BBC’s Music Matters in Boston – April 23, 2011

Composer and M.I.T. professor Tod Machover takes listeners on a guided tour of music at the M.I.T. Media Lab on BBC Radio 3’s flagship classical music program, “Music Matters”. The program airs tomorrow (Saturday, April 23) and spotlights Boston. In addition to music at M.I.T. the program will feature two-time Grammy Award winning clarinettist Richard Stolzman, Boston’s acclaimed early music ensembles (Boston Camerata and Handel and Haydn Society) and El Sistema USA, modelled on Venezuela’s now legendary music education system.

Listen live on MUSIC MATTERS Saturday 23rd  April 2011, 12.15pm BBC Radio 3

Download the complete program on this week’s Music Matters podcast.

BBC World Service chats with Tod Machover

You can count on the BBC to produce great material, and this interview with Death and the Powers composer Tod Machover is no exception! The interviewer asks great questions. Are the operabots instruments or are they performers? How much is the pursuit of immortality a motivation for the composer? Is it about living forever through your work? The musical excerpts were well-chosen too. Take a listen!

BBC World Service – The Strand, March 15, 2011, episode

BBC News article – Is music going back to its roots?

Evvy and chandelier, in Death and the Powers. Photo by Jill Steinberg.

Death and the Powers was recently featured in a BBC News article entitled Is music going back to its roots?, the last of a five-part series exploring the intersection of technology and culture. In the article, Tod Machover discusses the coalescence of modern music and technology, the challenges auto-tune has brought to the new generation of recording artists, and how Death and the Powers brings a more acoustic, natural feel to the use of technology in an opera. In the article, Tod says:

“I think there’s a movement away from people being satisfied with the sound of technology – they want it to feel more 3D, acoustic, natural.”

It’s something he himself has moved towards with his current production, an opera called Death and the Powers.

While the cast includes a distinctly high-tech chorus of dancing robots, the centrepiece of Death and the Powers is an ethereal musical chandelier with vibrating, pulsating strings which he calls “sonic animatronics”.

“There’s a strong movement towards using technology to enhance the delicacy – something more refined, softer, physical,” he said of the creation.

You can check out the rest of the article here.

Note: Tod discusses the development in his Lab of the technologies behind Guitar Hero and Rock Band in this video clip from the Aspen Ideas Festival:

Alex Rigpulous and Eran Egozy – co-founders of Harmonix – worked on these underlying technologies while student’s in Tod’s group, and while contributing to such projects as the Sensor Chair and the Brain Opera (see http://vimeo.com/7900562 and http://opera.media.mit.edu/phantom.pdf).