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Between a Desert and the Deep Blue Sea

This city symphony was commissioned for the Perth International Arts Festival 2014 and premiered on March 1, 2014, by the Western Australia Symphony orchestra under the baton of Carolyn Kuan.

In our blog post, Tod Machover writes: “As part of our Symphony for Perth project, we have invited young people from throughout Greater Perth, in Western Australia, to create original compositions using our Hyperscore software, expressing some aspect of life – and sound – in Perth. Students from elementary through high school, and from the CBD to Narrogin, worked on their pieces from October through mid-December (brought together by Jemma Gurney, the amazing Education Coordinator at the Perth Festival). I was lucky enough to visit eight different schools when I was in Perth this fall, and got to hear all this music as it was developing. Great experience! Final compositions were sent to me a couple of weeks ago, and I have been listening to them ever since to decide how to incorporate as many of these brilliant, vivid musical visions as possible into the final Symphony.

  • The official website for the project provides additional details about the work and technology.
  • Check out this article in The Guardian with sound recordings of giant flies, garrulous cockatoos, and didgeridoo, among others.
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Toy Symphony

“The expressions on the children’s faces were so moving, I will remember the day for the rest of my life. The whole orchestra and I unanimously agree that [Toy Symphony] is one of the most important things we have ever done, and that we will now commit more and more of our time, energy and budget to forwarding the agenda of introducing music to the next generations.”  – Kent Nagano, conductor, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

On February 24, 2002, Toy Symphony received a highly successful European preview with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester in Berlin under Conductor Kent Nagano with guest Hyperviolin soloist Cora Venus Lunny. Scores of children throughout Berlin participated in school events and Toy Symphony workshops – excelling as performers and composers, and the sold out Open House and Concert created great buzz in Berlin through extensive print, radio, and television coverage both before and afterwards. An exciting pre-launch for the project.

  • Toy Symphony – Project homepage, with a wealth of information about the pedagogical philosophy, structuring a concert and the music toys (no longer available except for Hyperscore software). Click on Multimedia for information about the Toy Symphony workshops and concerts that were held in Berlin, Dublin, Glasgow, Boston and New York.
  • Toy Symphony – This Technology Review article describes the U.S. premiere of the Toy Symphony project, which featured Hyperscore compositions by children.
  • Toy Symphony in Berlin – Video of workshop and concert
  • Toy Symphony World Premiere in Dublin (2002)
  • Listen to hyperscore pieces composed for the Toy Symphony Project.
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Skaneateles Hyperscore II

Listen to five engaging, highly individual works composed by musical novices under the guidance of composer Stacy Garrop and Festival Co-Artistic Director David Ying.

We recently received audio recordings of several compositions by participants in the Hyperscore II project for the famed Skaneateles Music Festival. In April and May of 2011, composer Stacy Garrop visited schools in upstate New York, teaching students what it takes to compose music. Stacy helped kids of all ages to discover the music within; participants ranged in age from 10 to adult and included students from A.J. Smith Elementary in Union Springs, West Genesee Middle School and Skaneateles High School, as well as employees of ChaseDesign. The project culminated with the Hyperscore II Community Celebration at the 2011 festival.

We were very impressed by how each piece expresses a distinctive personality and diversity of structure. Click on the gallery images below to see what these pieces look like in Hyperscore.

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A Toronto Symphony

A Toronto Symphony. In this unprecedented creative experiment, composer Tod Machover has invited the citizens of Toronto to help create a new symphony orchestra piece. Several hundred school children participated, using Hyperscore to compose music about their city. Read this Musical Toronto blog post about what they accomplished. Here is one example, by Broadlands P.S. student Nebyou. His Hyperscore piece is displayed in the projection. The music is being played by members of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra:

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From Armenia to America

From the U.S. to Armenia, Kids Build a Musical Bridge. A-to-A, a project of the Luys Foundation, brought together children from Armenia and America to compose music together. In this photo montage, we see images from workshops and the concert at Armenia’s National Opera where Hyperscore composition were performed by the national symphony orchestra and DOGMA, a popular rock band (heard here playing one of the Hyperscore compositions). Read more: “When a “DREAM” comes true.” All of the kids’ Hyperscore pieces can be seen/heard here.

“Dream”, composed by Armenian child, arranged by DOGMA

Here is the entire concert performed at the Armenian National Opera theater:

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Festival City

Festival City, commissioned by the 2013 Edinburgh International Festival. It received its premier performance on August 27th, 2013, with the Royal Scottish Orchestra under the baton of Peter Oundjian. This piece incorporated hyperscore compositions by children in Edinburgh.

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A Symphony for Lucerne

A Symphony for Lucerne, commissioned by the Lucerne Festival, was premiered in September 2015, with Matthias Pintscher conducting the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra. Hundreds of sound recordings were contributed by Lucerne residents, along with Hyperscore compositions by school children. During the world premier performance, a barfuessfäger band from Lucerne’s famous Fasnacht (carnival) burst through the doors in the back of the hall and marched down the aisles to the front of the stage, filling the stately concert hall with its raucous sounds. Watch the performance here.

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Symphony in D

Symphony in D, commissioned by the Detroit Symphony, was premiered in November of 2015 by the Detroit Symphony under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. The project engaged a wide range of collaborators, from street musicians to a Syrian Christian choir, school kids to senior citizens, electronica to poets. Watch here.

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Philadelphia Voices

Philadelphia Voices is the sixth and largest-scale installment of Tod Machover’s acclaimed City Symphonies. Through specially-designed mobile technologies developed by Machover and his Opera of the Future group at the MIT Media Lab, Machover has given residents of Philadelphia the opportunity to contribute their own samplings of cityscapes, vocalizations, and texts, reviewed and compiled by Machover and his team, uniting the richly diverse communities of Philadelphia through sound. The result is a celebration of the birthplace of American democracy written for, and with, the Philadelphians who know it best.

Philadelphia Voices premiered on April 5, 2018 (with two subsequent performances on April 6th and 7th) with The Philadelphia Orchestra, led by its music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, with a troupe of voices – Westminster Symphonic Choir, Keystone State Boys Choir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Sister Cities Girlchoir – representing Philadelphia-area choruses. The final performance of Philadelphia Voices took place in New York at Carnegie Hall on April 10, 2018, marking the first presentation of a City Symphony given outside the city for which it was written.

Visit the Philadelphia Voices website.