CBS Philly's Vittoria Woodill takes a look into how you can bring your voices to Tod Machover's symphony for Philadelphia.
By Susan Lewis.
Steak sizzling on a grill at Pat's King of Steaks. A chorus of birdsong at the Philadelphia Zoo. These are just a few of the hundreds of sounds composer Tod Machover is collecting from people who live here for a unique musical profile to be performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra in April.
By Danya Henninger.
If you see a pack of teenagers singing, hooting, howling and shouting as they march down Germantown Avenue this weekend, don’t be alarmed. They’re doing it for democracy.
Saturday’s traipse down the cross-city corridor will be led by MIT Media Lab music professor and inventor Tod Machover. It’s one of several meetups Machover has planned when he returns to Philly (see details below) for another swipe through its aural fabric to collect sounds for his latest undertaking: a semi-crowdsourced symphony called “Philadelphia Voices.” The symphony will be performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra next spring.
That’s right, come April 2018, the illustrious Kimmel Center stage will be filled with shouts and screams and yowls and yips from the street.
How’d Machover convince orchestra bigwigs to let this happen? Well, he has quite the reputation. He’s mounted similar projects in various cities around the world — Toronto, Lucerne, Detroit, Perth — turning each one’s urban cacophony into a unique overarching symphony. All have been hailed as successes.
By Catherine Curro Caruso.
The exhibit, one of the few with a sound component, represents the City Symphony projects headed by Professor Tod Machover at the MIT Media Lab. In each City Symphony, technologies developed by Machover and his Opera of the Future Group allow anyone to contribute audio, video, original compositions using Hyperscore software, voices, and more, and to help shape the feel and story of each “symphony” through a new kind of collective creativity.
By Peter Crmmins.
The Philadelphia Orchestra has commissioned a new piece of music, to feature the voice of you.
Everybody in Philadelphia is invited to download a mobile app to his or her phone, and use it to record anything they want, then upload it to a server. That sound will be used to make a new symphonic composition to be performed next spring.
Composer Tod Machover calls his crowd-sourced pieces "City Symphonies." He works at MIT in Boston to find new ways to use technology to connect people to music. With the MIT Media Lab and Drexel Uiversity's ExCITe Center, he has created not just an app that allows users to make recordings and submit them, but also easy-to-use plug-ins to manipulate sound according to its inherent tonal qualities.
"You'll be able to talk or sing into it and it will pull up 20 other people whose voices have a quality similar to yours," said Machover, whose enthusiasm seems heightened by his flyaway hair. "Or, it might have a bunch of orchestral instruments, and as you talk and the instruments color your voice."
By Linda Poon.
It’s easy to disregard the hum of a city—the incessant honking or indistinct chattering—or to cast it off as noise pollution. There’s real concern that these sounds pose a health risk, but a handful of artists have a different take. To the likes of Tod Machover, a composer who combines music with technology at the MIT Media Lab, these sounds are what makes a city sing.
Machover has turned the sounds of Toronto and Edinburgh into symphonies that reflect the characters of each city. His first piece for an American city, Symphony in D, invited Detroiters in 2015 to contribute over 15,000 sounds unique to the city—drumming from the streets, sounds from factories, and spoken words by local poets—that were combined with instruments played by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
“Like so many things in our culture, there's a growing gap between experts and ordinary people, and I thought music is such a great laboratory to show how things can be different,” says Machover. “So I wanted the project to be a representation of connecting people—no matter what their background was in music—as equals.”
His latest project, called Project 305 and funded by the Knight Foundation, takes him to Miami, where he’s teamed up with the city’s New World Symphony academy to create an audio and visual masterpiece. He’s helping lead community tours to collect sounds and videos, and working with schools to teach students how to do the same. He’s also launched a similar project in Philadelphia, in partnership with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
By Zachary Woolfe
DETROIT — The composer Tod Machover sat on the floor in a circle of third graders one recent morning at the brightly colored, mural-filled Detroit Achievement Academy. He spoke with them about their city and asked for their help with his new piece, “Symphony in D,” which the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will play for the first time on Friday, Nov. 20.
“What do you think Detroit is going to look like when you’re in high school?” a teacher asked the students, guiding them in a brainstorming exercise.
“You mean if things don’t change?” one replied.
A boy in a black sweatshirt raised his hand. “I think it would look torn down,” he said. “And we have to fix it up.”
By Jeff Waraniak
Do you guys have any old cars that we could bang or smash?”
Composer Tod Machover is only half-joking when he raises this question to percussionists Joe Becker and Jeremy Epp of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The three musicians are rummaging through the DSO’s percussion closet on a late afternoon in mid-July, pinging coffee cans, cowbells, and brake drums in search of unusual sounds.
(Image: Martin Vecchio)
An Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor has combined the sounds of Detroit with music to produce a sonic portrait of the city.
On Sept. 9, 2015, the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra offered the world premiere performance of Tod Machover's Symphony for Lucerne.
Over the course of a year, Machover invited people to use their smart phones to record sounds from around Lucerne. Machover himself returned to the city each month to record conversations, environmental sounds and musical performances. He then assembled the sounds at the MIT Media Lab, where he heads the Opera of the Future group, and incorporated them into his orchestral composition.
The Symphony for Lucerne is very literally meant to represent the sounds of the city, offering an aural portrait as experienced by Lucerne's residents and visitors.
Listen to the full performance at the top of this page, and hear WQXR's Jeff Spurgeon interview Machover about the project below.
MIT composer Tod Machover debuts multiple new works at prestigious Lucerne Festival.
By Peter Dizikes.
A new symphony that incorporates the sounds of the city it was composed for, and a concert where the musicians move around and use technologically enhanced instruments analyzing their performances — these are just two highlights of Tod Machover’s term as composer-in-residence for this year’s prestigious Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, including two world premieres later this month.
Machover, the Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Interactive Media Design at the MIT Media Lab, has written three new pieces in all — one already debuted, in August — and an updated performance of one of his classic works, “Hyperstring Trilogy,” originally written in part for the famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
By Allan Kozinn.
Tod Machover, the prolific composer of electronic works and the inventor of several hyperinstruments – hybrids in which standard instruments are enhanced with computer and synthesizer technology – has been appointed composer in residence for 2015 at the Lucerne Festival. His main project will be “Symphony for Lucerne,” a work meant to capture the spirit and culture of the city, and an installment in a series of city works that already includes “A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City” (2013), “Festival City,” for Edinburgh (2013) and “Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Sea: A Symphony for Perth” (2014).
Tod Machover, der die Sinfonie für Luzern komponieren wird und beim Lucerne Festival im Sommer 2015 auch die Rolle des Composer-Inresidence übernehmen wird, gilt als einer der signifikantesten und innovativsten Komponisten unserer Generation. Seit 30 Jahren demonstriert er mit seiner Musik eine aussergewöhnliche stilistische Bandbreite, die dazu beigetragen hat, die Definition der Musik selbst und ihre Wirkung auf die Gesellschaft weiterzuentwickeln.
Machover ist für seine innovativen Werke bekannt wie zum Beispiel die Roboter-Oper „Death and the Powers“, die für den Pulitzer Preis 2012 in der finalen Auswahl stand. Seit 2012 arbeitet Machover an einer Serie von Stadt-Sinfonien, so entstanden in Toronto, Edinburgh und Perth (Australien) ähnliche Sinfonien wie die geplante in Luzern.
Er wurde 1953 in New York geboren, studierte an der Juilliard School bei Elliott Carter und wirkte an Pierre Boulez‘ IRCAM in Paris als Composer-In-Residence und als erster Director of Musical Research.
Perth festival: composer Tod Machover and WA residents have collected sounds for Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Sea, a new symphony celebrating the city. Here, Machover chooses his 10 favourite sounds.
Edinburgh is about to host the first performance of Festival City - Europe's first symphony to be composed using crowdsourced sounds and arrangements suggested by the public via specially-created computer apps.
It is the creation of Tod Machover - a professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab whose team previously helped create computer games Guitar Hero and Rock Band as well as technologies used by musicians Peter Gabriel, Prince and Yo-Yo Ma.
The 12-minute piece is being premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival and will be played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), led by music director Peter Oundjian. The two men previously worked on a similar project for Toronto.
The BBC was given exclusive access to the rehearsals.
Festival City is a musical project pioneered by American composer Tod Machover. The project aims to create a symphonic work for the Festival that is a “sonic portrait of the city of Edinburgh in collaboration with everyone who loves or has some relationship with Edinburgh”.
A photo essay by The New York Times on the Festival City project in Edinburgh.
By Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Tod Machover, a professor of music and media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab and head of the Opera of the Future group there, assembled his students in his glass-walled lab. The space was cluttered with computers, triangular-headed robots, colorful fabric-covered children’s toys and digital control tables. A large metal chandelier hung suspended from the ceiling, its swooping curves and fanned-out spokes giving it the look of a mathematically minded jellyfish.