By Roxana Spicer, Matt Lehner.
The soundscape of Toronto spans from the roar of rush hour to the lapping waves on Cherry Beach. But where others hear urban white noise, Tod Machover hears a symphony.
Can music repair damaged tissue? Is it possible to hear it through another person's ears? If anyone knows, it's Tod Machover. As he prepares to create an innovative symphony for Edinburgh, Charlotte Higgins meets the music professor.
Host Scott Simon talks to MIT professor of music and media Tod Machover about his work with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He crowdsourced street sounds gathered by local Torontonians and blended them with traditional instruments to create an orchestra.
Imagine collaborating with a classical composer to create a symphony about your hometown. The people of Toronto, Canada, have done exactly that.
On Saturday 9 March, residents were treated to a ground-breaking concert that was the result of an almost year-long project.
Matt Galloway spoke with Tod Machover. He is the Creator of "A Toronto Symphony - Concerto for Composer and City". It premieres this Saturday night at Roy Thomson Hall as part of the TSO's New Creations Festival, and it will also be recorded for CBC Radio Two's "In Concert" and will be broadcast on Sunday, April 21st.
By Richard Trapunski.
When composer/MIT professor Tod Machover accepted a commission from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's New Creations festival, he set out to answer one ostensibly simple question: what does Toronto sound like?
Toronto Life: Musical Visionary Tod Machover Crowd-sourced a Symphony for Toronto—Now Other Cities Want One Too
By Sue Carter Flinn.
In early 2011, Peter Oundjian, the music director for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, enlisted Tod Machover to compose a piece for this year’s New Creations Festival, a week dedicated to contemporary orchestral music. The theme for 2013’s event is technology and the orchestra, and Oundjian wanted something that wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago. The 59-year-old Machover is a Boston-based musical innovator who believes that with the right technology, even those who skipped the childhood ritual of piano lessons or who are cursed with a tin ear can create a piece worthy of a concert hall. He came up with an ambitious plan to merge public contributions into an orchestral composition. It’s called A Toronto Symphony, and it premieres this month—a half-hour piece that incorporates thousands of sounds submitted by ordinary Torontonians, sounds that are meant to represent everyday experiences of the city.
By John Terauds.
The big surprise in my final conversation with composer Tod Machover leading up to the premiere of A Toronto Symphony at the New Creations festival on Saturday night was discovering that the CN Tower will be a part of the performance.
By Trish Crawford.
Brace yourself Toronto — this tune’s for you and it’s going to be unlike anything you’ve heard at a symphony.
Composer and innovator Tod Machover, who has invented electronic instruments for Yo-Yo Ma and is a co-creator of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, will lift the curtain Saturday on a truly original Toronto creation at Roy Thomson Hall.
By Marvin Glassman.
Classical music composer Tod Machover has created a most unusual gift for Toronto residents.
As part of this week’s annual Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s New Creations Festival, Machover worked with some 10,000 collaborators for almost 15 months via the Internet to create A Toronto Symphony: Concerto For Composer And City, which will have its world premiere March 9 at Roy Thomson Hall.
By Jeremy Eichler.
If you’re an established composer, and a major Canadian symphony comes calling to offer you a commission, in most cases the answer would be simple: yes.
Things then might typically follow along a standard path: You write the piece, the orchestra rehearses it and then performs the premiere. Your contact with the listeners might be limited to your program note, or maybe a pre-concert talk. You bow to the polite applause and try to feel grateful that the orchestra thought of you.
Tod Machover, the Boston-based composer and technologist, recently took a different approach when the Toronto Symphony Orchestra contacted him. He had big issues on his mind — about technology, the arts, and the future of collaboration. He wanted to write a symphony not for the city of Toronto but with the city of Toronto, a piece of music that would ultimately be about Toronto in a way that was granular, participatory, and reflective of an urban landscape in all of its component parts. He pitched an idea that would involve collecting recorded urban sounds and actual musical ideas from Torontonians of all stripes, to be forged by him into a hopefully coherent whole. The orchestra said: yes.
Ludwig van Toronto: A Toronto Symphony Composer Tod Machover Keeps Adding Interaction Weeks Before Premiere
By John Terauds.
We are just under eight weeks from the premiere of A Toronto Symphony, which closes the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s New Creations Festival on March 9.
The composer is Boston-based Tod Machover, who is more big-hearted Mad Professor with an iPad than lonely artist perched with pencil over big sheets of lined paper.
Composer is, in fact, a totally wrong way to describe Machover. He is a muse or a facilitator in the very best sense, laying out the very best 21st century tools he and his graduate students at MIT’s Media Lab can come up with to make the composition a collaboration with Torontonians and anyone else interested in dabbling in the digital manipulation of sound.
By John Terauds.
All of Toronto’s music and opera presenters include an educational component in what they do. But the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s A Toronto Symphony project may be the first time that the city’s children get a hand in actually shaping a mainstage performance.
Last winter, the orchestra announced that Boston-based composer Tod Machover had been commissioned to write A Toronto Symphony, which will get its premiere at this season’s New Creations Festival, on March 9.
The project was designed from the beginning to involve Torontonians, who have over the past months been asked to send in their favourite ambient sounds as well as compositional fragments.
By Amanda Hirsch.
Tod Machover knows how to collaborate. A composer, inventor and educator at the MIT Media Lab who was nominated for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music, his innovative approach to collaboration with A Toronto Symphony offers lessons in artistic collaboration as well as lessons for collaborators in all sectors — journalism included. We recently spoke by phone.
By Patrick Kingsley.
The orchestra isn't the first place you would look for non-hierarchical democracy. Its music is sometimes seen as elitist, while its musicians are often (if not always) beholden to two individuals: the composer and the conductor.
Tod Machover wants to change that. A composer and inventor, Machover is currently writing a symphony about the city of Toronto in collaboration with not just the city's orchestra, but also its 2.6 million residents.
By Kelli Korducki.
First, a viola. Then, a bassoon. One by one, before a modest crowd gathered for Moses Znaimer’s IdeaCity conference at Koerner Hall, eight members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra debuted their contributions to a symphonic framework laid out by composer, MIT Media Lab founder, and Guitar Hero mastermind Tod Machover.
Machover, as it turns out, isn’t just a multimedia whiz; he’s also, as of now, a professional Toronto appreciator.
Toronto Life: Guitar Hero Brain Tod Machover Calls on Torontonians to Help Compose a Musical Portrait of the City
By Victoria Diplacido.
Tod Machover (Image: Jean-Baptise Labrune)Tod Machover, composer and professor at MIT’s Media Lab (it was his students who were inspired to create Guitar Hero), is teaming up with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and you (yes, you!), the citizens of Toronto, to create A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City, premiering at the New Creations Festival next March. Torontonians are invited to capture the sounds of Toronto and submit them to the project’s Facebook page, blog or email. Machover encourages the submission of unique sounds (admittedly, our first thought was to submit the charming tune of the subway doors closing, too) that are recognizable as being quintessentially “Toronto.” Our suggestions: the evangelical Christian shouting man and the “Can you spare a penny, nickel, quarter, dime or dollar?” guy. Happy hunting!
Ludwig van Toronto: Tod Machover's Toronto Symphony an Unusual Experiment in Collaborative Composition
By John Terauds.
In early March, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra announced that it had commissioned Boston-based composer, teacher and inventor Tod Machover to write A Toronto Symphony for its 2013 New Creations festival. The announcement came with an invitation to people of the city to begin thinking about what Toronto sounds like, and these sounds could become part of the new work.
Machover was back in town this week to speak at Ideacity, to meet with members of Toronto’s arts community and to report on progress to his patron, the TSO. What was an amorphous wish list three months ago is beginning to take on some shape and contour.
At this point, the most interesting aspect of this project is its collaborative nature. Composers, like other creative artists, rarely want to be told what to do. They want to be left alone to fashion their work which, when finished and rehearsed, will hopefully please its audience.
By Michael Kolberg.
Streetcar rumblings. Subway chimes. The “walk sign is on for all crossing” voice at the Yonge and Dundas scramble.
But what would these sounds feel like played by an orchestra?
That’s what Tod Machover and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra want to find out with their new project A Toronto Symphony: A Concerto for Composer and City. They are asking all Torontonians to participate by submitting sounds, either recordings or descriptions, that will be collaboratively assembled into a composition that represents Toronto.