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.

New York Times features Opera of the Future

The M.I.T. Media Lab Opera of the Future group’s work is the subject of a full-page article by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in the August 16th issue of the New York Times. It’s an engagingly written piece that covers the history of Tod Machover’s work in music composition and technology, from hyperinstruments to “Death and the Powers” and ongoing experiments in interactive composition for orchestras. Accompanying the story is a terrific slide show of photographs by Katherine Taylor. Tod’s newest work, “Festival City”, premieres next week, on August 27th, at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Here’s the article: Duet for Composition and Software

Here’s the slide show.

Photo by Katherine Taylor

Photo by Katherine Taylor

“A Toronto Symphony” makes its debut

Saturday evening saw the successful debut of Tod Machover’s “A Toronto Symphony”, described aptly by conductor Peter Oundjian in this BBC News interview as “the most collaborative piece of music that has ever been written.” Nearly a year in the making, the new work was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony for its New Creations Festival. Scored for a full symphony orchestra, the half-hour-long piece involved thousands of citizens of Toronto who contributed acoustic samples, compositions, and manipulated parts of the work-in-progress using apps developed by the Opera of the Future group at the M.I.T. Media Lab.

You can see footage of some of the collaborative activities as well as hear parts of the world premiere performance in the BBC News video here: Tod Machover: composer’s social media symphony for Toronto.

Toronto Kids Score!

Several hundred school children in Toronto have been giving their Hyperscore programs a good workout, composing music about their city for composer Tod Machover’s collaborative “A Toronto Symphony” project.  Some of it may end up in the new work, to be premiered in March 2013 by the Toronto Symphony. Take a listen to some of the kids’ compositions here.


December Toronto Visit

Tod Machover visited Toronto last Friday to check in on the school kids who have been working on their musical contributions to the “A Toronto Symphony” project all fall. The visit is described in this terrific Musical Toronto post by John Terauds. Here are some cool photos and comments posted by Tod on his Facebook page. Click on images to enlarge.

Dan Ellsey and Tod Machover featured in new film

Dan Ellsey, a young man with cerebral palsy whose life was transformed when he learned to compose music using Hyperscore, is the subject of a new documentary film, Music is My Voice. Hyperscore was developed by the Opera of the Future group at the M.I.T. Media Lab and featured in this TED Talk by Tod Machover, with a live performance by Dan. The new film, directed by Jesse Roesler, is a semi-finalist in the Focus/Forward contest. Congratulations! Here’s the trailer and a chance to vote!