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…
Wired UK posted this excellent article today that provides an in-depth look at the Festival City project. Included are detailed descriptions of how the music apps work. We loved this:
To compose Festival City, which Machover hopes will bring out the contrasts of the city, Machover first invited people to submit raw material that reminded of them of Edinburgh during festival time. These could be pieces of music, sounds or recorded stories and anecdotes which were submitted by email, uploaded toSoundCloud or recorded on an answering phone. Sounds that particularly stood out for Machover were those of church bells and people talking in the lobbies discussing shows they’d just seen, as well what he describes as an “indie rock band of traffic”, where each of the cars stood out like soloists, rather than just collaborating to a single mass of traffic noise.
Tod is in Edinburgh this week and next, busy fine-tuning and rehearsing “Festival City”, which premieres next Tuesday, August 27th, at the Edinburgh International Festival. Tickets here.
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.
Special Interactive Improvisation Session for
Tod Machover’s Festival City
Commissioned by the Edinburgh International Festival
Created at the MIT Media Lab
Hosted by The Guardian
Composer Tod Machover is in the midst of creating a “collaborative symphony” called Festival City, to be premiered on August 27th 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 2-3pm Boston time (7-8pm UK time) on Tuesday, July 9th, you will be able to help select musical elements from the repertoire of pieces performed at the EIF since its inception in 1947. Here’s how it works: Continue reading Join our interactive live-stream event Tuesday, July 9th!!
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’.”
The Constellation and Cauldron apps are now live! You can start creating your own scores for Festival City. With the brand new Cauldron app (designed by Akito Van Troyer and Tod Machover at the MIT Media Lab), you’ll be able to create and experience a bubbling brew of Edinburgh sounds that have been concocted and collected for Tod Machover’s Festival City , currently being composed by Tod – with your collaboration – for the 2013 Edinburgh International Festival. Starting now, you can experiment with our first selection of musical and audio ingredients to stir up your own special mix. We will be adding new features and sounds quite regularly over the coming weeks, so please visit the app often. Each time you’ll find something new to add to the Cauldron and will experience new ways that the elements blend, bubble, and surprise.
Click here to play with the Constellation and Cauldron apps!
We’re getting wonderful support from the digital media team at the Edinburgh International Festival! Please help us engage as many people as possible in the “Festival City” project. Here are some of the ways: