Prague Quadrennial coverage

Lighting and Sound magazine has published its report on the Prague Quadrennial conference (from page 110). The event held in June 2011 is one of the world’s foremost gatherings of theater lighting and sound professionals. Starting on page 113, the article summarizes Tod Machover’s talk, which focused on how technologies such as Hyperinstruments, Hyperscore and disembodied performance from Death and the Powers, were motivated by the desire to design systems that can lead to compelling live performance experiences.

BBC News article – Is music going back to its roots?

Evvy and chandelier, in Death and the Powers. Photo by Jill Steinberg.

Death and the Powers was recently featured in a BBC News article entitled Is music going back to its roots?, the last of a five-part series exploring the intersection of technology and culture. In the article, Tod Machover discusses the coalescence of modern music and technology, the challenges auto-tune has brought to the new generation of recording artists, and how Death and the Powers brings a more acoustic, natural feel to the use of technology in an opera. In the article, Tod says:

“I think there’s a movement away from people being satisfied with the sound of technology – they want it to feel more 3D, acoustic, natural.”

It’s something he himself has moved towards with his current production, an opera called Death and the Powers.

While the cast includes a distinctly high-tech chorus of dancing robots, the centrepiece of Death and the Powers is an ethereal musical chandelier with vibrating, pulsating strings which he calls “sonic animatronics”.

“There’s a strong movement towards using technology to enhance the delicacy – something more refined, softer, physical,” he said of the creation.

You can check out the rest of the article here.

Note: Tod discusses the development in his Lab of the technologies behind Guitar Hero and Rock Band in this video clip from the Aspen Ideas Festival:

Alex Rigpulous and Eran Egozy – co-founders of Harmonix – worked on these underlying technologies while student’s in Tod’s group, and while contributing to such projects as the Sensor Chair and the Brain Opera (see http://vimeo.com/7900562 and http://opera.media.mit.edu/phantom.pdf).

Smithsonian Magazine interview: Tod Machover

Photo by Jared Leeds for Smithsonian magazine

The just-released 40th Anniversary issue of Smithsonian magazine features a terrific interview with our very own Tod Machover, composer of Death and the Powers. Check it out! Tod Machover on Composing Music by Computer “The inventor and MIT professor talks about where music and technology will intersect over the course of the next 40 years.” Read it and post your comments here. We’d love to hear what you think.