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.
The Guardian: Join Us for an Interactive Improvisation Session for Tod Machover's Festival City Project
Composer Tod Machover is in the midst of creating a "collaborative symphony" called Festival City, to be premiered on 27 August at the Edinburgh International Festival. The work is a sonic portrait of Edinburgh - the city and the festival - created with input from Edinburgh lovers, both residents and visitors. For the past few months, Tod has been soliciting audio samples of - and stories about - the city, as well as providing tools created by his team at the MIT Media Lab that allow everyone to help shape the composition.
Now is your chance to participate in a one-time-only special event to further shape Festival City. From 7-8pm UK time on Tuesday 9 July, you can help select musical elements from the repertoire of pieces performed at EIF since its inception in 1947. Here's how it works.
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.