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.