“Toy Symphony” gets a shout-out

Toy Symphony beat bugs, music shapers

Toy Symphony beat bugs, music shapers

What fun! WQXR (105.9FM in New York City) ran a piece on its blog today on “Top Five Musical Pieces for Toys” that includes Tod Machover’s “Toy Symphony”. The full hour-long program on John Schaefer’s New Sounds can be heard here.

Not to be confused with the previous work of the same name, Tod Machover’s Toy Symphony is both a composition and a project to introduce children. Machover, a professor at MIT, created electronic musical “toys” that children play as part of the works that were included in the project. Machover’s symphony, which also features children playing his electronic inventions, was the finale of the program. Toy Symphony toured throughout the world, making a stop at the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan in 2003.

• Hear Selections on WNYC’s New Sounds

Check out the Toy Symphony project website.

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NPR Classical reviews “Jeux Deux”

NPR’s classical music reviewer Tom Huizenga featured Tod Machover’s concerto for hyperpiano, “Jeux Deux” on the February 12th broadcast of Weekend Edition. Listen to the podcast to hear what Huizenga had to say, and catch a snippet from the recording. “Jeux Deux” is now available on Tod’s new CD “…but not simpler…”, at Bridge Records.

Towards the end of this Kickstarter video you can see “Jeux Deux” performed by pianist Michael Chertok and the Boston Pops under the baton of Keith Lockhart, at the world premiere.

Science Friday features Death and the Powers

NPR’s popular weekly program, Science Friday, this week put a spotlight on Death and the Powers. Composer Tod Machover talks about his desire to use technology to amplify rather than diminish the live human presence in musical performance. You can listen to the podcast here (click on the audio player in the upper left-hand corner).

High-Tech Opera Features Robots as Stars

Tod Machover and Diane Paulus at “On Point”

Tom Ashbrook, host of the radio talk show “On Point”, conducted a terrific interview today with Death and the Powers composer Tod Machover and director Diane Paulus. The conversation delved into whether today’s technology has transformed the age-old human desire to conquer death into a quest that seems plausible and possibly even attainable in the near future. Machover and Paulus spoke about how the opera’s story – a creation myth re-enacted by robots inhabiting a future in which there are no humans – provides a meditation on the most fundamental human questions. What is life? How is our spirit connected to our mortal bodies? How do we connect with one another? What remains of us when our bodies are gone?

Listen here for a fascinating hour!

From NPR Archives: An MIT Prof’s Toy Symphony Project

Here’s a terrific NPR story we just stumbled across, dating back to the Toy Symphony project: “MIT professor Tod Machover’s Toy Symphony project takes electronic instruments to cities in Europe and the United States, where local youngsters with no particular musical background compose their own tunes. One example: “Attack of the Headless Chickens.” Independent producer Jon Kalish reports.”