Images and music excerpts from the Paris premiere of “Vocal Vibrations,” by Tod Machover and Neri Oxman.
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
A pleasant surprise arrived in the mail this week: Opera News in its May 2014 issue gives the Dallas Opera’s production of Tod Machover’s “Death and the Powers” a glowing review. Writer Andrew Sigler praises the opera as “a big work with big ideas,” and notes that “Machover brings to bear his considerable technical prowess in the world of technology, as well as his deep sense of musical history,” to explore the premise of human consciousness merging with computer hardware.
Sigler writes that Robert Orth, in the role of Simon Powers, “embodied the character perfectly,” and praises Patricia Risley’s for giving a “smoky and sensual” performance and “real depth” to Evvy, Simon’s third and favorite wife. In the thrilling final scene, “Machover shows his operatic chops and Joélle Harvey’s Miranda all but steals the show.”
Read the full review here.
This video from the talk Tod Machover gave at INK (Kochi, India) last fall was just posted online. Overview of a variety of recent projects including “city symphonies”, and a discussion of doing something similar in India. Check out their post here.
From Tod Machover’s Facebook page (posted March 27, 2014)
“Here’s a picture from yesterday of my terrific team from the MIT Media Lab that has been working on the VOCAL VIBRATIONS project, showing the specially designed “oRb” that lets you hold the vibrations from your voice in your hands. Yes, it’s an unusual experience! Press conference this morning, private opening this evening, and public opening tomorrow, all at Le Laboratoire, Paris.”
The “oRb” from our VOCAL VIBRATIONS project that lets you hold the vibrations from your voice right in your hands.
The Opera of the Future team and Neri Oxman are fine tuning the VOCAL VIBRATIONS experience at Le Laboratoire in Paris for tomorrow’s private opening, with public opening on Friday…..and it is starting to look and sound great. It will be there through September 2014, so we hope you have a chance to hear/see it. Information here.
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.”