“Vocal Vibrations” music online

The VOCAL VIBRATIONS project opened at the new Le Laboratoire Cambridge on Thursday and runs through March; more on that shortly. In the meantime, the news is that you can download the music for the project exclusively from Bowers+Wilkins, in both MP3 and hi-res-quality (including surround sound), starting TODAY. Download here.

VocalVibrationsPromoPhoto

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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!

Vocal Vibrations (Video)

The spectacular Blue Heron vocal ensemble performing in the MIT Chapel.

Post by Elly Jessop and Rebecca Kleinberger

As part of the Dalai Lama’s visit to MIT, the Opera of the Future Group performed an experiment in collaboration with the vocal ensemble Blue Heron, Affectiva, Elliott Hedman, and Tenzin Priyadarshi, director of the Dalai Lama Center at MIT.  During Blue Heron’s stunning performance of early choral music on Monday, we used Affectiva’s Q Sensors to track and measure the reactions of selected singers and audience members over the course of the concert.   The wireless Q Sensors, worn on the wrists or palms, measure the wearer’s skin conductance, which increases during emotional states such as anticipation, excitement, surprise, or anxiety.  Through the information provided by these sensors, we can examine the similarities and differences in the affective reactions of various singers and audience members.

Tod and Elliott presented some of the affective stories of a few performers and audience members stories on Tuesday at the beginning of the Dalai Lama’s final talk at MIT.   Continue reading

Opera of the Future Meets the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama visited M.I.T. earlier this week to give a series of talks hosted by the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values. The Opera of the Future group in collaboration with Tenzin Priyadarshi, MIT’s Buddhist Chaplain and Director of the Dalai Lama Center at MIT, and the Blue Heron vocal ensemble, produced a fascinating experiment in the M.I.T. Chapel. Here are a few fun photos providing a glimpse. We’ll be posting more about this later.

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LOFT Interview with Tod Machover

The current issue of the Swedish design journal LOFT carries a lavishly illustrated interview with composer Tod Machover. The interview focuses on the creative process and covers a lot of ground, from early childhood experiences with music to the ongoing project to compose a Concerto for Composer and City that calls upon the residents of Toronto to participate actively.

The other thing which I always tell my students, because I have learned this myself from experience, is that a good teacher does not necessarily provide you with a single strategy or approach to solving problems creatively. Probably the best composition teacher I ever had – the one whose thoughts still resonate in my own mind fairly frequently – is the one who had the least methodology or underlying theory to his commentary. In fact, I had to learn how to ask him questions to understand the connecting theories behind his reactions. But he also told me to look with a fresh eye and ear at each new problem, and to have multiple strategies at hand to address any situation that came up. It is this flexibility and repertoire of complementary techniques that allows us to find the most fruitful path, to steer around ruts, and to proceed whenever we do get stuck. In this way, each of us needs to develop a very good intuition about what methodology is going to work for you, right now – this year, this week, this day, this hour.

Any guesses as to who that teacher was?

View the full article “A dialog with composer Tod Machover” (pdf)