Lefsetz Letter from Singapore

On his recent journey to Singapore, Tod met more than the usual quota of intriguing figures from the world of music and digital entertainment. One of them was Bob Lefsetz, an entertainment lawyer whose take-no-prisoners blog Lefsetz Letter is reputed to be the most widely read in the music industry. Described by Wired magazine as “a sort of digital-era pamphleteer,” Lefsetz blogs voluminously about the perfidy of the major labels, the ongoing revolution in digital music, and whatever industry executive, celebrity or artist happens to attract his ire or admiration. This fearsome gadfly joined Tod for dinner on the last night in Singapore and predictably, perhaps, Tod ended up in Lefsetz Letter the next day. Take a look to see what he had to say!

Read the full blog post: Lefsetz Letter – More Singapore

At one point or another, Bob Lefsetz has drawn the ire of major music figures. Illustration by Boneface, from Wired Magazine.


Terry Riley and Gamelan Galak Tika @MIT

Tod Machover posted on his Facebook page: “Composing legend Terry Riley finished a week-long residency at MIT by giving a concert on Thursday evening in collaboration with MIT’s gamelan ensemble. A wacky, wonderful California-infused twist on minimalism, with repeated figures (often in the left hand), delirious and quirky melodies, and soulful jabs from clarinet, processed guitar, or clanging gamelan. Loose, flowing and hallucinogenic – a little went a long way, but I was smiling through most of it and glad to be there.”

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New Machover piece to be premiered April 15

Noam Chomsky. Photo by John Soares.

For the past several months, Tod has been meeting with M.I.T. linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky to explore ideas for a new piece, centered particularly around the influence of music in Chomsky’s life and work. The project originated with David Harrington, violinist for the Kronos Quartet, who reached out to Chomsky after hearing him speak at Howard Zinn’s memorial, and has since evolved through a series of intensive conversations, emails and meetings. It has been an unusual collaboration between composer, performer and subject. Kronos will perform the piece at its world premiere on April 15 as part of the New Music Marathon concert. The concert also features Bang on a Can All-Stars and Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man, who team up with MIT’s own Gamelan Galak Tika and MIT Chamber Chorus. In addition to Machover’s Chomsky Suite, the concert will showcase compositions by MIT’s Evan Ziporyn, alum Christine Southworth, Bang on a Can’s David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe, as well as ambient music pioneer Brian Eno and minimalist gurus Terry Riley and Steve Reich. We’re intrigued and excited!

April 15, 2011 | Curated by Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor at MIT
7 PM–midnight Kresge Auditorium at MIT, 48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Tickets $30 general admission, $10 non-MIT students, FREE with MIT I.D.

50 years of music and technology at M.I.T.

Yesterday’s event, Music|Machines: Celebrating 50 Years of Music & Technology @ MIT, was a great success. The all-day program of talks, discussions and evening concert featured some giants of the past half-century of music and technology and attracted an overflow crowd to the M.I.T. Media Lab. The day-time talks were webcast live. Videos of those presentations will be posted shortly on the event web site. In the meantime, here are a few snaps taken with Blackberries and iPhones. High-definition photos have been posted at the FAST site!

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Tod Machover on NPR’s Morning Edition

Peter Gregson performs Spheres and Splinters at world premiere in Aldeburgh, UK. Images © Bruce Atherton/Jana Chiellino 2010

Tod Machover was interviewed today on NPR’s Morning Edition. Tod speaks with host Bob Oakes about Music|Machines, an all-day event that will be held tomorrow (February 5, 2011) at the M.I.T. Media Laboratory. The event features lectures and discussions by such electronic music pioneers and thinkers as Max Mathews, Barry Vercoe, Marvin Minsky, Joe Paradiso, Eran Egozy (of Harmonix/RockBand) and others. At the evening concert, audiences will have a chance to hear the U.S. premiere of Tod’s Spheres and Splinters, performed by Peter Gregson. The concert also features works by Barry Vercoe, Richard Boulanger, Robert Rowe, Keeril Makan, Peter Whincop, Evan Ziporyn and Mary Farbood. In the Morning Edition interview, you’ll hear some examples of early electronic music at M.I.T. and learn why these were important milestones in the evolution of music and technology.

Music|Machines is free and open to the public. It is one of the kick-off events for the FAST Festival, showcasing the creative fusion of arts, science and technology at M.I.T. Directed by Tod Machover, the festival is part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 150th anniversary celebration.

MIT 150th Anniversary Festival of Art, Science and Technology


Windscreen by Meejin Yoon

Tod Machover emailed us this morning to announce that M.I.T.’s Festival of Art, Science and Technology (FAST) is kicking off next week. The three-month festival s part of the Institute’s 150th anniversary celebration and “will highlight MIT’s legacy of creative experimentation in fields such as music technology, interactive media and architectural installation, and will showcase current projects at the nexus of art, science and technology.” Tod is Director of FAST. We’re not quite sure how he managed to organize this while simultaneously mounting the premiere of Death and the Powers…maybe there are some Todbots we don’t know about.


Read more here.