Deutsche Welle on Lucerne Festival (Video)

Excellent TV piece on the LUCERNE FESTIVAL by Deutsche Welle, Germany’s equivalent of the BBC World Service. A segment on the SYMPHONY FOR LUCERNE project starts at 3:40. Check it out – and practice your German – at http://www.dw.de/take-five-folge-4-lucerne-festival/av-17890526

LucerneTVScreenshot

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Pictures from Lucerne

Tod Machover is in Lucerne, Switzerland, for ten days to begin work on “A Symphony for Lucerne.” He’s running around meeting many different groups in the city, auditioning musicians and recording the “sounds of Lucerne.” There was a nice notice in the New York Times about Tod’s residency for the 2015 Lucerne Festival.

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A Symphony for Perth

Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Sea: A Symphony for Perth was composed from October 2013 to February 2014 for Carolyn Kuan and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, on commission from the Perth International Arts Festival. The 25-minute work is a musical, sonic portrait of Perth and surrounding areas, and was created in collaboration with people from Perth of all ages and backgrounds (based on a creative model I developed for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Edinburgh International Festival, both in 2013, designed to cultivate careful listening to the world around us to discover its hidden music).

Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Sea is a four movement work, played without a break, which conveys Perth’s dramatic geography, the simultaneous complexity and calm I have found there, and the enormous sense of potential and ‘unanswered questions’ that the city and region suggest. You can read more about the ideas behind the piece here and watch a brief trailer for A Symphony for Perth below:

I have travelled rather widely over the years, but I had never been to Perth (nor the rest of Australia) when Continue reading

Perth premiere

Updated March 8, 2014

Tod Machover’s newest collaborative symphony received its world premiere last Saturday evening at the finale of the 2014 Perth International Festival. Tod writes on his Facebook wall: “Symphony for Perth premiere went just great: large crowd with lots of young people, brilliant conducting by Carolyn Kuan, wonderful performance by WASO, lovely visuals by Peter Torpey of the MIT Media Lab, and a super-warm reception from the audience.”

CutCommon, a blog for “the new generation of classical music,” offers this insightful review. We love this quote: “Machover bring an outsider’s perspective to Perth, and as such is able to highlight the elements of our soundscape that excite him as a visitor. Machover’s vision is crafted with enough care and consideration that it rises above the superficial. Sounds are chosen not just for their meaning but also for their sonic and musical properties. In one glorious section of the first movement, a recording of speech delivered in the distinctive ‘softened ocker’ accent of West Australia blends beautifully with Machover’s orchestral composition, so that only the sharper, ‘bluer’ words gravitate to the audience’s attention. It is this wonderful division of sonic importance that defines the symphony.”

Here’s another interesting review: Western Australian: Composer distils unanswered questions: “It succeeds because Machover is not only an imaginative composer; he is also an empathic collaborator and dreamer who is able to perceive that the process, in the growth of a city as much as the growth of an individual, is as important as the end result.”

All set for Perth premiere

Hyperscore composers with Tod Machover on the stage of the Perth Concert Hall

Hyperscore composers with Tod Machover on the stage of the Perth Concert Hall

The Western Australia Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Carolyn Kuan was hard at work this morning polishing up Tod Machover’s brand-new “Symphony for Perth,” which premieres tonight at the finale of the 2014 Perth Festival. The much-anticipated work was featured in an extensive article published in today’s The Australian:

The ears of an outsider, particularly ones as attuned as Machover’s, can yield new interpretations of the familiar. One of the things that impressed him about Perth was a musical culture that was open to possibilities. “Perth is an interesting city where different groups of people intersect: an indie musician, an Aboriginal musician, a young person discovering music for the first time, someone playing the violin … There are so few preconceptions about the way things have to fit together.’’…

“I think that the ability to listen to the world, to hear the beauty, complexity and subtlety of what is already around us, will make each of our lives richer,’’ Machover says. “It is the way we can connect our imaginations with the outside world and communicate our deepest desires and dreams with others. I am trying to make a step in this direction with the process and the result of projects like a Symphony for Perth.’’

Read the full article: Tod Machover’s symphony for Perth pits man versus machine

Check out these fun Perth sounds!

Photo by Tanya Voltchanskaya

Photo by Tanya Voltchanskaya

There is a fun piece in The Guardian today about Tod’s upcoming symphony orchestra piece for Perth:  Flies, crows and crashing waves: the sounds that define Perth:

Tod Machover is creating a symphony for Perth. Or, more precisely, a symphony with Perth. Between a Desert and the Deep Blue Sea, which will premiere on March 1, will be created from sounds recorded by Machover and Perth residents in and around the city, in the same manner as city-made symphonies in Edinburgh and Toronto. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and his band of researchers have been collecting sounds and encouraging citizens to manipulate them via special apps, in preparation for a performance with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra. It’s truly collaborative music – and hugely exciting.

Check out the full article for the audio and evocative photography by Tanya Voltchanskaya.

And here is more coverage of the Perth Festival.

Perth symphony in The Limelight

Tod Machover explains the ideas behind his series of collaborative “city symphonies” in this article he penned for the classical music publication The Limelight:

I have embarked on a series of “city symphonies” with the idea of creating musical portraits of places, inviting the collaboration of the people who live there. Toronto (Toronto Symphony Orchestra) and Edinburgh (Edinburgh International Festival and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra) were the first two places – both works premiered in 2013 – and Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Sea: A Symphony for Perth (commissioned by the Perth International Arts Festival) is the third.

Building on concepts and techniques developed for the first two projects, I started my Perth investigations in September 2013, first by reading about the city and surroundings and discussing concepts with my colleagues at the Perth Festival, then by visiting in person. While in Perth for two weeks, I explored the city extensively (binaural recorder in hand), met people from all walks of life, listened to – and improvised with – a diverse range of musicians (from indie rockers to classical instrumentalists to laptop improvisors to didgeridoo masters and more), and supervised workshops throughout the greater Perth area with students from elementary to high school using our Hyperscore graphical composition software.

The new work, “Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Sea,” premieres at the Perth Festival on March 1, 2014.