festival website

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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
Machover Re-Structures for Two Pianos and Live Electronics (world premiere)

29 August | Late Night 3
LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY Ensemble
Machover Hyperstring Trilogy

5 September | Symphony Concert 24
LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY Orchestra | Matthias Pintscher
Machover A Symphony for Lucerne (world premiere)

12 September | Young – Family Concert 2
LUCERNE FESTIVAL Young Performance
Machover Fensadense for Hyperinstruments and Interactive Electronics (world premiere)

12 September | Late Night 5
LUCERNE FESTIVAL Young Performance
Machover Fensadense for Hyperinstruments and Interactive Electronics

Further information can be found at www.sinfoniefürluzern.ch.