Last night’s world premiere of “Festival City” went off without a hitch. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra players were on fire, and the acoustics in Usher Hall were excellent. Kudos too to the Edinburgh International Festival audience for their commitment and enthusiasm to new work. Check out this BBC report from the rehearsal, including a video with interviews with Tod Machover and RSNO conductor Peter Oundjian. The entire performance was also recorded and we hope will be broadcast soon. Stay tuned…
Exciting first rehearsal yesterday with full orchestra of FESTIVAL CITY. Here’s the Royal Scottish National Orchestra trying out the piece for the first time, in their rehearsal space in Glasgow. On my way back there now for more rehearsing. More pictures soon.
Play Cauldron Connector to win two free tickets to Tod Machover’s “Festival City” premiere at the EIF’s “City Noir” concert on August 27.
How’s your auditory and musical acumen? Test it out with the Cauldron Connector quiz designed by Akito Van Troyer and Tod Machover at the MIT Media Lab. Correctly traverse your way through the sounds of Machover’s “Festival City”, and your name will be placed into a drawing for two free tickets to the lecture/demo (5pm) and premiere (8pm) of the piece at the Edinburgh International Festival’s “City Noir” concert on August 27th!!
Even if you’re nowhere near Edinburgh and won’t be able to attend the concert, you can still play and if you win, we’ll think of some cool alternative prize.
The M.I.T. Media Lab Opera of the Future group’s work is the subject of a full-page article by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in the August 16th issue of the New York Times. It’s an engagingly written piece that covers the history of Tod Machover’s work in music composition and technology, from hyperinstruments to “Death and the Powers” to “Festival City”, including a description of the Cauldron app in action. Accompanying the story is a terrific slide show of photographs by Katherine Taylor. Tod’s newest work, “Festival City”, premieres next week, on August 27th, at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Last month, composer Tod Machover joined an online audience together with pianist Tae Kim in an experience that fused Web-based interaction with a live piano performance. This demo centered on the Cauldron app built at the Media Lab for the “Festival City” project commissioned by the Edinburgh International Festival. The app is populated with the sounds of the music most frequently performed over the history of the festival. The pieces are represented by colored circles, and participants online can “stir” the musical brew by positioning their cursors over the circles, which move and grow in response. During this live demo, Tod worked on a second interface to determine how the musical fragments would interact with one another, and piano virtuoso Tae Kim used the evolving images as a “score” to improvise music. His improvisations in turn will inform the final piece, which premieres on August 27th. Watch the demo in the video above.
This guide from The Scotsman and WOW247 highlights its top 13 picks from the Edinburgh International Festival. “Festival City” gets a nice shout out…
13 stand-out shows at the Edinburgh International Festival
The RSNO perform a suite of works inspired by “film noir, big-band jazz and the movies of David Lynch”, which includes a world premiere of Tod Machover‘s Festival City – an attempt to gather “sonic memories of Edinburgh” to help shape an orchestral work, between now and August.
We just made a new version of Constellation and it is ready to go at edinburgh.media.mit.edu/scores. It has a completely new set of sounds based on new sounds submitted, sounds Tod recorded during his recent trip to Edinburgh, along with mixes that he has started to make. “It is really cool, and gives a sense of how the piece is developing,” he says. “We also changed a few features and the mixes are beautiful, plus the differences between the 5 different parameter versions is remarkable…it is worth trying them all.”
The new setting is called “Edinburgh Soundscape 2”, and it is the default setting when you now go to Constellation. The previous one – “Edinburgh Soundscape 1” – is still available as well.
Tod Machover and the Festival City project were recently featured in a BBC interview with host Jemimah Knight. Perhaps the conversation about listening attentively to the sounds around us inspired Knight to try her own experiment. She writes about it with great charm on her personal blog, “How radio leaves you breathless”:
I particularly like Tod’s work because I love the sounds of cities. It’s one of the reasons why I love to live in London. I live near a fire station, not far from a busy enough road and a high street. When I work from home, I can hear life all around me and I value that a great deal.
Contributed sound is a lovely thing to work with. There’s a great deal of trust involved and it pushes you to think your way through audio to include something that is new to you.
Here’s her SoundCloud file of the “Reverse Interview” – pretty funny!!
We’re starting to see some lovely media coverage of the Festival City project. Check out:
The Scotsman – Sounds of Edinburgh to be used in festival symphony – “Birdsong, buskers, traffic and even tramworks could all end up being part of Tod Machover’s crowd-sourced work, Festival City, which he will work on until just shortly before it is premiered. Billed as a “sonic portrait” of the city, it will be unveiled at the Usher Hall in August in a one-off show to be performed by the Royal ScottishNational Orchestra.”
Boston Business Journal – A score for the world’s biggest music fest? There’s an app for that – “Machover said he said he sees Edinburgh as a divided city, with beautiful, 18th Century architecture on one hand, but the historical backdrop for “Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde” and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” Series. He said that while the Toronto project was “like a journey where it ends up pretty classical,” the Edinburgh music will be different, because he’ll be letting the Cauldron – and everything residents stir into it – to determine its flow. ‘I think this piece may end up being more experimental,” he said. “I don’t want to write a simple melody to tie everything together. What’s going to tie everything together will be the soup.'”
West End Broadway World – 2013 Edinburgh International Festival Launches New ‘Cauldron’ App “With Cauldron we grow closer and closer to the idea of a sonic portrait of Edinburgh. I want Cauldron to give users a feeling akin to standing on top of Arthur’s Seat and absorbing the entire city at once. Having spent time working the RSNO and different school groups across Edinburgh, I’ve been directly inspired by their enthusiasm and energetic input, and am excited to share further the sounds created through Cauldron’.”