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Machover: The Toronto Symphony Premieres A Toronto Symphony

(March 2013)

Tod Machover’s new orchestral work to receive world premiere March 9

Having reached out to the entire city of Toronto for input, Tod Machover’s A Toronto Symphony brings a new meaning to the word “collaboration.” This new work will be conducted by TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian, the culminating performance of the TSO’s New Creations Festival taking place March 2-9. Dubbed a “Concerto for Composer and City,” A Toronto Symphony combines Machover’s score with an open call for musical manipulation, providing the people of Toronto with a compositional outlet.

The project, commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, in partnership with the MIT Media Lab and helmed by Tod Machover, makes use of crowdsourcing and capitalizes on the potential of musical input on a citywide scale. Using apps such as Media Scores, Constellation, and City Soaring, participants were able to remix audio and add their own compositional voice to A Toronto Symphony.

Machover writes: “I launched the process in June 2012 by creating—in collaboration with MIT Media Lab PhD student, Peter Torpey, who worked on many different aspects of the project—a ‘graphic score’ of the imagined symphony, so that all could share in its intended shape, contour, look and feel. I outlined three modes of interaction (musical material I’d ask for from the community, music I would make and send to everyone for comment and modification, and music that we would shape together live), and also composed a chord progression and core melodies that would help provide unity and a sense of ‘family resemblance’ to all the assembled materials. From this basis, we embarked on an adventure that has led me to new sounds, new friendships, new discoveries about Toronto, and new ideas about musical storytelling. Collaboration took place by blog and email, via Skype and smartphone, using audio and video recording and streaming, and—most significantly—through numerous face-to-face meetings and music-making sessions in Toronto. We also used Hyperscore graphic composing software as well as the Media Scores and Constellation web music apps (all developed at the MIT Media Lab) to let anyone create original material or make their personal versions of mine.”

> For more information on the development of A Toronto Symphony and the associated programs used in its composition, click here.
> Click here to purchase tickets to the world premiere performance of A Toronto Symphony.
> View the Online Score to A Toronto Symphony.


> Further information on Work: A Toronto Symphony

Photo: Gino Spiro

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